Student Profile: Lauren Weisel, TUSPM '23, APMA Annual Scientific Meeting

Saturday, July 30, 2022 edition of The National Today, official newspaper for the APMA Annual Scientific Meeting 

Why did you choose a career in podiatric medicine and surgery?

I became interested in podiatric medicine after experiencing lower extremity injuries and shadowing local podiatrists. Growing up as a competitive gymnast and later competing for the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was a frequent visitor to my local orthopedic practice and had numerous injuries [and treatments) including a meniscal repair, chronic ankle sprains. plantar fasciitis, and series of cortisone injections. With this athletic upbringing, I always wanted to pursue orthopedics and sports medicine, as countless physicians and athletic trainers were influential in my own athletic career, and I wanted to make that same impact on other young athletes.

After completing my undergraduate degree, I shadowed many different health professionals and visited Chapel Hill Foot & Ankle with Jane Andersen, DPM, and Alan Bocko, DPM. After spending time with them in their private practice and in the OR, I was exposed to the field of podiatry and all it encompassed, and I immediately knew podiatry aligned with my professional goals to become a foot and ankle surgeon with the hope of pursing sports medicine specifically.

What made you decide to participate in the 2022 Podiatry School Student Quiz Bowl?

I was honored to represent TUSPM at the student quiz bowl with the opportunity to attend the APMA [Annual Scientific Meeting] to further my podiatric knowledge, connect with other students and prominent physicians, and learn about current research techniques.

What do you think ls the most important challenge facing future podiatrists?

I think some pressing issues for podiatric medicine are the lack of awareness of the need for podiatrists and the misunderstanding of what podiatry encompasses. With the rising prevalence of diabetes in the U.S., there is a higher demand for diabetic foot care and podiatrists. In addition, many aspiring medical students are unaware of the field of podiatry, and the vast subspecialties within podiatric medicine. It has been rewarding to advocate for the profession through the TUSPM Social Media Team, and through lectures and presentations to undergraduate students on podiatry.

What makes you stand out from other contestants?

Outside of podiatry, I love doing many different activities, such as running, water sports, and hiking. Born and raised in San Diego, I enjoy going to the beach, paddleboarding, and spending time outdoors. I also began running as a hobby when I finished my gymnastics career at UNC and am currently working toward a half marathon.

What's something you never leave home without?

A cup of coffee!