20 Questions: Crystal Holmes, DPM, Podiatric Medicine

Last Updated on June 27, 2022 by Laura Turner

Crystal Holmes, DPM, is a podiatric physician practicing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She graduated from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in 2002, and already her professional career and media resume have taken flight.

Currently, she is a clinical instructor at the University of Michigan Medical School, serving in the Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes Division. Dr. Holmes earned her undergraduate degree at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Describe a typical day at work.

Every day for me is different, and that is what I like the most about what I do. There really is no “typical” day. Some days I’m at the VA Hospital, and others, I’m at the University of Michigan Hospital in my clinic. Most of my patients have diabetes. However, I see patients of all ages with a wide spectrum of pathology. That is why I think my job is so much fun.

If you had it to do all over again, would you still become a doctor? (Why or why not? What would you have done instead?)

I would not change a thing! I’m truly enjoying working as a podiatric physician, and right now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Why did you choose your specialty?

Diabetes and the complications of the disease run in my family. I have seen the devastating effects. My goal is to save as many limbs as I can; I want to make a difference. Also, when I was searching for my specialty, I enjoyed the interactions I had with other podiatrists.

Did you plan to enter your current specialty prior to medical school?


Crystal Holmes, DPM
Crystal Holmes, DPM

Now that you’re in your specialty, do you find that it met your expectations?

Absolutely. Podiatric medicine is challenging because there is so much information to keep up with. There is always something new to do and learn. That also keeps it interesting. I hate paperwork, such as charting, but it is a necessary evil for every physician.

Are you satisfied with your income?

Yes. My family and I are comfortable. I would still love to have Oprah’s bank account, though.

What do you like most and least about your specialty?

In podiatric medicine, we often feel like we have to defend ourselves and our profession. We shouldn’t have to do that. If you are well trained and have a good bedside manner, patients will love you, and others will want to work with you. Let your work speak for itself. I do!

If you took out educational loans, is paying them back a financial strain?

Yes, I have loans. I took out only what I needed. It has not been a problem paying them back. I see the loans as an investment in myself, and I am worth it.

On average: How many hours a week do you work? How many hours do you sleep per night? How many weeks of vacation do you take?

I work 12-hour days, four days a week. My sleep time varies. I’m an insomniac, but I try to get 8 hours of sleep a night. I get almost a month a year in vacation time.

Do you have a family, and if so, do you have enough time to spend with them?

I always want to spend more time with my family. It’s all about balance, and I think we all struggle to find it. I make time to do what matters most to me.

In your position now, knowing what you do, what would you say to yourself ten years ago?

1. Work efficiently.
2. Read more.
3. Rest more.
4. Play hard.
5. Remember, everyone can teach you something. The most valuable lesson someone can teach you is what NOT to do.

What information/advice do you wish you had known when you were a pre-med? (What mistakes or experiences have you encountered that you wished you had known about ahead of time so you could have avoided them?)

You have to be serious and study. Your classmates are also your future colleagues, and you never know who will end up where. This is a valuable network.

From your perspective, what is the biggest problem in healthcare today?

The rising cost of healthcare accompanied by the decreased access to it. This is only complicated by insurance company policies and legislation that is not in the best interest of our patients. This is really too big a topic to cover in such a short interview.

From your perspective, what is the biggest problem within your own specialty?

I think that our biggest problem is that most people don’t know all that we do. Every day podiatric physicians treat a wide range of patients, from pediatric to geriatric. We do sports medicine, trauma, and palliative care. We do surgery, and we work with biomechanics. Every day is different, and that’s what makes it all so much fun for me.

What is the best way to prepare for this specialty?

Take all of the standard pre-med classes since the requirements for podiatric medicine are nearly identical to those of allopathic and osteopathic medicine. Then I would strongly recommend that you shadow a podiatric physician in your community. That’s really key to understanding what the profession is all about and how podiatric medicine can offer a truly balanced lifestyle. I think it’s also important to have a real desire to care for people.

Where do you see your specialty in 10 years?

I think podiatric medicine will be growing and completely integrated into the mainstream of medicine. As the baby boomers age and as the incidence of diabetes increases in our population, there will be a strong demand for podiatric physicians.

What types of outreach or volunteer work do you do, if any?

I run a clinic at a county homeless shelter. It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding.

What’s most misunderstood about your specialty?

I don’t think everyone realizes the amount of training we have in podiatric medicine. Our program takes four years to complete, with another 2 to 3 years of postgraduate hospital-based residency training after that. I also think that most people don’t realize the variety of diseases podiatric physicians diagnose and treat.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I rarely watch TV. I am more of a music fan. I love my iPod. I’d rather walk the dog or spend time reading.

Any final thoughts that we didn’t cover?

