The devastation of the massive earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, resulted in an outpouring of support from around the world. Many doctors have been called upon to aid in the care of the injured, and Patrick DeHeer, DPM, was one of several doctors of podiatric medicine who made it his personal mission to lend his expertise in wound care in this time of crisis.
A graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, Dr. DeHeer always had an interest in sciences and knew he wanted to pursue biology or a medical field. He considered marine biology and dentistry before deciding on podiatry school. "I shadowed a podiatrist in my hometown, Dr. Ralph Gibney, who had a very encouraging and positive outlook about the profession. The time spent with him convinced me that podiatry was the career for me." Dr. DeHeer ultimately graduated from the William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in 1990 and a year later completed his podiatric surgical residency at MidWest Medical Center Winona Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis. He has been practicing for 18 years in Carmel, Indiana.
Podiatric medicine has allowed Dr. DeHeer to fulfill his dream of being a medical missionary. "I chose podiatric medicine because of the flexibility and variety the profession offers." He adds, "I love traveling to other countries, getting to know the people and the country, and most importantly being able to serve those who usually so desperately need help," says Dr. DeHeer.
Dr. DeHeer's first medical mission trip was to Honduras in 2002 with a large church group from Little Rock, Arkansas. "A fellow resident of mine invited me to Honduras where we took over a hospital for the week and we performed approximately 30 surgeries and saw over 100 patients." After this trip, Dr. DeHeer was hooked; being able to serve those most in need became his passion. Over the years, he has returned to Honduras and has also gone on medical missions to Port-au-Spain (Trinidad), Ukraine, Iraq, and Haiti.
Based on his numerous medical mission trips to Haiti, Dr. DeHeer founded the nonprofit organization, Wound Care Haiti, Inc. For Dr. DeHeer, podiatric medicine has proved to be a profession of service: "Any time you have a career that allows you to provide services to others, pays well, and is interesting and challenging--it becomes very easy to go to work each day and really enjoy it." He continues to say, "I believe I was meant to do this; this is my true calling."
For more information on careers in podiatry, contact APMA or call 301-581-2981.