Dr. Ziad Labbad
Faculty at TUSPM
By Maryam Siddiqui KLN '21
Dr. Ziad Labbad, an associate professor here at TUSPM, is immersed in podiatry through both teaching students and treating patients, but he did not start out in the field.
After getting his M.D. from Damascus University in Syria, Dr. Labbad came to the United States and conducted multidisciplinary research involving diabetic rats on the 4th and 5th floors of what is now TUSPM. When he started, he was not familiar with podiatry, but he did wonder about the activity happening on the lower floors.
“I asked, ‘What’s going on downstairs?’ They said, ‘Podiatry.’ I said, “What’s that?’ They said, ‘Foot doctor.’ I said, “Oh, orthopedics.” They said ‘No, podiatry.’ I said ‘Oh, podist.’ They said, ‘No, podiatry.’”
After further discussion with a colleague about podiatry and fascination with the biomechanics involved, Dr. Labbad became interested in the field and enrolled in TUSPM’S DPM program. Now, he serves as one of its professors, teaching courses such as Biomechanics and Internal Medicine.
While he has been involved in a variety of areas over the course of his medical career, he considers his greatest accomplishment to be his students.
“When I go to conferences or podiatric events, and I’m greeted by my ex students, I’m so proud of them. There’s quite a few, but they’re all my favorite. It’s like your kids. They all have a place in your heart.”
He enjoys his work, both teaching students and treating patients, but it’s not always easy.
“Every patient is a challenge. You want to make the patient feel good, so it’s a challenge.”
When it comes to handling these situations, he says, “Take your time with the patient and look at the patient as a whole. Approach the patient not from the foot; approach the patient from above the foot because it’s one unit, and that’s the secret to success.”
He always tries to instill this lesson in his students, telling them “Listen. Listen to the patient, treat them as a whole. Don’t start with the foot, don’t concentrate on the foot, concentrate on the patient. Listen to them to get the real story, not the symptom. They come to you with the symptom, but you need to know the reason.”
While serving patients comes with challenges and tough situations, he finds the work fulfilling. “The rewards are daily. Every time a patient is feeling better, every time a student is achieving more, it’s a pleasure.”
Looking to the future, Dr. Labbad hopes to bring innovative treatments to TUSPM.
“I would like to get every new aspect of treatment in here. I’m the guy who goes and gets the newest. We just started a few years back experimenting with stem cells. We have it here on a very small scale, but I would like to expand it.”