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Public Perceptions of the Podiatrist and the DPM Degree

Michael D. Akers New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, NY. Dr. Akers is now with HealthDrive, Meriden, CT.

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 DPM
,
Jennifer M. VanDemark-Teplica New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, NY. Dr. VanDemark-Teplica is now with Crozer-Keystone Medical Center, Upland, PA.

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 DPM
,
Alex Kiss Department of Research Design and Biostatistics, Scientist Clinical Epidemiology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, ON.

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Donna M. Alfieri New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, NY. Dr. Jennings is now with Jennings Institute for Clinical Research, Brick, NJ.

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 DPM, CIP
, and
Maureen B. Jennings New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, NY. Dr. Jennings is now with Jennings Institute for Clinical Research, Brick, NJ.

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 DPM, MS

Background: The purpose of this study was to ascertain public perception of the terms podiatry and DPM.

Methods: We distributed a survey to 847 people in ten states across the United States. It was hypothesized that most respondents would be less familiar with the DPM degree than the term podiatrist. It was also expected that people would choose MD over DPM for more complex procedures.

Results: The majority of respondents selected a podiatrist and a DPM as a foot specialist, almost one-half selected DPM for foot surgery, but only one-third stated they would have foot surgery done by a DPM if they had a heart problem. In addition, it was hypothesized that respondents would choose the contrived PMD over DPM simply because PMD looks more like MD; this was not shown to be true.

Conclusions: Although there are gaps in the public knowledge, our study revealed a greater familiarity with podiatry and the DPM degree than originally thought. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(3): 223–231, 2009)

Corresponding author: Michael D. Akers, DPM, Health-Drive, One Prestige Dr, Ste 107, Meriden, CT 06450. (E-mail: mikeakers11@yahoo.com)