College of Podiatric Medicine Associate Professor Kathleen Satterfield, DPM, FACFAOM, MAPWCA, will become president of The American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine (ACFAOM) on Jan. 1, 2012.

ACFAOM is a professional society of podiatric physicians and surgeons dedicated to excellence in orthopedics and medicine of the lower extremities as the cornerstone of contemporary podiatric practice. Satterfield, an associate professor and director of pre-clinical curriculum at Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM), has the option to serve a one- or two-year term.

“My goal for my year or two as president is to increase our membership through examination of what it really means to be a podiatric physician, and also to continue the work of our previous presidents,” she said. “We started a clinical conference that’s gaining popularity. We see other conferences now trying to emulate us.”

Many new podiatric medicine graduates are eager to become surgeons, but the first step is to become a good physician, Satterfield said.

“Anyone can open a textbook and technically do the procedures by following instructions, but it takes a true physician to understand how to be a functional surgeon rather than a structural surgeon,” she said. “That is realizing the feet are connected to a human body and they’re not static, they’re a very dynamic part of the human body. If you don’t put that all together, you’re going through the motions, doing things in the operating room that are just like reading from a cookbook.”

CPM Professor Robert Christman, DPM, EdM, also serves on the ACFAOM board. CPM Executive Associate Dean Lester Jones, DPM, MS Ed, is a past president of ACFAOM and current president of the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine.

The profession is constantly changing, and having these national leaders on campus gives WesternU a voice in the future direction of podiatric medicine. Students also benefit from CPM faculty holding these leadership positions.

“We have an opportunity to introduce into our curriculum things we are hearing about on the national level because we’re dealing on a monthly basis with people on national boards,” Satterfield said. “We’re writing board questions, reviewing grants, and the connections that we make for our students are huge for residency programs.”

ACFAOM was originally founded in the late 1940s as the American College of Foot Orthopedists, and incorporated in 1951 as an Illinois non-profit corporation. With a membership of approximately 900 doctors and 250 student doctors, ACFAOM is the only specialty organization affiliated with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) that represents the full scope of the medical, orthopedic, and biomechanical aspects of podiatric practice.

The Board of Directors is elected by the membership. Directors serve three-year terms with a maximum length of service of nine years. The Board of Directors elects officers from among its number, and they have the option to serve two years if they please.

Dr. Satterfield, a Fellow of The American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine, rose through the officer ranks to become president. She will replace Dr. Kirk Geter, who is an Assistant Professor in the Howard University College of Medicine, Chief of Podiatry and Residency Director of the Podiatry Program in Washington, D.C.