By Lee Hlad
For most students, going to college is a life-changing experience. College offers a time and place where students discover their career paths and learn ways of staying on course to successfully achieve their career goals. For some, the path isn’t clear, and a few twists and turns are warranted. For others, like Lee Hlad, DPM, the path is clear from the beginning.
Dr. Hlad discovered in high school that he wanted to go into medicine. Fortunately, he was able to gain some exposure by shadowing a few medical specialties while in high school. “I shadowed an OB/GYN and a family practitioner. And believe it or not, I first discovered podiatric medicine while working in a family practitioner’s office.”
The family practitioner Dr. Hlad worked for enjoyed working with patients with foot-related issues. He often saw many of these patients as the community did not have a full-time podiatric physician. The enthusiasm conveyed by the family practitioner piqued Dr. Hlad’s interest in considering podiatric medicine as a viable medical career option.
As a freshman at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY, Dr. Hlad’s decision to pursue podiatric medicine was solidified after he heard a presentation from a New York College of Podiatric Medicine representative, Charles Ross, DPM. “Dr. Ross expressed how becoming a podiatric physician was the best decision he had ever made in his life and he couldn’t be happier. Dr. Ross also mentioned the fact he considered and explored several other medical specialties before he came to the realization that podiatric medicine was the perfect fit.” Dr. Hlad ultimately discovered podiatric medicine was also the career for him.
Now a third-year podiatric medicine and surgery resident at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, OH, Dr. Hlad is enjoying the challenges of his residency program. “I wanted a very intense (academically and surgically) program that encompassed all aspects of podiatric medicine to [the] fullest extent.” His commitment is apparent: “I want to be able to handle anything and everything within the full extent of my scope of practice when I complete my residency program.”
Dr. Hlad is well on his way, having completed over 2,400 surgeries and numerous surgical rotations and having participated in countless academic events (e.g. cadaver lab, journal club, etc.). “There is an evolution you go through to get to where I am today: from academics and clinical experiences (podiatry school) to residency, where you grow overall through exposure, evidence-based medicine, and taking into account everyone else’s knowledge to guide you.”
Dr. Hlad is nearing the end of his residency but knows exactly what his future holds. “I’ll be attending a one-year fellowship in Baltimore, MD at Sinai Hospital at the International Center for Limb Lengthening. This fellowship will focus on deformity correction.” He added, “After my fellowship, I plan to join a high volume practice that will be surgically-oriented as well as office-based.”
For more information, contact APMA at [email protected] or 301-581-9281.