“I have always had a heart for moving our profession forward. Being elected to the NY State Podiatric Medical Association Board of Trustees is a huge honor and opportunity,” said the newly elected Board of Trustees member, Stephanie Hook, DPM.
As a member of the Board, Dr. Hook will help their mission of supporting excellence in the practice of podiatric medicine and surgery by creating awareness of the profession’s role and value. This includes supporting lobbying efforts for podiatric related bills, particularly those striving for parity in the medical community, and ongoing work to promote public understanding of podiatry, the level of training required, and specific expertise podiatrists can provide in overall health. She will also serve on the Insurance and Legislative Affairs committees and chair the Awards committee.
Dr. Hook has known since she was a teenager that she wanted to be a podiatrist. “I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but after having a podiatric procedure when I was in high school and in observing what they did and learning about the profession, I knew then and there that I wanted to be a podiatrist. I know that is pretty young, but I just knew.”
She attended the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (now called Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine) and did her residency at Sisters of Charity Hospital/Catholic Health System in Buffalo. “I picked my residency pretty much based on the informal conversation I had with the residency director at the reception during the more formal interview weekend. I was the only one at the reception, which ended up being a great way for me to learn a lot about the residency led by Dr. Joseph Anian. “I remember liking what he said both about the program and life outside the residency.” For Dr. Hook it ended up being “a great experience.” “We were part of the program for all residents and were not singled out as the ‘podiatry residents,’ which I have heard can sometimes happen at some institutions.”
Both in school and during residency Dr. Hook was involved in the State Associations and advocating for the profession. “I think achieving parity and continuing to establish standards for all states is an ongoing process,” stated Dr. Hook, “but one that also needs ongoing attention and support.”
Dr. Hook worked in a podiatric practice for eight years before moving to Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists (SOS), an orthopedic practice near her home in Nelson, NY. “I love my job,” she says. “This is exactly the kind of practice I wanted to be part of. It is collaborative, ethical, we provide our patients comprehensive care, and we treat our patients like they are family. I love that I can refer cases to other in-house orthopedists and vis versa.” One of the things Dr. Hook loves best is that this practice has opened her up to a variety of different cases ranging from sports medicine to diabetic foot care to being a part of the Acute Limb Salvage team at St. Joseph’s Hospital. SOS is comprised of 31 orthopedic physicians and podiatrists, Dr. Hook was the first woman to become part of this practice. “While I am proud to be part of the group, I don’t like to single out the gender piece, because I am just one of the team.”
Dr. Hook explains that her group is very active in the community providing trainers for local high school sporting events and tournaments, participating in local health fairs where she has been able to lecture about foot health, as well as sponsoring several community events and charities. “It was important to me to be part of an active and caring group,” she explains.
Shortly after completing her residency, Dr. Hook became ABPM certified. “I think it is really important that podiatrists get certified as early as possible because patients and practices are looking for that credential,” said Dr. Hook. “Nearly every day I hear patients say, ‘I looked you up online and saw that you had your board certification, etc.’ – it’s not just a nice-to-have anymore.” Dr. Hook selected the ABPM certification because she felt it was the most comprehensive. “In my opinion, it is much more well-rounded and demonstrates your understanding of biomechanics, medicine and surgery – not just biomechanics and medicine as it relates to surgery.”
While Dr. Hook sees the future of podiatry as very promising, she says she also knows there are pockets within all healthcare professions where financial gain can compromise integrity and optimum patient care. She wants to remind all those entering the field that if you do what you love (as cliché as it may sound) the financial rewards will be there – and be there honestly. This is something she is very passionate about. “Follow your heart, do what you love, and you will end up doing the right thing for yourself, your patients, your family and your lifestyle,” she shared. “We are lucky to be in a profession where we can make choices about our day and the kind of life we want to lead.”
Dr. Hook enjoys sports, photography, travel and spending time with her husband, stepdaughter, and three dogs. She is also proud to be a part of the DPM Mentors Network. Enjoy more about Dr. Hook in one of the Syracuse Orthopedic Specialist videos.