Empowering Limb Preservation: ALPS Student Chapter at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine is Thriving

4. March 2024
ALPS

In the evolving landscape of healthcare, ALPS Student Chapters, such as the one at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (TUSPM), stand out as vanguards of proactive healthcare initiatives. Since its inception in 2022, the chapter has expanded its mission from raising student awareness to advocating for limb preservation, under the guidance of a dedicated executive board. Through collaborations, insightful events, and community engagement, the ALPS Student Chapter has garnered recognition for its multifaceted approach to limb preservation. Our conversation with the chapter’s current board members explores the transformative journey of ALPS and highlights their efforts to prevent amputations and educate future healthcare professionals.

In what ways has your chapter expanded or changed since its formation at the beginning of 2022?

The ALPS TUSPM student chapter has seen significant growth, initially focusing on limb salvage awareness, notes President Courteney Asase, “When we began, our main focus was to get our student body more interested and aware of limb salvage.” Abby Anderson, the Outreach Coordinator, praises ALPS for its educational impact, particularly in limb salvage procedures, highlighting collaborations with passionate physicians.

Malika Kaderali, the Secretary, underscores the chapter’s interdisciplinary approach, emphasizing collaboration across specialties like vascular surgery, wound care, and podiatric surgery. Saghar Helen Akhondi, the President Elect, sees ALPS as a platform for preventative care, aiming to educate peers about reducing limb loss while nurturing her passion for preventative care and promoting better patient outcomes.

 

What events or initiatives have you organized on your campus this year, and how were they received by students, staff, and the community?

Throughout the year, the chapter orchestrates impactful events and initiatives. Asase highlights their efforts: “Our first big event this year is our DFCon Watch Party. We stream live from our campus for students to watch, and we are grateful the national organization helps us put the event together.” She adds, “We have received amazing feedback from our students and community regarding our events, from didactic lectures to clinical skills practice.” Anderson discusses the activities, such as an interest meeting and a skin graft workshop. She further notes, “We also hosted a skin graft workshop which involved pig feet and allowed us to understand why skin grafts can be life-changing for diabetic patients with chronic wounds.”

Reflecting on the impact of ALPS workshops, Akhondi emphasizes the significance of the external fixator workshop: “My favorite ALPS workshop our chapter puts together is the external fixator workshop led by our clinicians and residents. It is a reminder of why I started studying to be a podiatrist and it leaves me motivated to get back to the books and study harder so that I can be the best physician for my future patients.”

 

Your student chapter has organized many successful events and functions this year. As you are building momentum, what are your plans moving forward into 2024 and how do you hope to educate other students about limb preservation?

The ALPS TUSPM student chapter is gearing up for Spring 2024 with exciting plans. Asase shares the upcoming “Toe, Flow, and Go” event, a collaboration with Lewis Katz Medical School and Temple University’s Physical Therapy school, aimed at discussing interdisciplinary approaches to prevent amputations. Anderson explains the event’s focus on collaboration among healthcare professionals, including vascular surgeons, podiatrists, and physical therapists. Alongside this event, the chapter plans workshops like the External Fixation and Skin Flap workshops to enhance clinical skills. Community involvement remains a priority, with Anderson highlighting the volunteer opportunities at local health fairs, stating, “This is a great opportunity for first and second years to get involved who otherwise may not have much opportunity to work one-on-one with patients.”

 

What advice do you have for students looking to establish their own ALPS Chapter on campus?

Establishing an ALPS Chapter on campus involves key steps. Courteney Asase suggests checking ALPS guidelines, using the website’s sample constitution, and forming an executive board. She encourages reaching out to established chapters: “Feel free to reach out: templealps@gmail.com or follow us on IG @temple_alps.” Abby Anderson advises leveraging faculty expertise, connecting with professors and physicians, and emphasizes, “With the support of faculty… any ALPS chapter will be able to make a difference on your campus.”

 

Why do you believe organizations like ALPS, promoting interdisciplinary teamwork and inspiring students to eradicate preventable amputations, are crucial for the next generation?

ALPS serves as a pivotal force in promoting interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle preventable amputations. This is a sentiment echoed by Kaderali: “As podiatric surgeons, we have the responsibility to ensure the overall quality of life for our patients are held to the highest standard.” She underscores the necessity of collaborating with healthcare professionals to preserve functional limbs, citing ALPS as a model prioritizing patient care and compassion.

In the healthcare landscape, ALPS fosters interdisciplinary teamwork and equips future healthcare professionals with tools to combat preventable amputations. Asase emphasizes the importance of collaborative efforts, stating, “With so many different medical specialties… we must not forget the importance of working as a team to help our patients.” She highlights how early exposure to interdisciplinary approaches shapes students’ mindsets toward prevention strategies, reflecting the organization’s commitment to holistic patient care.

 

What are YOUR reasons for wanting to be a part of an ALPS Student Chapter and acting against amputation at the student level?

Courteney Asase articulates her drive for joining the movement: “Limb salvage not only prevents the psychological challenges that come with losing a limb, but also helps individuals maintain their body image and self-confidence, promoting a positive mindset.” Abby Anderson adds a personal touch to her involvement: “I am passionate about limb salvage because I have seen that being active and mobile is crucial to one’s physical and mental health.”

Netanya Flores, the Communications Chair, sees participation in ALPS as a crucial step in engaging with a larger medical team and understanding the weight of medical decisions: “Being a part of ALPS is a step towards willingly being a part of a greater medical team. As future podiatric physicians, we play an integral role in lower extremity care, but we also work with other specialties such as vascular to take steps in overall preventive care.” Malika Kaderali reflects on how ALPS shapes her goals as a foot and ankle surgeon, aiming to eliminate preventable amputations and improve patient outcomes: “Being a part of the ALPS chapter has affirmed my goal in prioritizing limb salvage as a future foot and ankle surgeon.”

 

Discover the vibrant world of ALPS student chapters and their impact on limb preservation education and advocacy. Dive into the ALPS Student Chapter Handbook for a comprehensive guide on establishing a dynamic student chapter at your institution. Need guidance on starting a student chapter? Reach out to members@alpslimb.org for assistance and support throughout the setup process.

Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Board for the 2023-2024 academic year:

President: Courteney Asase
Vice President: Jessica Carillo
President-Elect: Helen Akhondi
Secretary: Malika Kaderali
Treasurer: Schuyler Jurewicz
Research Coordinator: Trinh Ho
Outreach Coordinator: Abby Anderson
Communications Chair: Netanya Flores
1st Year Liason: Posi Asaolu
Contact Information:
 
Eighth at Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 625-5451 or
(800) 220-3338
ALPS Student Chapter Faculty Advisor: Andrew Meyr, DPM

“In addition to ultimately being responsible for sustaining the present efforts of ALPS, young members’ enthusiasm, fresh perspectives and tenacity are invaluable to making advancements in the present. ALPS seeks to provide the mentorship, training and opportunities for student members to get an early ‘leg-up’ in being professional limb preservation advocates. Please join us in our interprofessional collaborative effort to eliminate preventable amputations!”

Ryan Crews, ALPS Founding Secretary

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