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Podiatric Medicine: A Current Assessment

Jay Levrio Deputy Executive Director, American Podiatric Medical Association, 9312 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814. (E-mail: jlevrio@apma.org)

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Podiatric medicine had its own evolution in the medical field apart from allopathic and osteopathic medicine. Podiatrists are well-respected members of the health-care team and have earned recognition as physicians within their education, training, and credentialing processes. Unlike allopathic medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine, whose scope of practice is based upon their education, training, and credentialing processes, podiatrists' scopes of practice are determined by state laws (and are often influenced by politics) with variances across the United States. In contrast to a lack of uniformity in the training and credentialing processes of an allopathic medical doctor, podiatrists complete a streamlined educational process that is competency-based and well-aligned from the undergraduate phase (podiatric medical school) to the postgraduate phase (residency) through the credentialing processes (licensure and certification). Podiatric medical students begin to directly engage in the specialty related to the diagnosis and treatment of the lower extremity much earlier in the educational process than an orthopedist, whose foot and ankle exposure is less extensive by comparison. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(1): 65–72, 2009)