I recently attended the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) House of Delegates in Washington, D.C. Sitting in the audience of about 1,000 people, I listened to the speeches of one guest of honor after another from other medical professions. The usual lines went something like this: “So glad to be invited to address your organization … we have so much in common … yadda yadda yadda.”
They may not have been their actual words but they might as well have been. As a profession, we are honored to have the highest-ranking representatives from other medical organizations come to our House of Delegates but they always say the same “right thing.”
Then Tony Sidawy, MD, the President of the Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery and the Editor of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, knocked us out of our seats with his words. It was that one moment in time when I wished every student I had ever taught, every resident I had ever tried to encourage to fight past the “little minds” in their communities, could be in that hotel ballroom to hear what Dr. Sidawy had to say.
He laid out a schedule of activities that would be occurring between podiatry and vascular surgery in the coming future. You heard me right. These were not activities that we “hoped” would occur but activities that “would” occur. These included special supplements authored by podiatrists and vascular surgeons that would appear in each specialty’s respective journal. He went on to list numerous other collaborative activities between the vascular surgery and podiatric medical communities.
Dr. Sidawy gave his outline of planned, not proposed, activities in a professionally prepared PowerPoint presentation. As he finished, there was a moment of silence. Then people started to stand. After a second, all of the people in the room were on their feet applauding. It was, indeed, a victory for podiatry as a profession.
I hoped the previous speakers were still in the room and still digesting the congratulations for their “we should plan to work together someday” presentations and their promises that “we really do have so much in common.”
We do have much in common. The vascular surgeons have recognized that and realize the urgency that we face together to keep Americans walking. There is not a moment to lose. Just ask someone who has had an amputation.
The vascular surgeons and the podiatrists involved have realized that promises deferred until the future are capital squandered and limbs lost. Our two specialties are ready here and now to get the job done. Let the others wait for “someday” and see how that works for them.