I’m very pleased and flattered to have been asked to participate in this interview. I really do want to stress that I think podiatric medicine is a profession that is just now gaining in popularity. I think that there is so much potential here, and I want pre-med students to really think hard about all their options before choosing a specialty. That’s the best advice I can give right now.

Special thanks to the American Podiatric Medical Association for facilitating this interview: www.apma.org

Want to learn more about working as a podiatric physician? Check out this interview with Alton Johnson, DPM:

22 thoughts on “20 Questions: Crystal Holmes, DPM, Podiatric Medicine”

  1. I think you’re a beautiful person and I love your outlook on life, and your profession. Diabetes is a major problem in my family as well and is a big concern for me in regards to my children, as it runs in my husband’s family as well. I’m glad you love your work and I appreciate how important you feel bedside manner is to your patients… I’m sure they appreciate it as well! Best of luck to you.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to give this interview. It’s interesting to see what is possible in podiatry with some good training and hard work. Congratulations on being so successful that early in your practicing career, and I think it’s great that you are working to share your knowledge by working to teach allied health professionals.

  3. What a postive doctor you are, with a wonderful outlook on life. Your patients are lucky to have you as their doctor! Keep paving the way, you are a true inspiration.

  4. Crystal, it is so nice to see that you are practicing and donig well in podiatry. I like your positive attitiude and your positive outlook. Keep up the good work and continue to provide a positive image for aspiring african american podiatrists who are considereing entering the profession.

  5. Crystal, I am so proud of your accomplishments and your work in podiatry. I am glad to be one of your colleagues. Keep up the great work.

  6. Hi Crystal!!
    Hopefully you will get this message! I’m out in Los Angeles and Michelle Overstreet just sent this to me. Congrats on your accomplishments!! Let me know if you are ever out my way!!
    Take care,
    Kari Foster
    Other website: http://www.kmichele.com

  7. Hey Crystal!
    I am so proud of you. Keep on being a good role model for those around you. God will use you greatly.
    Congrats on following your dreams!

  8. I am happy to see an African-American female doing so well in the field. I will be attending school this fall and I hope to be as successful in my career as you are.

  9. Wow. I didn’t realize hat Podiatry was until I read this. Very interesting. I will be doing more research when choosing where and what I want to be in life! Any good websites that you would recommend?

  10. How great it is to see such a succesful woman in the medical field. You are truely a role model to women looking to go into podiatry, or any field for that matter!

  11. Your interview was informative and inspirational. I have followed your professional progress, so I am not surprised but very impressed.

  12. Anyone interested in finding out more about careers in podiatric medicine can find information on the website of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) at http://www.apma.org/careers. That’s a great place to start with lots of great links to other areas in podiatric medicine.

  13. Hi Crystal,
    I’m glad to see an African American woman in the medical field. Your light is truly shining bright! I’m an aspiring doctor-to be. Right now, I’m undecided on a specialty.It has taken me some time to finally figure out what I wanted to do in life, but God has opened the door. I was thinking it’s too late, but God is the author of time. So, here I am at 37 years old, starting my pursuit to become a doctor. So many people say it’s too late, but I try not to listen. I know all things are possible. I have a passion for helping people. It has taken me this long to put all the pieces together. Anyway, your are truly an inspiration. Keep on doing your thing!

  14. Crystal,
    Congrats….I always knew you would do great things. May GOD continue to bless you and your family.

  15. I enjoyed reading this interview. It gave me more insight on another field of study in the medical world.

  16. Your interview struck my interest immediately when i saw that you were an Afro-American and a woman. I am starting med school in the fall, and it’s great to see wonderful examples of success that has paved the way for the future Afro-American female doctors. When everyone told us we couldn’t, YOU DID. And you did it well. Keep up the good work, and keep God first in your life. God bless you and yours.

  17. Greetings Crystal,
    You have always been an inspriation to all of those you encounter. Praise God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you. You have always had a beautiful and caring spirit. May God always bless and keep your family near. Thank you for the wisdom you have shared.

  18. Crystal,
    Congratulations, Fiskite, on a position well- earned at UM. May God continue to find favor with you. It’s good to know that a colleague is prospering. Don’t lose that sparkle.
    A Conscientious Alpha
    A Devoted Fiskite

  19. Hello Dr C. Holmes aka Fiskite,
    I was just browsing this website to find a forum with new information on the national health service scholarship, and I encountered your article. I do not know you, but I am so happy and proud for you! I am too a Fiskite, presently in my 4th day of medical school which is already proving to be a challenge, but reading your article really inspired me, and reaffirmed for me that great people/things come out of Fisk. Thank you for generously sharing yourself in this article, and I pray the best for you nd your family. Take Care!

  20. Hi Crystal,
    ur right, podiatric physicians donaot have to defend themselves,being a DPM and going through an intensive training ur confident in saying so. what do u think of podiatrists from other countries outside states who have only 4 yrs of trainig and no residency where podiatrists are considered as toe nail cutters. any suggestions??

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