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11/04/2019    Alan Sherman, DPM

The Need to Provide a Separate Medically Intensive Podiatric Medicine Residency (Leonard A. Levy DPM, MPH)

I’m confused by Leonard Levy’s most recent
message in this discussion in the October 31,
2019 #6,539 issue, in which he refers to the
“highly controversial proposal to have two
specialty boards in the podiatric medical
profession (i.e., podiatric surgery and
podiatric medicine”. It’s not a proposal. We
currently have these two specialty boards, ABPS
and ABFAS. What we don’t have is two medical
specialties. We have two specialty boards that
represent one specialty, podiatry, and that
structure is what is confusing the public and
the medical establishment.

The proposal made by Jeff Robbins, DPM,
supported by myself, Joe Borreggine, and now
Brent Haverstock, DPM, is that our two specialty
boards MERGE and form one board with sub-
specialties, including advanced foot and ankle
surgery and any other subs that the profession
wish to pursue certification in. I am not in
favor of closing podiatry schools and becoming
an MD…I can’t see that far into the future. But
merging the boards is do-able and badly needed.

As far as how to best serve podiatrists in
training that do not intend to become advanced
foot and ankle surgeons, in order to not waste
their time on training in what should be a sub-
specialty and to allow them to focus their
training in general podiatric practice, I have
proposed a dual track 3rd year of residency to
get the discussion started.

This would also give the advanced cases to the
residents who are most likely to use the
training once they get into practice. Another
solution is to simple allow more diversity in
podiatric residency training, to reduce the
constraints of minimum surgical volume standards
and allow residency directors to rate graduates
upon graduation on the specific competencies
that they achieve.

Look, we all know why two boards evolved in
podiatry…we needn’t rehash the history. The men
and women who founded, built and manage these
boards have done a tremendous service for us all
and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to them.
But it has become untenable and it’s time for
the profession as a whole and the boards
specifically, to overcome their differences, be
adults, acknowledge respect for each other,
acknowledge what is best for the profession and
MERGE as a single board for the sake of the

Of course it’s going to be complicated…both
boards have been operating for over 20 years.
They are two separate, mature non-profit
businesses. My understanding is they are both
financially solvent, have excellent physician
and executive leadership, and would only need
the will and desire to get this merger done.

ABPM explains its foundation and authority on
its website as follows, “The American Board of
Podiatric Medicine is recognized by the Joint
Committee on the Recognition of Specialty Boards
of the Council on Podiatric Medical Education
under the authority of the American Podiatric
Medical Association as the specialty board to
conduct a certification process in Podiatric
Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine.”

Although I can’t find a similar foundation
statement on the ABFAS website, I imagine they
are similarly recognized by the Council on
Podiatric Education under the authority of the
APMA. The body that must take on that task is
the APMA and I call upon them to do so on behalf
of the profession.

Alan Sherman, DPM, Boca Raton, FL

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