Natania: Explore Podiatry

Podiatry for me was like finding the missing puzzle piece, finding something that I felt mirrored, and completed my goals. When I first started working as a Registered Behavior Technician during my freshman year of undergrad, I finally started to value the hands-on approach of medicine. Growing up in a family of physicians did help to see the different specialties but I never felt like I could imagine myself doing gynecology or cardiology forever. I wanted a more intricate and versatile profession where I was not sealed to one procedure or patient age group. As an RBT I was able to work individually with each client, implementing a personalized behavioral program to target the growth of social and mental interaction. These encounters made me realize the importance of a hands-on career where I could provide immediate care and relief for my patients, an opportunity that podiatry provides. I would like to replicate the personalized treatments I shared with clients as an RBT with my patients as a podiatrist, making each patient feel their concerns are valid and important.

My experiences at work and extracurriculars throughout college refined my interest in the medical field. Having shadowed pediatricians and cardiologists, I saw incomparable levels of stress. I sought a field where I could provide exceptional answers and immediate care to my patients. When I found the field of podiatry, I felt it fit perfectly with what I was looking for: a good family life and work balance, immediate hands-on care for patients, and an opportunity to be a lifelong learner. After stopping at a podiatric booth at my local health fair I was fascinated by the subject matter and applied to immersion programs at two of the podiatric schools. After being exposed to these experiences I knew podiatric medicine was for me. The complexity of the foot and ankle was so intriguing, and it directed my attention toward the challenges that one can face in such a localized area of the body.

After stopping at a podiatric booth at my local health fair I was fascinated by the subject matter..

One comment made by Dr. David Tran, DPM, resonated with me very well. He mentioned how podiatry is not about “how much you can work but rather how much do you want to work.” He reassured me that podiatry has everything I need, from competitive pay to job security. After shadowing Dr. Adam Tullis, I witnessed a sense of comfort and relief from every patient. Seeing the positive impact and passion he had for his patients confirmed my decision to become a podiatrist who will also make a significant impact in my patients’ lives. Podiatry was my glass slipper. It felt like it was meant for me and fits every quality that I am searching for in a profession, a career, and that allows me to live the involved mother and wife role that I would like.

The best advice that I would give to an undergraduate student interested in podiatry is to do your research. Go out and shadow your local podiatrist or a multi-specialty group including a podiatrist or talk to some patients of podiatrists. The best way to get exposure and know if podiatry is for you is through networking. There are a lot of resources out there regarding podiatry including social media pages, podiatry conferences, and comparison resources between DPM/MD/DO programs. Before I began my undergraduate degree, I did not know about podiatry and my health advisor did not tell me either. There are more ways to become a doctor than just MD and DO and now is the prime time to get out there. I would advise undergraduate students that are interested to not be afraid to ask questions or reach out to people in the podiatric field; we are all here to help!

Natania Kapoor

California School of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2024