CPM Alumnus Scouts a New Way to Educate Youth on Podiatry and Gain Parity for the Profession
In the thick of the wilds of West Virginia, you will find 14,000 acres of forested mountains, adjacent to more than 70,000 acres of national park in the scenic New River Gorge area, called The Summit Bechtel Reserve. This July, the wooded reserve was alive with tens of thousands of scouts from around the world, all gathered for the World Scout Jamboree, the official educational event of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), hosted by Scouts Canada, Asociación de Scouts de México, and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). While the World Scout Jamboree is hosted every four years, this year’s was significant for two reasons: The 2019 World Jamboree is only the second in history to be held in the USA (the first occurring in 1967), and for the first time ever, participants were able to visit the “Future of Podiatric Medicine” exhibit, a passion project spearheaded by 1987 CPM graduate, Bruce Blank, DPM. A team of volunteers manned the exhibit during the 12-day Jamboree to introduce hundreds of scouts to the world of podiatric medicine and surgery.
An Eagle Scout himself, Dr. Blank is no stranger to the world of scouting and the experience and savvy that it can offer today’s youth. During his stint as a volunteer in one of six MASH-like medical tents situated throughout the National Scout Jamboree in 2017 (which offsets the World Jamboree by two years) Blank saw an opportunity for podiatry to extend its reach into both the national and global scouting communities, and started working on his dream of creating a podiatric medicine merit badge. After some investigative networking with CPM Class of 1974 graduate Dr. Paul Kinberg and meeting with two national leaders of the BSA in 2018 at BSA Headquarters in Dallas, Texas, a plan for a podiatric medicine exhibit was born, which would bring awareness of the profession and help to advance Dr. Blank’s mission to the merit badge. The new merit badge would fill a void in the current merit badge program where only the following medical disciplines are represented: Medicine, Dental Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.
A team of three Medical Directors was created which included Drs. Jason Harrill, Robb Mothershed and Blank. They were staffed by Mandy Nau, Career Promotion Strategist of the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine. One full year of planning later, the podiatric medicine exhibit came to life at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. Scouts and other volunteers were introduced to the wide scope of practice of DPMs. Five workstations were created for the exhibit which included an introductory video, presentations concerning utilization of weight bearing CT scans, Foot and Ankle Surgery, Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and suturing/skin closure. Scouts and leaders actually participated in a hands-on workshop where they practiced suturing and other methods of skin closure. After visiting each of the exhibit’s five stations, participants received a
special podiatric medicine patch designed for the event. Over the course of the 10-day exhibit, volunteer podiatrists introduced more than 600 scouts and leaders to podiatric medicine, and Dr. Blank ensures that this is just the beginning.
Gearing up for the next National Scout Jamboree in 2021, Blank plans to volunteer again as a member of the medical staff and hopes to be invited to bring the Podiatric Medicine Exhibit back to the scouts to further awareness and garner support for the merit badge. “Considering how important healthy feet and ankles are to scouts and considering that we want more youth to be aware of podiatric medicine and surgery as a career choice, I think it’s an important merit badge to be recognized” Blank says.
It’s also key, Dr. Blank continues, to recruit more DPM volunteers to participate in these events. “At the 2017 National, there were about six or seven podiatrists that volunteered. There were probably 150 MD and DO volunteers,” Blank recalls, “The point is, if we want to develop this merit badge, we need to show some real concern about scouting and, in turn, this will increase awareness of our profession. It is the difference between going to a stranger and asking them for help when you have no skin in the game, vs. asking as a respected partner. As a podiatrist, we’re currently the minority in a group of volunteers.” It is Dr. Blank’s hope that podiatrists across the country will feel called to volunteer and help boost podiatric medicine as an incredible career path for the thousands of teenage boys, and now girls, who attend the Jamboree as well as youth involved in Scouting year round.
The theme for this year’s World Jamboree was “Unlock a New World”, and thanks to Dr. Blank and his volunteers, we are confident that the “Future of Podiatric Medicine” exhibit did just that for the hundreds of scouts who now proudly display their new Podiatric Medicine Patch. If you are interested in volunteering at the 2021 National Jamboree, please visit cpcbsa.org/2021jamboree .
Thank you to the following corporations that helped make the “Future of Podiatric Medicine” exhibit a success:
· CurveBeam provided a video of weight-bearing CT scans for evaluation and treatment of foot and ankle conditions.
· Sutures, skin staplers, and Dermabond Prineo were donated by Ethicon, Inc.
· Non-invasive Zip Surgical Skin Closure devices were donated and demonstrated by Zipline Medical personnel.
· The Podiatry Foundation (Formerly The OCPM Foundation) provided grant support.
· Surgical Instrumentation, bone models and frames donated by Wright Medical Group
· Orthotics and iPad scanner donated by Controlled Step Orthotics
· AFOs donated by Drs. Blank and Harrill
Thank you to the following individuals and organizations for their financial or other contributions to the World Scout Jamboree “Future of Podiatric Medicine” exhibit:
· Advanced Video Presence and Photography
· American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
· AMEREX Corp
· American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
· American Podiatric Medical Association
· Bako Diagnostics
· Blue Orchid Marketing
· California Podiatric Medical Association
· Darco International, Inc.
· Mark Dollard, DPM
· Dr. Jill’s Foot Pads
· Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
· Oregon Podiatric Medical Association
· Georgia Podiatric Medical Association,
· Jason Harrill, DPM
· Scott E. Hughes, DPM
· Illinois Foot Health Education Foundation
· Indiana Podiatric Medical Association
· Institute for Podiatric Excellence & Development
· IQ MED, LLC
· Kansas Podiatric Medical Association
· Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine
· Michigan Podiatric Medical Association
· Richard Mittica, Controlled Step Orthotics
· George Nassoor, DPM
· New Jersey Podiatric Medical Society – Eastern Division
· New Mexico Podiatric Medical Association
· New York College of Podiatric Medicine
· New York State Podiatric Medical Association
· North Carolina Foot & Ankle Society
· Ohio Foot and Ankle Medical Association
· Pennsylvania Podiatric Medical Association
· Pinnacle Practice Achievement
· The Podiatry Foundation
· Realm Labs, LLC
· Jonathan Robertozzi Memorial Scholarship Fund
· Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
· Texas Podiatric Medical Association
· Christopher S. Seuferling, DPM
· Luke Vetti, DPM
· Rick Wilson, DPM
· Wisconsin Podiatric Medical Association
· Daniel Zinsmaster, Esq.
· Blake Zobell, DPM