Dr. Stephanie Hook D.P.M. is a Podiatrists that attended the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and attended residency at Catholic Health Systems – Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo, New York. She is proud to work for Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists in Syracuse, New York.
Q1. What led you to a career in Podiatric Medicine?
Early in high school, I thought about psychology as a career. Unfortunately, during that time, I gained a lot of exposure to medicine and hospitals with my mother being ill. I also became more interested in medicine through my high school biology teacher’s encouragement. I knew I was going to be a doctor when I “grew up” at that point, and then ended up choosing podiatry after having foot surgery during my junior year of high school. During college, I applied to allopathic schools, but ultimately chose podiatry as my field of study and career.
Q2.Do you have a specific subspecialty in Podiatry?
I do not. I love every aspect of the field and feel lucky to see patients that age range from 2 years to 102 years old!
Q3. What other hats do you wear in the Podiatric medical field?
In 2017, after changing employment, I was able to get more involved. I currently serve as a Trustee of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association. I am the Chair of both the Public Education and Information and Awards committees. I also serve on the Bylaws, Legislative Action, and Insurance committees. I am a Sub-Chair of the Marketing Committee of the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, working with Crisis Communication and Audit. I am also the Student Chapter Coordinator of the American Association for Women Podiatrists. I am the Podiatry Division Chief at Upstate Medical University Community Campus, as well.
Q4. How is your practice structured? Do you focus on clinics, surgery or both?
I was previously in an all podiatry practice, dividing my time between clinic and surgery. In late 2016, I became part of a large orthopedic practice. With the incredible support of the company and the staff, I am able to see more patients a week but have a much better work-life balance, heading home at a reasonable time in the evenings. I do surgery and have block time every other Monday, but I am more often found in one of my four office locations.
Q5. Do you feel as though you have a better work-life balance as a female podiatrist versus other fields of medicine? If yes, why?
I definitely do feel this way, and this is also part of what interested me in podiatry back in high school. I will say, though, from my own experience, this is extremely dependent on your practice. I have wanted to become more involved in giving back to the profession since I started in 2008 but was unable to do so because of my prior work schedule. I do travel more with my current involvement, but I still feel as though I have more time outside of work than I had previously.
One of the most important parts of my life are my Friday nights.
Q6. What does a typical week look like for you?
I work the typical Monday-Friday and, again because of the amazing support of my company, I am able to be done and go home in the evenings and on the weekends. I am able to enjoy time with friends and family, as well as pursue my hobbies. Some of the hobbies include around the house things like crocheting and reading, but also things like photography, snowmobiling, target practice, and taking my car on the track. My husband and I are lucky enough to be able to travel at least once a year, as well. One of the most important parts of my life are my Friday nights. Since my husband and I started dating, we have made it a point of making our Fridays “date night”. We are coming up on 10 years married this year and continue this practice.
Q7. As a female Podiatric medical doctor, has there been any barriers that you had to overcome to be where you are today?
As far as my career and advancement, no, there have not been any barriers. I think any female in medicine will face occasional issues with patients, especially elderly patients, not accepting a “lady doctor”. I do think that once they see the level of care provided, my gender no longer comes into play. At my current practice of 27 doctors, I was the first female provider, which was highly publicized. I believe this actually helped increase my patient volume, in fact.
Q8. Are you married, have children? If so, how do you balance your family and career?
I am very happily married to my wonderful husband. We share our home with four crazy dogs. I also have an almost sixteen-year-old stepdaughter and absolutely amazing in-laws. I am lucky to have the most incredibly supportive husband, especially as I have become more involved in my leadership roles. This has made the balancing of my family and career easier, but of course, there are still some challenges. He is unbelievably understanding and handles a huge portion of the home workload.
Q9. Do you schedule personal time? If you do how vital is it to your overall well-being and success?
I do, from Friday date nights to travel with my husband. I am also a person who needs some time to myself. This is yet another instance in which I am lucky to have such a supportive and understanding husband. This may be as little as a movie by myself to as much as a brief solo travel opportunity. I have learned over the years that without enjoying my time outside of work, I’m not the doctor I want to be at work. I think we all need to value our mental and emotional well-being.
Q10. Is there an ideal time to get married and start a family, as a female physician?
I really don’t think there is an ideal time. I think, looking back on past relationships, the person matters so much more than the timing.
Don’t worry so much about those loans- they will get paid since you are in such an incredible profession.
Q11. What financial advice can you give to a young podiatrist as they transition into their career?
Student loans can be daunting, but don’t let them make every decision for you. I was not great at this, but looking back on it now, I would say “pay those bills” but also “enjoy your life!” Take the time now to take care of yourself and your family’s well-being. Don’t worry so much about those loans- they will get paid since you are in such an incredible profession. Instead, take time to enjoy every moment while you can.
Q12. What advice would you give a current aspiring female Podiatric Medical doctor?
I was going to say make the career you want, but really, TAKE the career you want. You are obviously intelligent and strong to have gotten to this point. Decide what matters most to you at work and at home and take it. Don’t let anyone hold you back and especially don’t back away from the right opportunity because of what you “should” want as a female practitioner. You may be a wife. You may be a mom. You may be anything in between, but at the end of the day, you are a kick-ass doctor. Take the life you want and be proud of it.
interview by Marika Jackson
School: Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine
Breaking the Mold: Today’s Podiatric Women
March 2020, Special Edition, Student, Lifestyle, Motivation
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