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College of Podiatric Medicine Dean honored for student mentorship

by Rodney Tanaka

May 1, 2012

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College of Podiatric Medicine Dean Lawrence Harkless, DPM, was honored by the American Podiatric Medical Students Association for his outstanding efforts and contributions to podiatric medical students and the profession.

“There’s probably no better honor than to be recognized by the individuals you had the opportunity to inform and inspire through your teaching efforts,” Harkless said. “It’s a testament to how we are rewarded for our effort.”

Harkless received the Kenison Award at the American Podiatric Medical Association House of Delegates meeting in Washington, D.C. on March 19-20. The award is named for Nehemiah Kenison, a visionary and leader in the profession of chiropody in the mid-1800s. Harkless was nominated for the award by his podiatric medicine students at Western University of Health Sciences.

“Dr. Harkless sees the journey as what matters, and not the destination, and as such, there is an expectation to always seek continuous growth and learning,” said College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) third-year student Adrienne Estes, one of the students who nominated him for the award. “As a student, you may have achieved many goals toward the betterment of your career, but Dr. Harkless never wants you to stop motivating yourself to be better. Dr. Harkless has motivated me to never accept praise with pride, but with humility, and to utilize your gifts in selfless acts to inspire and counsel others in need.”

Harkless is recognized as a leader of podiatric medicine and wound care, earning numerous accolades such as the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the Diabetes Association’s Diabetic Educator of the Year honor, and the American Podiatric Medical Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Citation.

He has served as an educator for more than 35 years and continues to mentor and teach students. He established a weekly Tuesday teaching conference at WesternU, streamed live via the Internet, which covers the entire foot and ankle and holds students, residents and faculty accountable for their continued growth, development and lifelong learning.

“If you care about students’ growth and development, you need to set checks and balances in place for accountability,” Harkless said. “You need to set the expectations high. If you hold them accountable and are patient in their growth, then their ability to expand their capacity is unlimited.”

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