President's Perspective August 2017

Laurence G. Rubin, DPM, FACFAS

"When You See a Fork in the Road, Take It."
—Yogi Berra

Laurence G. Rubin, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

I believe our profession has come to a fork in the road. We can either continue to be complacent with where we are and how far we’ve come, or we can be more progressive with our expectations and demands of ourselves and those involved with our profession. It seems like an easy decision, but if it were, I would be writing about a different Yogi quote. This is not and cannot be the choice of a few individuals or a national organization. We can lead the way down the more progressive path, but ultimately, it must be the profession that changes the environment.

The hospital environment is better than it ever has been in my career, but we are still not where we need to be or should be. We must continue to change the atmosphere from within. One way is to share  your expertise by serving on a hospital committee. Be proactive—don’t wait to be asked to serve, go in and volunteer. To continue to be progressive as a profession, we need a seat at the table. And if you are asked, please accept the assignment—remember, it was not long ago that many in our profession could not serve on hospital committees or even be on staff. Recently, one of my colleagues turned down a committee assignment. His explanation—that he was too busy—was very disappointing to me. Sadly, he came to that fork in the road and chose his path. He chose to take the path of complacency—and that hurts all of us, in every hospital.

Our profession needs to “step up,” when medical device companies present multicenter research that does not include ACFAS members or roll out new products that have no ACFAS members as developers—we need to say something! Let your suppliers of surgical products know if you have ideas or want to participate in studies and input on product development. And, ask them to support our profession. Be a reliable resource—DPMs are now responsible for 80 percent of forefoot and 50 percent of rearfoot surgery. Studies, product development and industry support should reflect our market share. If we as a profession do not insist on this, then we are taking the path of complacency.

ACFAS is working on a number of exciting new projects—research, advanced education and new clinical consensus statements, to name a few. We need to present a solid alliance as foot and ankle surgeons and make our industry partners aware that we want to have a more active role and voice as we continue to grow and stand out as “the proven leaders in the field.” Please encourage our industry partners to participate in these initiatives and to support our profession.

We are at a fork in the road, and we must decide which path to take: the path of continued complacency, or progression—it seems like an easy decision to me.

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