Dr. Shital Sharma is a graduate of the TUSPM Class of 2010. She is the Assistant Resident Director for the Hoboken UMC Podiatry Residency Program at Carepoint Health- Hoboken University Medical Center.
Podiatry was something Dr. Sharma knew little about before applying to TUSPM. She went to Temple for her undergrad and received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology. Then went on to study for her Master’s, planning to take a more research pathway in the medical profession. Soon she realized research was not for her and decided to look for different options. Her younger sister at the time was doing a work study at TUSPM and encouraged Dr. Sharma to look into podiatry and visit the school. Taking her younger sisters advice she shadowed Dr. Jason Miller, who was in the School’s surgery department. Dr. Sharma recalls a day she will never forget. She was fascinated to observe Dr. Miller working on a patient with gangrene who had lost a toe. That same week she also shadowed Dr. William Martin and Dr. James McGuire. Having such wonderful experiences shadowing each podiatrist, Dr. Sharma was certain this was what she wanted to do.
During Dr. Sharma’s time at TUSPM she really enjoyed all the different classes and felt that the professors weren’t just there to be there, but to really teach and wanted to develop quality podiatrists. In teaching residents she finds that Temple graduates are ahead academically and socially. They also have great clinical skills. Dr. Sharma also found involvement through the APWCA organization, currently known now as APWH which she was president elect. TUSPM will always hold a special place to her because it is where she met her husband. She considers podiatry school to be the best four years of her life and wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Aside from being triple board certified and working in an orthopedic practice where she is well respected by her orthopedic colleagues, Dr. Sharma’s proudest accomplishment is becoming the Assistant Director at Hoboken University Medical Center. She went there as a resident and now thoroughly enjoys teaching the new residents. “See one, do one, teach one” is a phrase Dr. Sharma is a firm believer in and advises her residents that when they complete their residency they should make every effort to train the future generations of podiatrists to continually improve the profession.
Dr. Sharma advises current and prospective students to absorb as much information about Podiatry as you can. It is important to take advantage of the wealth and knowledge these professors have. When you start working with a patient it is important that you always show compassion and read has much as you can to apply in the clinic. . Always be passionate about what you are doing because it will affect you long term. Dr. Sharma also mentioned to not assume you will have an easy job. Podiatrists are just has busy as other specialties so you have to work hard to maintain a good work life balance.
Some challenges Dr. Sharma has faced being a podiatrist is being a female and overcoming the obstacles of owning a private practice. When Dr. Sharma started Podiatry school the podiatric physicians were becoming primarily surgical in nature and there was fewer female representation. This caused her to overcome obstacles of being respected by patients and accepted as a surgeon. Within the last five years things have changed quite a bit and now the profession is for the most part 50/50 male and female.
Going into private practice after residency was also challenging. Healthcare can be challenging with all the different rules and regulations each state has. There are a lot of financial aspects that go in to managing a private practice that you are not taught in school. Dr. Sharma encourages students to work for first to learn the ins and outs until you are confident and financially stable to run your own practice.
Dr. Sharma believes Podiatry is a very rewarding profession and enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering at a charity clinic in Hudson County, NJ. Since 2013 Dr. Sharma has treated patients with little or no insurance who need wound and diabetic foot care. Dr. Sharma is hoping for good health for her and her family during COVID-19 and is looking forward to getting back in the office and seeing her patients. She is currently working on eight research projects and hopes to have at least one published in the future.