White Coat Ceremony 2017

By Rachel Vandegrift, SMC ’19

COngratulations to the Class of 2019!

On the afternoon of April 7, 2017, the Class of 2019 celebrated one of many momentous occasions of their careers. The White Coat Ceremony is certainly a rite of passage in the medical community; the ceremony marks the transition of students from the pre-clinical to clinical phase in their education. During the ceremony, TUSPM faculty presented the second-year students with pristine white coats. Joining in on the ceremony were several guests, who all spoke on the importance of this day.

The program began with a welcome and introduction by Dean John Mattiaci, DPM and a greeting from the Executive Vice-President & Provost of Temple University, JoAnne Epps. Shortly after, alumnus Daniel Margolin, DPM (Class of 1986) gave a memorial lecture highlighting the work of George A. Sonneborn, MD. The students then finally received the honor of wearing their white coats for the first time. TUSPM faculty members happily “coated” ninety-one students during the White Coat Ceremony. Then, the class recited a variation of The Declaration of Geneva, a statement that communicates the importance of humanitarianism in the medical field.

declaration- white coat

Although it was a dreary Friday afternoon, Mitten Hall buzzed with excitement all afternoon. Luckily, through the Office of Alumni Relations and Development, you too can be a part of this important event by sponsoring a student’s White Coat.

Visit the White Coat Sponsor page.

TUSPM Alumni Reunion Reception

By Brittney Pescatore, Fox ’19

On July 15th, 2016 TUSPM hosted an Alumni Reunion Reception for all classes at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, which took place during the APMA 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting at the Convention Center. With nearly 320 attendees plus student volunteers and staff, it was definitely a full house!  

Without the support from nine altruistic sponsors, this event would not have been possible. The sponsors included Bako Integrated Physician Solutions, ATI Physical Therapy, Burmans Medical Supplies, Gordon Laboratories, GraMedica, Osiris, PediFix, PICA, and Podiatry Content Connection. “The event went extremely well, and the location and turnout were great”, noted SuEllen Dercher from Gordon Laboratories.  “As a sponsor, I feel as if we received the recognition that we deserved.”


As the guests began to arrive, they picked up their name tags and proceeded into the Independence Ballroom, where many ordered their first glass of wine while reminiscing with old classmates. The largest class present was  the class of 1980 with nearly 30% of the class in attendance. Dr. Rhonda Cohen ‘80 was a huge catalyst when it came to recruiting alumni from her class to attend the reunion. She stated that, “The night was terrific and enjoyed by all. My classmates were especially enthusiastic when it came to rounding up other alumni and attending the event.” Congratulations to the class of 1980 for having such a large representation!


After mingling during cocktail hour and taking fun selfies with two iconic Temple University characters, Stella, the live owl and Hooter, the mascot, it was time for the guests to head into Liberty Ballroom for dinner and dancing. The attendees entered into the grand ballroom and were welcomed into the beautifully decorated room with a DJ, and of course a dance floor just waiting to be pranced on. Dr. John Mattiacci, the Dean of TUSPM, Dr. David Novicki, Chair, Board of Visitors, and Dr. Harris Klear, the immediate former president of the Alumni Association, all expressed their gratitude and excitement about the current state of the school and upcoming improvements.

After the speeches, the dance floor was opened up and the food was served. The DJ played hit tunes from mostly the ‘80’s and even some more modern hits. This was a great opportunity for the attendees to get on their feet and socialize.

The alumni also had a chance to socialize with current TUSPM students. “It was great,” said student body president, Julie Lin,”because I was  able  to meet and easily connect with the alumni and they were all very friendly and willing to help the students out.” TUSPM worked to build relationships between current students and alumni by seating a student at each table. This gave them a chance to get acquainted, which will hopefully lead to a stronger bond in the future. FB_5555

“The night was a huge success,” said Ginna Saffo, class of 1986. “I especially loved looking through the old yearbooks and meeting students.” When the night came to an end, the guests began to say their goodbyes and headed out. “You could see the momentum building throughout the course of the evening,” said Joe Leso, TUSPM Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Relations. “At the end of the event numerous alumni were asking and excited about getting together again and having a TUSPM reunion reception next July at the National APMA meeting in Nashville.”


Excerpts from the Keynote Speech – Dr. Bradley W. Bakotic


TUSPM Commencement 2016

Excerpts from Keynote Speech delivered by

Dr. Bradley W. Bakotic, DPM, DO

bakotic grad photo

Though it is this class of graduating physicians that we’re celebrating today, we all know that in many instances, it is the support of the support of our loved ones that make such milestones possible. Despite their massive commitment of time, their extraordinary efforts, and the treasures that they’ve put forth to make this happen, somewhere in most of their lives there are persons on whom they have relied for support, and who have shown them the patience of a saint. For any of you who might be married, you owe your wife or husband….BIG TIME!  I can’t even imagine that level of sacrifice.

grad pic 3

I won’t sugar coat the future for the physicians sitting before me. I believe that you will have many challenges during your careers that simply didn’t exist 30 years ago. We’re moving from a day when healthcare was a privilege that persons would sacrifice to obtain, to a day when healthcare is thought of as a fundamental right. This isn’t necessarily a political issue, and it’s not for me to judge whether it’s right or wrong; it’s simply a fact of our evolution as a country. Whether for better or worse, I believe that it makes the role of the physician a bit more challenging. Whenever we anoint people with a right, we take a right away from someone else. As healthcare becomes a right for the people of this country, the rights of its physicians will be curtailed to some extent. Our role will become slightly more one of subservience than it has been in the past. For this reason, and possibly because through the wonder of the internet, basic medical information is no longer uniquely ours, we’ll be a little less revered.

