In childhood, you often dream of professions you would like to enter when you grow up, such as becoming a musician, police officer, doctor, dancer, or singer. Aaron Albers, DPM, second-year podiatric medicine resident at Kingwood Medical Center in Kingwood, TX, knew at an early age he wanted to become a doctor. Fortunately, Dr. Albers kept his dream alive and made it into reality.
Dr. Albers discovered podiatric medicine while in high school. "I shadowed in Drs. Larry Mactavish and Scott Margolis' office in Houston. They showed me being a podiatric physician was more than trimming nails and dispensing orthotics." What sealed Dr. Albers's decision to pursue podiatric medicine was the time spent in their clinic. "I saw a diverse group of patients with various foot and ankle injuries. No patients were alike, [and I] witnessed the business side of running a practice and learned podiatric physicians have the ability to relieve patients of pain almost immediately; patients walk in with pain and walk out pain-free."
Once Dr. Albers entered Texas State University, he took and completed all the prerequisite courses in the basic sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics) required for matriculation into medical school. He also took classes in health-care administration and health information management. Dr. Albers researched allopathic and osteopathic medical schools but realized podiatric medicine was the career for him. "I took the opportunity to shadow another podiatrist, and, yet again, I was convinced I had chosen to pursue the right medical profession." Dr. Albers completed his podiatric medical education at Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine in Miami Shores, FL.
Now in residency, Dr. Albers' expectations of his chosen program have been met and exceeded. "My residency training is very comprehensive, diverse, and highly surgically intensive. It's not only well-rounded, but I have the opportunity to work with one of my mentors, Dr. Mactavish, who is one of the attending podiatric physicians at Kingwood Medical Center."
Residency is also a time for young physicians to discover their niche. Dr. Albers has found he enjoys treating sports medicine and wound care patients. He also likes to work closely with the professionals in the field of prosthetics. "The field of prosthetics has always interested me—fabricating devices and fitting patients with limbs. I discovered as a podiatric physician, I work closely with these professionals to get my patients the braces, limbs, and other medical devices [that get them] back to normal daily activities of life. It's very rewarding."
Dr. Albers is living his dream every day as a podiatric physician. He's in a field that is continually growing, and with the prevalence of diabetes, there will be a higher demand for podiatric physicians. The future of podiatric medicine looks bright. "I encourage any student interested in podiatric medicine to shadow a podiatric physician. I had a wonderful experience with the podiatric physicians I shadowed. I'm confident if students take the time to discover what we do, they will be hooked as well."
For more information on careers in podiatry, contact APMA or call 301-581-9281.