Alumni Spotlight: Carol Akerman, DPM
By: Natalie Hart FOX '19
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PATH TO PODIATRY AS A PROFESSION? WHY YOU CHOOSE TO PURSUE IT AND HOW YOU LEARNED ABOUT THE PROFESSION?
Dr. Akerman spoke with me about her journey to podiatry as a profession. We spoke about the fateful day a recruiter from then PCPM came to visit her college, Seton Hill College which is located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Akerman went on to say that the recruitment was a success, as many as six women from her college went on to become podiatrists.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF PODIATRY SCHOOL AND WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF PODIATRY SCHOOL?
Dr. Akerman explained that the anatomy lab was her absolute favorite, coming from undergrad it was a brand new experience and she loved that! Some of her favorite memories are with her classmates, who she still keeps in touch with to this day!
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE TO CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS WHO ARE ABOUT TO BEGIN THEIR JOURNEY INTO THE PROFESSION?
Dr. Akerman began by saying that this profession is extremely rewarding and that students should seek as many opportunities as they can in leadership roles. She went on to say that one of the best rewards in our profession is the fact that we are able to give immediate relief to patients, so students need to listen closely to everything their patients tell them.
Dr. Akerman went on to say that students should just go for it!! They should take on new opportunities whenever they can, and to recruit, we need more DPMs.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR?
Dr. Akerman went on to list several accomplishments, but her favorite was the fact that she was able to become board certified in the foot and ankle, after only six years of practicing. She is also very proud of the various positions she has held in the Tennessee Podiatric Medical Association.
CAN YOU SPEAK ABOUT THE REWARDS AND OPPORTUNITIES THE PROFESSION HAS AFFORDED YOU?
Dr. Akerman explained that one of the best rewards is being able to collaborate with all different specialities of the medical field. She also went on to say that being able to be apart of leadership roles is one of the best rewards for networking and involvement in the profession.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE JUST BEGINNING TO WORK WITH PATIENTS?
The doctor’s advice to students is to be a good listener. Dr. Akerman said it is crucial to the profession. Listening to patients allows a doctor to make the most efficient and accurate diagnosis, it helps with understanding your patient as well.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF THE HURDLES YOU HAVE BEEN FACED WITH AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?
Some of the struggles Dr. Akerman has faced were when she first began practicing. Dr. Akerman explained that at this time, the profession did not quite have the clout it deserved. She explained that she met with medical professionals in her area and received push back from them. She persevered and was able to become a force to have the podiatric profession accepted and acknowledged in the medical community.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE MOST?
Dr. Akerman says her future goal is to recruit a new, young podiatrist to come practice with her in Tennessee, to study under her and who will eventually take over her practice. Dr. Akerman said the moment she is looking forward to the most is the arrival of her first grandchild, who will be born in October!