Alumni Interview with Col. Michael T. Neary, D.P.M., M.B.A and Details of His Involvement in the Fight Against COVID-19

Col. Michael T. Neary, D.P.M., M.B.A graduated from TUSPM in 1991. While studying for his undergrad at the University of Delaware, he was first introduced to podiatry at the career center. Intrigued with what he had learned about the field, he soon volunteered to shadow for Dr. Michael L. Centrella, Jr. ’76 practice. After shadowing at Dr. Centrella’s office for a month, Dr. Neary knew podiatry was the right move for him.  He started at PCPM after completing his undergraduate studies in 1991.

During Dr. Neary’s time at the University of Delaware, he was enrolled in the Army ROTC program. Therefore, after graduating from PCPM he became an officer in the Army where he completed his residency. Dr. Neary spent 26 years in the Army where he lived in places like Germany, Korea, and Washington State. He completed his time in the Army at West Point where he ran research on foot structure and function that involved students from TUSPM and NYCPM. Three years ago he retired from the US Army and has been working at the Providence Community Health Center in Providence, RI as their chief podiatric surgeon.  He recently shared his experience working at the community center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the height of the pandemic here in Providence, I was asked by our CMO to be one of the leads in the testing site that Providence Community Health Centers (a FQHC) was establishing within the city of Providence that serves the underserved.  As a retired Army officer, the CMO felt that I had experience with chemical and biologic testing/training and would jump right in to assist.  He also knew I was comfortable with personal protective equipment(PPE) and donning/doffing procedures.  I was voluntarily in the tent performing nasopharyngeal swab testing for up to 5 days/week.  To date I have tested almost 800 patients”, said Dr. Neary.  In the beginning of testing theCOVID-19 positivity rate was over 30% but that has dropped down to less than 10% in recent months.

Since Dr. Neary was tasked to administer the tests alone with no other help, he needed to create a way to do that safely and proficiently. He created a device that would give him the assistance he needed to perform the testing on a patient successfully while keeping all of the instruments sterile. (You can find his device pictured in the newsletter)

Dr. Neary enjoyed his time at PCPM. He is from Willow Grove, PA so living in the city was exciting to him. With many of his classmates, Dr. Neary would often explore the city to escape the daily stresses of podiatry school. Dr. Neary has enjoyed being a podiatrist because the field is so broad and is never boring for the inquisitive mind from surgery to sports medicine to research. He encourages others to pursue the field because as you grow and learn within the profession, you can focus on which aspect interests you the most. “No matter how challenging the job can be in the day-to-day clinic operations, there are at least two to three encounters where I am helping someone and seeing a smile on their face”, said Dr. Neary.

Dr. Neary is a father of six children, so therefore has no plans to retire anytime soon. He enjoyed his time in the army giving back and caring for those who serve. Now he loves giving back to the underserved at the community center.