Dr. Kieran Mahan first became interested in podiatric medicine after meeting a few podiatrists who were passionate about their jobs and excited about the profession. After seeing their enthusiasm, Dr. Mahan chose podiatry. After graduating podiatry school, Dr. Mahan finished his three-year residency, which was one of only two in the country at the time, and as a result, became a well-trained podiatrist. He feels fortunate to be a part of this profession. Within three years of returning to PCPM after finishing his residency, Dr. Mahan became a Vice President for the School. “This position had a lot of responsibilities, and I was supervising people who had taught me, which was sometimes delicate, but it gave me an opportunity to contribute different ways administratively to the School," said Dr. Mahan. Dr. Mahan was the acting President when the School was acquired by Temple University and was a part of the three-person negotiating team for the merger.
Dr. Mahan remembers his teachers in school who helped to give him great opportunities, such as the late Dr. Jim Ganley, the late Dr. Alan Whitney, and Dr. Don Green.
“My favorite part of podiatry school was when I would skip my microbiology class and I would follow Dr. Jim Ganley into the clinic. I was a second-year student, so I was not supposed to be in the clinic. Dr. Ganley was working in pediatrics, and I had a real interest in pediatrics. I would put on my white coat and follow him around from room to room, and I kept a notebook, which I still have, to record different treatments he used for certain conditions or problems. I learned much from Dr. Ganley. He was a legendary leader in this area of pediatrics. He was a wonderful human being, and I learned about how to be a doctor by watching him," said Dr. Mahan.
Dr. Mahan says that his proudest accomplishments are the merger with Temple University and that he was able to hood his daughter, Dr. Caitlin Mahan Madden, at her own graduation from TUSPM. For twenty-five years, Dr. Mahan has been traveling to the University of Barcelona to assist in building the curriculum of the Podology School.
Dr. Mahan teaches the Reconstructive Surgery of the Foot and Leg course and he teaches part of the Bunion course. Some of the most prominent challenges for Dr. Mahan are attempting to keep his course fresh and adapting to differences in students and residents in how they change throughout the years. He has to change his strategies in teaching so his students can learn in new and interesting ways.
Dr. Mahan likes teaching students and residents. He enjoys the opportunity to write and publish and is thankful to have been able to do so much publishing over the years. Dr. Mahan says, “Part of a profession is growing, and this setting forces me to continue to grow and learn, which is a fantastic opportunity.”
In regard to students, Dr. Mahan advises them to work hard in school, see as many patients as possible, and get as much training as possible. He also says to listen to patients and to not do all of the talking. For students who are first treating patients in a clinical setting, Dr. Mahan says that it is important to not be afraid to ask faculty questions. Students also assume that they are supposed to know everything, but it is better to ask questions to learn the right way. The new third year students are just figuring out the electronic medical records and the inner-workings of the clinic. He enjoys watching the students make progress throughout the years.
While thinking about his career in podiatric medicine, Dr. Mahan wishes that students understood the kinds of long-term relationships that doctors and patients develop over the years. He likes learning about his patients and their families. “I wish I would have known that, because this is a huge joy in terms of practice," he said. Dr. Mahan recalls one patient, who, every year during prime blueberry season, brings him a crate of blueberries from South Jersey because she knows he likes them. “People do amazing things when they learn to know you,” said Dr. Mahan.
In the future, Dr. Mahan is looking forward to updating his course for upcoming classes and writing a chapter in the McGlamry textbook on podiatric surgery. After October, Dr. Mahan will also be the Chairman of the Council on Podiatric Medical Education.