Podiatric medicine and public health. Concepts and perspectives. Special Commission of the Podiatric Health Section of the American Public Health Association

AE Helfand Department of Community Health and Aging, Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine, Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, Philadelphia 19107, USA.

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Podiatric physicians play an important role in the field of public health. In 1975, the Podiatric Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) formulated an official statement of the roles and responsibilities of podiatrists in the public health field. Entitled Functions and Educational Qualifications of Podiatrists in Public Health, the document was published in the September 1975 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. For more than 2 decades, it remained the primary document defining and delineating the activities of the specialist in podiatric public health. Recently, it was recognized that in this time of rapid change in health-care delivery, a revision of this important statement was needed. A mini-grant from the APHA in 1996-1997 supported the formation of a special commission to update the formal position of the APHA and its Podiatric Health Section with respect to podiatric public health and to provide direction for the future. This article is a shortened version of the report issued by the special commission of the APHA.