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Professional Profile: John Codwell III, DPM [Podiatric Medicine]

Created 02.06.08 by American Podiatric Medical Association
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Dr. John Codwell III, a Detroit native, always wanted to be a doctor but didn’t know what kind of doctor he wanted to be. While earning a B.A. at the University of Michigan, Codwell met a podiatrist whose practice focused on sports medicine and who worked with the university’s basketball team. Having been an athlete himself for most of his life, playing football even into his college days, he understood the importance of good foot and ankle care for an athlete.

After graduation, Codwell attended Texas Southern University in Houston for post-graduate work in biology. While there he met a fellow classmate who was planning on attending podiatric medical school. “Podiatry grabbed me in two ways — with the ability to pursue sports medicine and with the uniqueness of the field,” stated Dr. Codwell. “You can do so many different subspecialties in one specialty… that’s what made me gravitate towards podiatric medicine.”

Upon graduating from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and completing a residency program, he opened a solo practice in 1995 in Houston. On average, Codwell sees 30 patients a day ranging in age from 3 months to 102 years.

His practice treats many types of patients including professional athletes and local high school and college athletes as well. He also serves as a team doctor for Texas Southern University and Rice University athletes. “I see a lot of football, basketball, and track athletes throughout the school year,” says Codwell. For most doctors, working in a busy practice would leave little to no time for other activities. Not so for Dr. Codwell; he also finds time to be a mentor to students.

Codwell had been educating students and the public for years before joining the American Podiatric Medical Association’s DPM Mentor Network Program at its inception seven years ago. As part of the APMA’s DPM Mentor Network Program, he has spoken to pre-med students at Texas Southern University, Houston community colleges, and the University of Houston. “I enjoy educating students and the public on podiatry and on various foot problems… making folks aware of podiatric care is very important to me,” he says. One of the key components that Codwell conveys to students is the dynamics of podiatric medicine — it’s a field where one is able to wear many hats (i.e. surgeon, dermatologist, oncologist, etc.). He also conveys to students some of the attributes associated with being a podiatric physician, such as the flexibility to create your own work schedule, the potential to earn a lucrative salary, and the opportunity to be a part of the health care team in your community.

His optimism for his career is undoubtedly contagious and his message is received positively when he speaks to students, the public, and colleagues alike. “We offer a great service to the public and I think as podiatrists, we must be vocal about our profession,” he says. Dr. Codwell is one podiatrist who is practicing what he preaches.

For more information on a career in podiatric medicine, visit the American Podiatric Medical Association’s website at http://www.apma.org/careers. Or view a short video about the career on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqAGmzhKk7Y.

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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    I was considering Podiatry but it is a difficult way to make a living. Podiatry schools are struggling to bring in enough students, many of treatments that Podiatrists provide can be performed by an Allopathic or Osteopathic physician. Its not like Dentistry, no MD or DO can do what a Dentist has been trained to do. If Dr. Codwell is succeeding congratulations but most people I have met say the profession is struggling.

  2. TUSPM says:

    Actually, podiatry is a very lucative, in-demand profession. Mike, would you go to a neurosurgeon for an achilles tendon repair – just because he/she is an M.D. or a D.O.? Of course not! Nearly everyone is a specialist within medicine.

    The application pool for potential podiatric medical students is vast. Read our fora. The schools are selective when choosing candidates. Many have been rejected from schools due to the ever growing population of applying students.

    Medicine in general is a difficult way to make a living. It doesn’t matter what speciality you are in. It’s a business. You not only have to know your medicine, but how to run a practice. There are floundering professionals in ALL aspects in medicine. Your career is exactly what you put into it.

    In the end, I’m so happy that I have choosen podiatry. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. However, the general population, (including some of those who have already posted on this article), need to be educated on the practice of podiatry.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would go to an orthopaedic surgeon for an Achilles tendon repair. I could have had my foot surgery done by a podiatrist but I chose to have it done by an orthopaedic surgeon who is a specialist in food and ankle. I shadowed him for a month and I saw multiple people come in saying that they had surgery by a podiatrist who basically messed up the procedure. The orthopaedic surgeon had to go back in and fix the patient. I’m sort of leery after that.

