Soleful Impact: One Podiatrist’s Journey in Limb Preservation & Empowering Local Diabetic Communities

21. November 2023
Alison Evans

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, Dr. Dave Griffin emerges as a noteworthy figure for positive change in his community. As a semi-retired podiatrist and a longstanding member of the American Limb Preservation Society (ALPS), Dr. Griffin’s influence extends far beyond the confines of his impressive career, reaching into the heart of community outreach. With a wealth of experience in private practice, HMO medicine, and academia, he embodies the essence of a key opinion leader within the American Limb Preservation Society.

Dr. Griffin’s commitment to eliminating preventable amputations is not just a professional endeavor; it’s a personal mission that underscores the core values of ALPS. A recent manifestation of this dedication is the Diabetes Connection Event, a groundbreaking initiative that reflects his innovative approach to combating the diabetes amputation epidemic. Through this event, Dr. Griffin seamlessly blends medical expertise with community engagement, emphasizing the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration that lies at the heart of ALPS. His story is one of compassion, resilience, and the transformative impact that a dedicated ALPS member can have on their community.

In our conversation with Dr. Dave Griffin, we delved deeper into his insights, unveiling the intricacies of his experiences, and gaining valuable lessons acquired throughout his journey as both a healthcare professional and an integral part of ALPS.

 

ALPS: Tell us a little about your background and how long you’ve been a member of ALPS/affiliated with ALPS.

Dr. Griffin: I am a semi-retired podiatrist and have worked in private practice, HMO medicine (Kaiser Permanente), and the academic arena (Oregon Health and Science University). I developed a Toe, Flow, Sew, and Go program, which was a lot of fun! Currently, I hold an assistant professor role in the department of medicine, internal medicine, and geriatrics, where I teach Internal Medicine and Family Practice residents about diabetic foot exams. Most of my time is dedicated to working on the prevention of diabetes foot amputations. I have been a member of ALPS since its inception.

 

ALPS: What inspired you to organize an event like this and why is it so important to those in your local community?

Dr. Griffin: I wanted to bring Toe, Flow, and Go to the community. As the diabetes amputation epidemic rages on, I felt I could play a small part in my community to help those most affected. We know that poverty and lack of access to quality medical care, along with the many Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), underlie these issues. Connecting a team of quality providers to people who are uninsured or underinsured to screen and guide them to resources to address their needs was our goal. We connected with as many community groups with resources to support our pre-diabetes and diabetes guests. As part of November Diabetes Awareness, I organized an event called the Diabetes Connection Event last Sunday in Vancouver, WA. The goal was to connect people with pre-diabetes and diabetes to support one another and learn about free/low-cost resources for healthy living with diabetes in our community. We focused on uninsured or underinsured guests by reaching out through churches. Our event connected with over 300 people, mostly Latino (Spanish-speaking primarily), and for the first year, some of our Pacific Islander brothers and sisters who speak Chuukese (assisted by translators). We had roughly 50 volunteers.

ALPS: Have you made plans to do a similar event again in the near future and/or do you have any events or clinics in your area that you’d like to promote that might be happening soon?

Dr. Griffin: We plan to conduct the Diabetes Connection Event in Vancouver yearly in November. Our team will be doing local screenings with our partners at REACH in the Black community of North Portland, focusing on DM/PAD screening early in 2024. I am also working with providers at the Multnomah County Clinics to teach them how to do the 3-minute foot exam. Our hope is to partner with the Native American community to explore connection options for them.

 

ALPS: Why do you think organizations like ALPS, that foster interdisciplinary teamwork and inspire clinicians like yourself to act against amputations, are so important?

Dr. Griffin: I want to encourage us to “love one another.” We have a like-minded group with a common goal of eliminating preventable amputation in our lifetime, drawing us together. ALPS provides the network and guidance necessary to “love on them” (my friend Dr. Foluso Fakorede’s reminder) — those with diabetic foot disease — by building relationships to connect all of us together.

To see more pictures of the Diabetes Connection Event, visit https://jkgulliphotography.smugmug.com/2023-St-Joes-Diabetes-Event/ or contact photographer Jeff Gulliford at jkgulli@comcast.net.

To connect with Dr. Griffin, please email griffdavemo@comcast.net.

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