A conversation with Dr. Laura Pickard about podiatric medicine and surgery provides an endless boost of energy. Even at the end of her long day, her enthusiasm for the profession, for the medical industry and the need for ongoing political advocacy and involvement is infectious.
Dr. Pickard is in solo practice at the Norridge Foot Clinic, a thriving practice in Chicago, which she joined in 1992 as an associate to Dr. Stephen Weiss who established the clinic over 45 years ago. A 1990 graduate of the Dr. William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Pickard completed her podiatric residency program at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL. Early in her career she started getting involved in regional and state podiatric committees and was always eager to know and stay on top of changes in the industry.
“Most of my involvement early on was my way of learning as much as I could about the industry and trends, just to survive!” “I was always thinking ‘how can I make my practice stronger’.” “Even today, I think it is critical for young physicians to stay on top of what is changing – know the pitfalls and what can affect your practice and plan accordingly.”
She states emphatically that knowing where to go with questions, ie. APMA, ABPM, ACFAOM, ACFAS, PICA, local or state legislature continues to be important. “Know your industry.”
“When I started, there were not as many opportunities, especially to join a multi-specialty group. Podiatry, in fact, was still a little marginalized, a little unknown,” explained Dr. Pickard. Today, she explains, things have opened and joining a group is more common. “There are very good reasons for joining a group such as the shared cost of EMR systems and other business costs, but also the enormous value of working side by side with other specialties.”
Dr. Pickard believes in a conservative approach to podiatry and emphasizes the importance of biomechanics and knowledge of medicine in her practice. “Know your medicine! We are starting to see sicker and sicker patients so it is critical to know how to do histories and physicals so you can see and evaluate patients not only in your practice but also in the hospital,” she continued. “I got ABPM Certified first before I even considered the surgical board,” she explained. “It’s a mistake not to demonstrate your knowledge to hospital and insurance panels by getting ABPM certified. More and more they are looking for podiatrists who know medicine. It makes you more credible. Also, when I speak to students, I tell them, learn to look at the whole patient. They want you to take care of them.”
“The other advice I give to residents is to get your Boards done early. It gets harder as you progress in your career, have a family, etc. It will bite you, “explained Pickard.
At the end of the day, Pickard says she is happy in her practice, loves what she does and continues to be an industry advocate. I always figure if you give good affordable care, you, your payors and your patients are winners!”
Dr. Laura Pickard accomplishments:
- Past president of the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association
- Serves on multiple boards and committees for the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
- Lectures at various conferences including Midwest Podiatry Conference, American Podiatric Medical Association Annual Conference, Illinois Podiatric Medical Association Annual Meeting, Illinois Podiatric Medical Student Association Midwinter Seminar
- Alumnus of the Year Award in 2015 from the Dr William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine
- Fellow of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow, Scotland
- Board certified with both the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) and the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS)
- Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine (ACFAOM) and the American Society of Podiatric Surgeons (ASPS)
- Associate member of the Society of Vascular Surgeons (SVS)
- Member of the American Public Health Association (APHA)