  4. Isabel says:

    Podiatrist are part of the healthcare TEAM in communities all across this country. In most cases, they get most of their patients from REFERRALS from primary care physicians, general orthopedists and other members of the medical healthcare family. There are always going to be good and bad doctors in every profession, but DPMs are trained specifically in foot and ankle medicine and surgery. I’ve had two foot surgeries and they both came out just great. I’d go back to my podiatrist any day of the week before sitting in an orthopedists office and waiting 3 hours while they dealt with wrists, knees, hips, etc. For foot and ankle care, I’m going to the podiatrist.

  5. Eric says:

    Well said Isabel and TUSPM

  6. Eric says:

    Would you rather go to an MD that has spent about a week on the foot or a podiatrist who has spent 4 years?

  7. Aishia says:

    Thanks SDN for featuring a “regular guy” who didn’t know what he wanted to be when he got out of school. I’m there right now, with a bio degree and not quite sure what to do. This was helpful.

  8. Jon says:

    I also feel compelled to point out that there are actually VERY FEW orthopods with proficient training in foot/ankle surgery. Just ask them. This is a common misconception. You need look no further than the Ortho Foot & Ankle Fellowship website to see that over half of these positions go unfilled every year. Some slots are filled with podiatrists.

  9. Mike says:

    Its not whether or not Podiatrists are skilled in what they do, they are highly trained and educated. The issue is that the public is largely ignorant about the profession and there is a natural bias towards visiting an MD whenever you have a problem. I know quite a few Primary Care doctors in my area who offer foot treatment. Its also well known that Orthopedic Surgeons have tried to limit the scope of practice for Podiatrists.

  10. chris says:

    Isabel,
    It’s wrong to assume you will sit in an orthopedist’s office for 3 hours while treating other joint injuries, and not assume you will sit in a podiatrist’s office for 3 hours while he cuts toenails and fixes calluses.

    If you want to promote a profession or rave about the care you received, you do not need to down grade one profession to raise another. A podiatrist has merit, and if he/she went to a residency where he/she received the best surgical training, then I agree that I would feel comfortable with a podiatrist doing my foot surgery.

    I’m tired of insecurities being projected. Allow the profession to stand, without having to push another down to get there.

  11. Lorie Franck says:

    Hello! My name is Lorie student recruiter from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. Is there anyone that can contact me? I am going to be in the area soon, and I would like to come visit your school.

    Thanks!

  12. Matt says:

    Foot and Ankle Orthopedics is a dying breed. Why do a 5 year resiency in ortho and a year fellowship in F&A when you can do a three year residency in podiatric surgery, see ~1000 more F&A surgical cases, and probably have a better quality of life (high income, better hours, less call) when you’re into practice?

    Its true that Poditric medical schools are easier to get into, but they’re not any easier to complete. This is why they also tend to have a higher attrition rate….. Admisson to all podiatric medical schools is becoming increasingly competitive though, and the average admission stats at all schools have steadily risen over the past few years.

    I could have gotten into most MD programs in the country (was offered admittance everywhere I interviewed), but I chose podiatry and heres why:
    I know I’m reasonably smart and motivated, but so is pretty much everyone else in med school. If I gave it my all and put forth my best effort, I might only be an average student. With an average board score, that might mean I’d be stuck looking at stuffy noses all day and wouldn’t have that much of a shot at a surgical specialty like I wanted. Just about everything in podiatry involves cutting (reimbursements are higher = more $$$) and whether that involves ingrown toenails or complex ankle reconstruction/amputation/vascular surgery/whatever, it was a much better road for me. I rather like being trained as a physician specialist from get-go.

    Scholl class of 2011!

  13. Ella Shepherd says:

    This is very interesting. :) Thank you.

    I agree with chris. We shouldn’t be down grading another profession to raise another. That’s not fair. All people are different and people have different wants and priorities. And, all these professions have their own specialties.

