Dr. Lee Rogers is a podiatric physician specializing in the diabetic foot and amputation prevention in a private, hospital-based practice. Dr. Rogers began his career basically as an entrepreneur.
“None of the jobs I have ever gotten were there already; I had to create them for myself,” stated Dr. Lee Rogers, who is now the National Medical Director of the Amputation Prevention Centers of America, a division of RestorixHealth, Inc.
After graduating from Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine in 2004, Dr. Rogers completed a two year residency (PM&S-24) in foot surgery at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York under the direction of ABPM Past-President and Diplomate, Michael DellaCorte, DPM. He went on to complete a fellowship in limb salvage and research, with David Armstrong, DPM, a world authority on diabetic foot complications, at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago.
“I knew early on that I wanted to specialize in the diabetic foot. I saw that while many podiatrists see and treat the diabetic foot, few dedicate their entire career to this subspecialty. With a mortality rate of 68% within 5 years for those with an amputation caused by diabetes, doing everything we can to save limbs, is saving their lives. And treating the diabetic foot encompasses a lot of surgery in order to achieve limb salvage,” explained Rogers.
After his fellowship Dr. Rogers was offered a job to start his own clinic focused on amputation prevention in Des Moines, IA at Broadlawns Medical Center. For two and a half years, he collected data on a 6 step approach to treating the diabetic foot and was able to document a reduction in the rate of amputations by 72%. “What we found was that a team approach can save more limbs than a unilateral or individual approach,” he said. “And these teams encompass many other medical or surgical specialties. But the podiatrist has the opportunity to lead this team.”
He then went on to found similar Amputation Prevention Centers in Los Angeles, California. He founded the Amputation Prevention Centers of America, creating a network of like-minded specialists dedicated to limb salvage, and a couple years ago this network merged with RestorixHealth, Inc and Rogers now acts as the national medical director.
In 2011, Rogers was given the Rising Star award by the APMA for “outstanding national accomplishments,” and Podiatry Management has selected him as one of America’s Most Influential Podiatrists for several years.
Rogers attributes much of his early success to his mentor Robert Frykberg, DPM who helped him formulate a career plan focused on an area he was passionate about. “I think finding a mentor is critical. Find someone you respect and want to emulate. Even though healthcare is changing, and practices are changing, there is still much to be learned from seasoned practitioners and the paths their careers have taken. ”
Dr. Rogers has been an ABPM diplomate since 2008. “For most DPMs I would recommend obtaining certification in both medicine and surgery, but becoming board certified as quick as possible by ABPM can help young podiatrists become credentialed by insurances and obtain or retain their hospital privileges. I am only certified with ABPM because I quickly realized I didn’t need another board certification. ABPM-only certification has never been an impediment to my work as a surgeon, since I completed a surgical residency and have demonstrated proficiency.”
Dr. Rogers also took some time to run for Congress, where endorsed by the LA Times, the Mayor of LA, the Lt. Governor of California, and 20-30 Members of Congress. He came within 5% of winning in 2012 in the general elections and was narrowly defeated the new California open primary in 2014. “I definitely see politics in my future again, but am taking a break. You can’t balance work, family, and running for office; the campaign takes over everything,” stated Rogers. “I see tremendous opportunities to make improvements in federal policy. With only about 20 doctors in Congress and one scientist, I think there is room to improve our federal government’s understanding of science and medicine, and restructure America’s priorities to advance in these important areas.”
The biggest take-away Dr. Rogers wants for residents is to “take control of your future”. “One of my favorite quotes is by George Benard Shaw ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.’ I encourage all residents and young practitioners starting out to decide what their perfect job would be and create it, if necessary. If you wait around to find a job posting for your perfect job reading the blogs and e-blasts, you’ll be waiting a long time. Take the initiative and ‘create yourself’.”