College of Podiatric Medicine Dean Lawrence Harkless, DPM, served as the keynote speaker at the American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine (ACFAOM) 2010 Annual Clinical Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010.

Harkless talked about “Innovation and Integration: The Future of Podiatric Medical Education.” He will also make several other presentations at the conference, which runs through Aug. 29.

His keynote speech focused on the educational changes necessary to prepare students for the 21st century practice of medicine, Harkless said. Traditionally, a professor lectured and students took notes and memorized information for tests.

The College of Podiatric Medicine emphasizes student-centered learning that asks the following questions: What do you want them to know? How do you know that they learned it? If they did not learn it, how do you remediate appropriately? How do you enrich the ones who want and need to be enriched?

Instead of emphasizing memorization, students are given a case and are asked to solve a problem.

“This is application-based learning,” Harkless said. “When I talk about innovation and integration, that’s the model we’re implementing at WesternU.”

The theme of the conference is “Tomorrow’s Concepts for Today’s Practice.” Participating in this prestigious conference provides an opportunity to incorporate this new innovation and integration into the entire education system of colleges of podiatric medicine, Harkless said.

“Our profession tends to be surgically oriented,” he said. “(ACFAOM) is the medical arm of our profession. This brings us back to focusing on the basics, which is being an excellent podiatric physician. We’re not just a foot and ankle surgeon, we’re physicians. Our ability to diagnose and integrate interprofessionally is as important as surgery as we work toward improving the quality of health care in the 21st century.”