It’s A Dirty Job but Someone Has To Do It!
by Marika Jackson.
Dr. Cherison Cuffy, DPM, ACFAS, CWS. Dr. Cuff attending Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine and completed his residency at Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida.
Q1: What does a podiatric wound care specialist do?
A: The podiatric wound care specialist evaluates and treats various wounds and ulcerations that afflict the lower extremity.
Q2: What made you decide on this specialty?
A: I had a few attendings as a resident who were wound care specialists. That wound management training both inpatient and in a wound care center provided the exposure and comfort level to manage acute and chronic wounds. I joined a group practice, which involved heavy wound management both medically and surgically due to the experience and training I received as a resident.
Q3: What additional training (if any), do you recommend or need to specialize in this area?
A: I recommend a certification from the American Board of Wound management. That organization provides a multidisciplinary certification. The CWS (certified wound specialist) or the newly added CWSP (certified wound specialist physician) is respected in many hospitals and private or hospital-based wound centers. There are also other well-respected organizations, including our own American Board of Podiatric Medicine, which now offers a certificate of added qualification in amputation prevention and wound care.
Q4: What about your specialty is unique from other podiatry subspecialties?
A: Wound care specialists cannot work in a silo. This specialty requires a multidisciplinary approach in the management of high-risk patients with chronic wounds. This requires routine discussions with several other specialties including Medicine, Infectious Disease, Vascular, Orthopedics, Endocrinology, Physiotherapy, Orthotist, Social Worker, Nutritionist, etc. The wound care physician is sought out by these specialists as an important member of the wound team with the goal of wound healing and limb preservation.
Q5: What is the most rewarding part of being a wound care specialist?
A: I may not be able to always save the limb or heal the wound but getting resolution of a chronic wound that plagued a patient is super rewarding.
Q6: Are there any unique contributions to medicine made/ being made, due specifically to your subspecialty?
A: Diabetes and its devastating effects have become a world-wide problem. The at-risk diabetic foot should be immediately referred to a podiatrist as many guidelines already suggest. No other specialty like the podiatrist with a sub-specialty in wound care can adequately manage the diabetic foot. We are the only specialty that can comfortably take the at risk diabetic foot from the office or wound center, to the operating room and back to the office for preventative management.
Q7: What do you see for the future of Podiatric wound care specialist?
A: I expect podiatric wound care specialists to be hired by multispecialty groups, managed care organizations and hospital systems as they seek to consolidate the management of lower extremity wounds, ulcers and diabetic feet due to increasing cost of managing the complications of these conditions.
Q8: If you were to do it all over again, would you choose this career again and why?
A: Definitely! I provide a service to my fellow podiatrists and community.
Q9: What are some things you would change about this specialty?
A: Improving the quality of education in school and residency training. Improving our standards and establishing better guidelines for managing acute and chronic wounds.
Q10: If you were asked to recruit the next generation of Podiatrist to continue what you are doing, what would you tell them?
A: This is a dirty job but someone has to do it. There are limbs and lives to save. The future of this profession, countless toes, feet, limbs and lives are awaiting your touch.
by Marika Jackson.
School: Barry School of Podiatric Medicine
Special Edition, Interview
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