The Gundersen Health System Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency is a three-year program leading to eligibility for certification examination by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. The program is accredited by the Council of Podiatric Medical Education as a Podiatric Medicine and Surgery-36, and in 2010 is approved to accept 2 residents per year. By 2012, a total of 6 residents will train yearly at Gundersen in both the clinical and surgical aspects of podiatric medicine.
One of the strengths of the residency is that it blends inpatient and outpatient experiences to more closely resemble the practice of podiatric physicians. It also offers both primary care and tertiary care opportunities in a very busy practice. Residents see the routine and more unusual cases in the clinic, hospital and in surgery. Because there are no fellows to compete for cases and many of the medical specialties do not have residents of their own, there is an unusual training opportunity to gain extensive hands-on experiences from day one. Residents have opportunities to teach students who come here for their fourth year clerkships in podiatric medicine from podiatry schools in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, New York and Arizona.
The Podiatric Medicine and Surgery department is staffed by seven board-certified podiatrists who provide care through nearly 20,000 patient visits in clinic practice and a total of 750 surgical patients per year. Our exceptional record of 100 percent of our graduates passing the American Board of Podiatric Surgery certification exams on their first attempt reflects our faculty’s commitment to teaching. Our focus is to train podiatric physicians who are excellent clinicians and understand the basic science behind surgical procedures. Most of our graduated residents go on to group practices, including clinics with collaborating podiatric and medical specialists. Some of our residents have gone on to podiatric or orthopedic fellowships to gain extra training in reconstructive rear-foot procedures before joining the workforce.
Our attending staff members — medical and podiatric — are always available to answer questions and value close working relationships with residents. Because Gundersen is a teaching hospital focused on training upcoming physicians, every department is committed to enhancing the education of the podiatric resident. No distinction is made between podiatric residents and others in training programs in terms of responsibilities. We offer lectures, small group discussions as well as interactive conferences where attending and resident physicians discuss cases.
During the three years, residents rotate through many departments and gain experience with approximately 15 non-podiatry departments. Residents gain experience with internal medicine conditions and round on the floor with the internal medicine teams treating a full range of medical conditions. Other medical rotations include: anesthesia, rheumatology, behavioral medicine, radiology, infectious disease, general/vascular surgery, emergency medicine, dermatology, pathology, endocrinology, and plastic surgery. Residents report to, and work closely with, the staff physician in charge of each teaching service and the other interns and residents, creating a nurturing rather than adversarial teaching atmosphere. This is a work environment we believe prepares better physicians and enhances patient care.
Residents rotate through several orthopedic/surgical departments as well during the three year residency. One of the reasons Gundersen has such an effective training program is that podiatric physicians and orthopedists are colleagues, rather than competitors for patients. Podiatric Medicine & Surgery residents rotate through orthopedics and pediatric orthopedics, taking call for orthopedic problems. The residents are also on call and spend a month side-by-side with the orthopedic trauma service. Residents also rotate through the Gundersen Sports Medicine Clinic, where they learn about foot-related sports injuries, rehabilitation and prevention. In addition, podiatric residents spend part of their time in community service, including giving lectures to groups about foot and lower leg problems and providing foot care for residents of area nursing homes.
Our podiatric medicine & surgery physicians are also interested in clinical research. Residents are expected to publish in a peer-reviewed journal during their residency. They are also expected to complete an original research project during their third year program. We view these requirements as important to developing skills in using medical literature and in creating a desire to find answers to problems that podiatric surgeons experience in practice. We provide the support residents need to do research and publishing and give them full credit for work they do as first author or co-author of these papers.