Faculty Spotlight: Laura Sansosti, DPM
By: Norah McDonnell, ENG '22
Can you talk about your path to how you got here and why you chose podiatry?
My path into podiatry started out as a patient. When I was in high school, I had some foot-related problems and my parents took me to see a local podiatrist. My doctor took a vested interest in his patients. He knew that I wanted to go into medicine, although it was still too early to really know which path I wanted to take. He offered me a job at his practice over the summer, so I could explore the field of podiatry and learn more about medicine and what it takes to run a successful practice. I trained on the clerical side of the practice initially and when I went to college, I trained on the clinical side of the practice and was directly involved in patient care. Working in the office and exploring all this field had to offer was a wonderful experience and I quickly realized that this was the specialty for me. I continued to work for the practice on breaks and during the summer up through my first year of podiatry school at TUSPM. I am very fortunate to have had this experience and such great mentors early on, and I am very happy to be in this profession.
How has your experience been so far as a podiatrist?
I was a student here at TUSPM, graduating in 2013, and I went on to complete my residency training at the Temple University Hospital Podiatric Surgical Residency Program, graduating in 2017. I was very fortunate to be invited to join the faculty here at TUSPM following graduation from residency. It’s been fun and rewarding getting to work with the students and teach them in the classroom and the clinical setting, as well as working with the residents in their surgical training.
What was your favorite part about podiatry school?
I enjoyed all of our clinical courses, getting to apply that knowledge to patient care in the clinic, and being challenged by the faculty/clinicians to take our education to the next level. I was on the 2013 Class Council, a member of the Stirling Harford DiPrimio Honorary Anatomical Society, and President of the Student Chapter of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. I made a lot of great friendships in podiatry school as well and am still close and stay in touch with them today.
What is your proudest accomplishment so far?
Although I am only two years into practice, one of the things I am proudest of is to be part of the clinical faculty here at TUSPM and a part of the residency program at Temple University Hospital. I have always loved teaching and working with students and residents. To be able to give back in that capacity to our students and residents after having such great experiences at Temple is something I enjoy greatly.
What is something you know now and wish you knew or wish someone had told you before about podiatry or podiatry school? Do you have any advice to younger or prospective
I had such great exposure to the field before I entered into podiatry school, so tailoring this more towards a piece of advice for students and residents, it would be that work-life balance is really important. Every student should be striving to do their absolute best in their courses and in the clinic, and similarly for the residents in their surgical training, but it is very important to make sure to do things that you enjoy and to make some time for yourself.
What are the challenges of your position and how have you learned to overcome them?
As far as medicine is concerned in general, the field of healthcare is always evolving. We are always having to adapt to new policies and procedures. From a patient care standpoint, especially in the hospital setting, we are fortunate to have great relationships with other specialties within the Temple system to deliver the best multidisciplinary care to our patients. We are constantly advocating for our patients as they may not always have the resources to get the care that they
need, or they don’t have anyone to support them. From a teaching perspective, every student learns differently, so we are always evolving with different strategies and teaching styles to deliver the material in a way that is interesting and relevant. We want them to be able to connect everything they are learning and enjoy the learning process as well.
What are the rewards and opportunities of your position?
One of the great things about our field is that there are endless opportunities. You can do everything from office based to surgical care or choose to subspecialize if you just want to focus on one area in particular, such as wound care, surgery, trauma, sports medicine, etc. Being able to teach is also very rewarding. I am extremely grateful to the faculty here and at Temple’s residency program for shaping me into the physician that I am today. I hope to be able to pay it forward in teaching our students and residents and to continue to be an advocate for our profession and for our patients.
What are you looking forward to in the future? Do you have any goals for the upcoming year?
I hope to continue to be an integral part of the faculty here and within the residency program. I look forward to being involved with additional research projects to further the body of knowledge for our profession. I am currently serving on the Membership Committee for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. I am also enjoying assisting with the revitalization of The Shoe Museum at TUSPM which is planned to re-open in July 2019.
Can you talk about your research and what that involves?
Our school and residency program produces a significant amount of research on an annual basis. All faculty partake in research opportunities and our residents are involved as well. Through the Surgery Department we have done research with 3D printing and eye-tracking software for evaluating radiographs and fracture patterns, just to name a few examples. We have also collaborated with other specialties, including the Department of Vascular Surgery and Department of Radiology. We are always open to new ideas if students or residents have anything they want to investigate. We like to support their research ideas and have them as active participants in the process.
Do you have any advice to students starting to work with patients or just starting their clinical practices?
Always treat patients the way you or your family would want to be treated as a patient. Remember that there is another human being sitting across from you in the exam chair and that they came to you for a reason. They are looking for help and trust you to make the proper diagnosis and care plan. Always be thorough, caring and compassionate. Be a good listener and continue to challenge yourself to apply what you have learned in the classroom to the clinical setting. The learning never stops so you have to always challenge yourself and advance your own education.