    Just love what you do and show it. But don’t talk negatively about other professions. They’re importantly needed, too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    podiatry rocks!!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    this forum really helped me out a lot b/c it made me to find this career

  16. Jon says:

    For young Americans looking for job security in a lagging economy, entering the field of podiatric medicine — which currently boasts 15,000 doctors nationwide — may be a step in the right direction. A recent workforce study indicates that the nation’s eight colleges of podiatric medicine would have to triple their graduates between now and 2014 in order to meet growing population demands.

    The study, conducted by the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the School of Public Health, University at Albany, attributes an increase in foot problems as a result of growing obesity, diabetes and aging rates to have a direct impact on the profession. In 2002, podiatrists provided close to 40 percent of all foot care services in the United States, compared to 13 percent for orthopedic physicians and 37 percent for all other physicians, including primary care doctors. Podiatrists are medically and surgically trained to diagnose and treat disorders, diseases, and injuries of the foot, ankle and lower extremity. Podiatrists are typically older on average than the overall U.S. labor force. In fact, the professions’ median age of 45 will certainly contribute to future occupational demands in the next 10 to 15 years.

    “The field of podiatry is really one of the most specialized in all of medicine. And anyone who has become a podiatrist knows that the payoffs associated with becoming a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine are priceless,” said Dr. Christian Robertozzi, APMA president. “But when it all boils down to it, most medical students are concerned about what their salaries will be once they enter the workforce. Because the supply is less than the demand for podiatrists at the moment, the median income for our profession is at an all-time high.”

  17. Jo says:

    What is the average income of a podiatric doctor?

  18. Anonymous says:

    You guys might want to google ‘podiatry bytes’ for a different point of view.

  19. anonymous says:

    Podiatry was featured in Forbes list of America’s top 25 paying jobs and the mean salary listed was $118,500. I think that is a more reputable source than a website written by a disgruntled person who probably failed out of podiatry school. The podiatry bytes website does not even appear to have been updated for years.

  20. frank says:

    I have been a practicing podiatrist for 17+ years and have truly enjoyed each year. I practice both podiatric medicine and surgery and refer to local orthopedists all the time. They are a great asset to my practice and vice versa. The bottom line is providing the “best care” for that particular patient. There are some patients who are just more comfortable with an orthopedist and some which are more comfortable with a podiatrist. When it comes to surgery I always recommend a second opinion and will recommend either a “Board Certified” podiatrist or “Foot and Ankle” fellow orthopedist. Having (3) foot and ankle fellows in my area helps because we all work together to give the patient the best quality care. And I am still a very busy surgical podiatrist. Lastly, Podiatry is a very lucrative and rewarding profession.

  21. ben rokhsar dpm says:

    podiatry: I would have taken an alternative route to AVOID podiatry. In the 70`s & 80`s Podiatry was great!but in the 90`s things changed the medmal premimiums increased by a 5 fold! re-embursements from 3`d party insurances and HMO`s decreased by 80%. In school and residency to encounter sadistic clinicians and attendants. After graduating to find a job, and to work for a ” podiatrist ” I have heard horror stories! podiatrists not all are have warped personalties egotistic nothings. A friend of mine went to jail working with a podiatry group in NY. Go buy a practice the podiatrist wants 3-400,000 dollars for what good will? many insurance panels are closed to dpm`s How are you to make a living? Watch out at help want adds for dpm`s don`t get ripped off. Finally why spend the money & time when you can be a MD or DO instead of a dpm. I spoke to a # of dpm`s down south and west all complain the manage care pays little they need numbers ! to survive. Quit before you start PODIATRY! it is a loser profession

  22. Ben Rokhsar says:

    The enemies in podiatry are in the campgrounds. Avoid podiatry you will spend alot of time and money to a losing cause! remember dateline 1992 edition on podiatry?

  23. Anomymous says:

    Many insurance panels are closed to podiatrists and since many are have 1, 2,3 years of residency in really is inconsistent in what you are getting. There was a 20/20 TV on podiatry in 1995 also regarding podiatry and its education. Open up a back of a med journal and see lists of jobs for MDs and then see the pod positions-for tons of debt and a lack luster job prospects, there are other occupations available in the health care field. Opinion only.

