Podiatrist Q&APodiatry

20 Questions: Devon Glazer, DPM, FACFAS, FAAFAS

Devon Glazer, DPM, Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (FACFAS) and Fellow of the Academy of Ambulatory Foot and Ankle Surgery (FAAFAS), is a partner at Artisan Foot and Ankle with offices in Mission Viejo and Irvine, Calif. He received a bachelor’s degree in both biology and sociology from the University of North Texas, a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) cum laude from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and is currently working towards his Masters in Public Health from University of North Texas. Dr. Glazer completed an externship with Swedish Hospital/Providence Hospital in Seattle and Catholic Medical Centers in Queens. He also completed medical rotations in internal medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology, emergency medicine, pediatric and adult neurology, rheumatology, dermatology, pathology, radiology, plain management and anesthesiology, as well as surgical rotations in vascular, general, plastics, anesthesia, pediatric orthopedics and general orthopedics.
Dr. Glazer is on the Board of Directors Division 1 of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, Board of Directors of the California Podiatric Medicine Assoc. He consults with Arthrocare Surgical Equipment, Wright Medical Technologies, and Clinical Advisors Group, peer reviews the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, and is part of the medical crops for the NYC Marathon. Dr. Glazer’s teaching appointments include the Aestheticare Surgical Residency Program, IMSC Fellowship Program, Newport Beach Center for Surgical Residency Program, and APMA Mentoring Program.
When did you first decide to become a physician? Why?
I decided in college. I wanted to be an FBI agent, but I started working in a hospital and really enjoyed interacting with patients. That experience change my whole mindset and professional desires.
How/why did you choose the medical school you attended?
I did some research and visited a medical school (the New York College of Podiatric Medicine) in New York City. I figured if I could make it there, I could make it anywhere. Also, my family is from New York, so it was a life-long desire to return to my roots.
What surprised you the most about your medical studies?
What surprised me the most was how important it was to not just study, but also study effectively. Most people think if they study for 10 hours, they will do better on an exam versus studying effectively for six hours and enjoying the other four hours. My roommate and I would make up our own exams—we made them as tough as possible—and after trading tests and reviewing them, the real exams seemed easy.
Why did you decide to specialize in podiatry?
While I was working in that hospital I mentioned earlier, I met a podiatrist who loved what he did. He educated me on how diverse podiatry is. He did trauma, elective surgery, sports medicine and hospital rounds, sometimes all in one day. That diversity interested me, as I enjoy a challenge and not doing the same exact thing day in, day out.
If you had it to do all over again, would you still specialize in podiatry? (Why or why not?)
Without a doubt I would still specialize in podiatry. It has afforded me a rewarding career. I had a patient who had not walked in two years come in after I did a reconstructive procedure on him. He told me he walked in his door for the first time in two years and his dog kept barking and growling at him. The dog was only a year old and had never seen him walking and didn’t recognize him. Those types of stories make any hardship [I’ve encountered] along the way seem like nothing.
Has being a podiatrist met your expectations? Why?
Very much so. I have some frustrations as anyone does in any job, but I love my job and my patients. Everyone knows: Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
What do you like most about being a podiatrist? Explain.
Diversity. Diversity in patient cases holds true in my practice, which is what I love. But the best secret about podiatry is you can design your practice however you like. I have colleagues that do just bunion surgery, others that treat kids with foot problems, others that do hospital work and others that work share in part time practice so they can help raise their children. That level of flexibility of types of practice in a specialty is appealing to students and fulfilling as a practitioner.
What do you like least about being a podiatrist? Explain.
I wish our health care environment didn’t influence how medical care is delivered, but this is not just a podiatry issue. This issue affects patients and doctors alike, and it’s more of a healthcare delivery issue.
What was it like finding a job in your field–what were your options and why did you decide what you did?
Toward the end of my residency, I looked for a job like I would in any other field. I wanted to try moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, so I applied to a practice in Southern California. The upside is our field in tight knit, so one doctor recommended me to another and I joined the practice. The options are unlimited today. There are a multitude of choices, from becoming an associate, to taking over a practice, to becoming an employee physician for a health system.
Describe a typical day at work–walk me through a day in your shoes.
I have a varied schedule, so my days are different. But I have done this by choice, as the variety keeps me engaged. I have set office hours, but three half days I do surgery, hospital rounds and some administrative work. I am also a board member for the California Podiatric Medical Association, which keeps me attached to my smart phone for a lot of hours as well.
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 usually work 50-plus hours per week. This is also by design – I used to work more, but life is short. I could work less, but I am a bit of a workaholic. I sleep more since turning 40, now I usually sleep seven hours a night. When I was younger it was more like five to six hours. I take a total of four weeks of vacation, I take more now that I have kids as I want to enjoy the years I know I’ll never get back with them.
Do you feel that you are adequately compensated? Why or why not?
This is a tough question. I do not think any doctor today feels adequately compensated, as we work harder now for less as compared to our predecessors.
If you took out educational loans, is/was paying them back a financial strain? Please explain.
I did and quite a bit at that. It is not a strain, but it will be very nice to have them completely paid off.
In your position now, knowing what you do – what would you say to yourself when you were beginning your medical career?
Take the lessons from anyone willing to teach you, as it will make you the best doctor you can be.
What information/advice do you wish you had known when you were beginning your medical studies?
That no matter what rumors you hear regarding the future of medicine, don’t fret, just fight for your patients and the future will be bright for doctors and patients alike.
From your perspective, what is the biggest problem in health care today?
The delivery of health care. Doctors, nurses and hospitals have to do more with less, and no one wants to sacrifice quality standards to deliver cost savings medical care.
Where do you see your specialty in five years?
Growing by leaps and bounds. Every study predicts an increased need as our Baby Boomer generation ages. Combined with more complex injuries from thrill seeker sports, the future is bright.
What types of outreach/volunteer work do you do, if any?
My position on the California Podiatric Medical Association (a volunteer position) takes up most of my free time, for which I am happy to serve our members and patients. I used to go to a foreign country to operate on kids with birth deformities, but as I became a family man, I could no longer take the risk of making these trips.
Do you have family? Do you have enough time to spend with them? How do you balance work and life outside of work?
It’s tough, as I covered in the other questions, but you have to make time for them. I’m considering cutting back to four long days so I can have an extra day with them.
What is your final piece of advice for students interested in pursuing a career in your field?
Do a mentorship with a podiatrist. It’s the best way to get a taste of the profession. The American Podiatric Medical Association has a program for students (go to www.apma.org for more information).