Samuel Merritt University: Dean Stamps

Q1.What made you choose Podiatry?  

I wanted to be a doctor since the age of 6, but I went into the computer field instead (technical writer).  After a few unenjoyable years of writing and editing computer manuals, a family friend and my father (a general/vascular surgeon) suggested that I might want to consider podiatry.  After visiting the offices of two of my father’s podiatry friends as well the school in San Francisco, I was hooked.  I loved the variety of pathologies, the variety of patients and I really loved the focused podiatric curriculum that mirrored allopathic medical school.

Q2.What got you interested in becoming a Dean of Students? 

I thought that podiatric medical school (at CCPM) was the best learning experience of my life, better even than my previous benchmark of junior high (middle school).  I wanted to be able to keep that educational excellence alive after Dr. John Venson, the previous CSPM dean, announced his retirement.  I also wanted to keep our leadership team intact as we worked exceptionally well together.  At the time, I was the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, so the jump to dean was not too foreboding.  Plus, I had plenty of mentoring along the way from Dr. Venson and others.

Q3.What were you doing before this position? 

I was appointed interim dean three years ago and dean in July, 2018.  Prior to my position as dean, I was associate dean for clinical affairs, a position that I had since 2009.  Prior to that I was assistant dean for clinical affairs starting in 2005.  During this entire time I was also a full time faculty member.

Q4.What do you love about California School of Podiatric Medicine and The Bay Area so much? 

I love the family atmosphere of our program, where we get to know all of the students quite well.  I enjoy working with our faculty, staff and administration to ignite the careers of future podiatrists.  And the San Francisco Bay Area, what’s there not to love? (other than the high prices, which are now returning to a more affordable baseline).

Q5.What is the key to an effective department in your Podiatric Medical School?  

Like any business a key to an effective department is communication.  In our case, it’s keeping communication channels wide open between faculty, staff, students and administration.  Other key elements include long term planning, assessment, keeping organized and most importantly, having fun!

Q6.What are your plans or goals for the coming years? 

For CSPM, we strive to make every year better than the prior year.  Some immediate goals include working on formalizing our healthcare inequity education, improving the student experience, developing a center of research and continuing to help every student become an outstanding resident and future podiatric physician.

Q7.What advice do you have for a student about to enter classes at your school?  

First, make sure that you’re passionate about becoming a podiatric physician and second, be prepared to take a professional approach to your education. 

Interview by Diksha Mohapatra