  24. Ben Rokhsar says:

    Another example how dpm`s abuse their own kind, I was a 2 yr resident in a hospital in Brooklyn NY my residency director was a big wheel in the politics of podiatry. The 1st yr I “rotated” in his office as practice management 3 times a week cutting nails, ultrasound txs etc while doing ” slave ” labor not being taught billing or practice management. He must made at least $100,000 from may “labor” with the promise to hire me when over. In the 2nd yr there were limited foot cases so he told me to follow the general surgeon doing abdominal, cardiac, colo rectal surgeries but were are the foot cases. I wanted to rotate in another hospitals but no In the end he would hire me at very low per deium payHe then threw me out. I was used and abused AVOID podiatry

  25. Student says:

    I shadow Dr. Codwell and I must say, he is skilled in what he does. I don’t know anyone that is more dedicated in their craft than he is. His humility, and desire to TEACH students (like me) as well as his many accomplishments throughout life have pushed me to become a better person not just for myself and my family’s benefit but for the community in which I serve. Everyday I witness the growth in his practice and I hear only positive comments from his patients about the quality of patient care provided by Dr. Codwell. I have been on the other side of healthcare (just as many of you have) as a patient and have wondered “why do i feel rushed in an out and why do I feel like this doctor has no clue or care about how i feel.” in contrast and frim first-hand experience,when you walk into The Family Foot Center, The energies of warmth and compassion TOP DOWN (from Dr. Codwell, to the medical assistants, the receptionist, and volunteers) radiate.

    …and in response to quite a few of the posts, YOUR FAILURE (to try harder, to try again, to see every obstacle as a strength builder to make you a better person, to see the person in the mirror who has a lot of personal growth and development to go through before a promotion in life is presented), HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S SUCCESS (life principle, learn it).

    How many successful pessimistic and/or cynical people do you know (rhetorical question)? With that question I would like to point out that the direction of your sail is visible (to yourself and whoever you come in contact with) just by the words you speak. It is possible to change to direction of your sail (and in consequence, change the course of life’s future events) by changing the words you speak.

    May everyone have success in ANY field they choose.

  26. This comment is way overdue! John E Codwell, III, DPM is one of the most professional people that I have ever met. His bedside manor is impeccable and is one of a hand-full of medical professionals that really care about the community in which he practices as evidenced by his volunteer work at senior citizen facilities in and around Houston. Yes, those seniors that are not very mobile, DOC volunteers his time to go to them.

    After having invested more than 15 years as a medical sales professional, I understand the importance of building some quality professional relationships. It is a mutual respect that is developed through the exchange of information that help each of you as professionals to reach your goals especially in uncovering or developing better treatments for your patients. When you couple that cutting edge “out-of-the-box” type of thought process with professional skills that are ranked among the best in your business, well… This attitude is reflected by his family and staff! Dr Codwell has been recognized by various organizations throughout the Houston Metro for his community involvement.

    To say the least, Dr Codwell is currently my Podiatrist! He had earned the right to be my Podiatrist before I ever made that 1st appointment. He is good at what he does and he genuinely cares about his patients. That is the type of guy that he is! “People generally do not care how much you know until they know how much you care?”

    Keep up the good work DOC! – JEROME

  27. Ben Rokhsar says:

    The ” Student of august 25/2011 sounds like a Tony (anthony) Robbins graduate! what does he know ! I have been in the field for over 15 yrs, Can you grow wheat, sorghum, or fruits in Febuary? be real!

  28. ben rokhsar says:

    A friend of mine graduated his residency program, job offer $ 75,000/yr no malprac. coverage or benefits ? In the mid west a friend of mind could not get a provider # from medicare for over 2 yrs he contacted the local congressman who was helpless ! This is a message that the profession is ” needed ” ? where nurses, wound care techs, or PCP`s can do our work. Texas has better potential there is more of a need, but try to get a license, not easy read podiatry Bytes

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