grad pic 2

How can you make a difference? First, know your patients. Enjoy your role in making their lives better. Look your patients in the eye when you speak to them and listen to them when they speak to you. Ask them how they are and give them your attention when they reply. Second, continue to pursue knowledge and the betterment of your profession. If you are lucky enough to have an informative clinical case, publish it so that the experience is shared with your colleagues. Get involved with education. The most fundamental way for you to positively impact your profession is by sharing your knowledge with your colleagues. If you learn something profound, and you tuck it away in the corner of your mind, it’s been wasted in the broader sense. The bottom line is that we all must give back. On a personal note, I can say that nothing will bestow a better night sleep than when you have the opportunity to positively affect those around you.  Have faith in that.

grad pic

Doctors it all comes down to this: Thirty-five years from now, after your hair has turned grey, and crow’s feet punctuate your eyes, when you’re locking your office door for the very last time; make sure that you know in your heart that you’ve made a difference; a difference in the lives of your patients, a difference for your profession, and a difference in the world at large. It all begins now. I can tell you without a second’s hesitation that you represent the finest crop of clinicians that have ever matriculated through a podiatric university. You are light years ahead my class a few decades ago. Have faith in yourselves doctors, I certainly have faith in you. Parenthetically, if ever there is something that I can do to help you in your future endeavors, please let me know….that is as long as it’s not related to the student loan that your so lucky not to have.

grad pic 4

Good luck to you. The future of our profession is in your hands, and capable hands they are.  Thank you for allowing me to be here today!




Global Health Club

Global Health Club

Anthony Samaan, President of Global Health Club
Rami Basatneh, Vice President of Global Health Club


If someone were to survey the student body at TUSPM to gauge the level of understanding as to where Podiatric Medicine sits within the healthcare field, the results would be underwhelming. With Podiatric Medicine at such a crucial point in its development, in the midst of a promising path towards parity, it is vital that we keep our students informed about not only aspects involving our profession, but also those of other healthcare fields that invariably intertwine with our philosophy. If we do not hold ourselves to that standard, how can we possibly expect other healthcare providers to do so? In light of that pursuit, we present you with the Global Health Club at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine.

The goal of the Global Health Club is to educate students on current events within the medical field at the global level. This includes, but is not limited to, topics such as tropical medicine, humanitarian crises, medical ethics, cultural competency, interdisciplinary healthcare, etc… The club plans on bringing in global healthcare workers, as well as various specialists such as Cardiologists, Dermatologists, and Physical Therapists, to have them speak about these topics and the role podiatry plays in their careers, and vice versa. We hope to fill a void in the current podiatric medical school curriculum by exposing our members to experiences that they otherwise would not have.

If we are able to contribute even minimally to the nurturing of a cohort that is as competent and multifaceted as any other medical graduate, then we can say our mission was accomplished. With the guidance of our faculty advisor, Dr. Nicole Griffin, we believe this organization will be an asset in developing the framework for the next stage of supplementary podiatric medical education. We invite you to join us on our journey to being the change we wish to see in this incredible profession.


The GHC Team

“Silence to My Ears”

Julie Lin, Class of 2018

Student Government President

Julie Lin Photo

“Beep Beep Beep!” 7:00 AM, the alarm goes off… Most people dread the sound of their morning alarms, but I look forward to that sound; though it may not be for the reasons you think. When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with bilateral hearing impairment with moderate to severe loss. The sounds many take for granted such as the soft patter of the raindrops on the roof, the tinkering of a burnt out light bulb, or the dripping of a leaky faucet are sounds I can only try to imagine.

Because of this hearing impairment, I grew up with the constant reminder that I am different or “special”. There are times where I feel embarrassed and even inferior to my peers.  Even though I do not hear the same sounds that others hear, I have grown to embrace my differences and I refuse to allow my disability from discouraging me from doing activities I enjoy or from pursuing my dreams. In fact, it has driven me to work harder and longer than many of my peers. Over the years, I have built strong mentor relationships and learned that adapting to seemingly setbacks builds a strong character, and for that I am thankful.

This hearing disability is the driving force behind my motivation in which I have a fierce determination and studious nature. One of my daily challenges was playing musical instruments such as the piano and violin in my high school orchestra. To overcome this obstacle, I had to practice for hours on end. I practiced the same phrases on my violin merely for the chance to audition for a seat in my district’s select chambers orchestra. With the support from my instructor and a dedicated mentor, I, a hearing impaired student, was finally able to play alongside some of our district’s most talented musicians. Another daily obstacle I faced was competitive swimming, a sport that takes a great deal of technique. Swimming for a NCAA Division I team; every tenth of a second was crucial. However, races began with a buzzer, in which sufficient hearing and reaction time were necessary. My starting technique off of the starting blocks would severely hurt my races due to the loss of hearing. I had friends, family and mentors who supported me throughout my swimming career. My college coach not only went out of his way at every meet to ensure the additional accommodations to include visual flashes with the auditory beeper, but also stayed after practices to help me improve my starts. Without this strong support and mentor system, I would not have been able to accomplish seemingly simple achievements such as swimming and playing instruments. Even to this day, I keep in contact with each of my mentors.

Now, closing towards the end of my second year as a podiatric student at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, one of my future goals is to become a compassionate and competent physician skilled in foot and ankle surgery. Unfortunately, as I begin to learn how to perform critical clinical skills, I am frequently encountering limitation due to my disability. For example, I must learn to use a visual stethoscope and the additional nuisances associated with visual technology as I cannot use a regular stethoscope. However, my biggest concern at the moment is learning to overcome the hurdles in the operating room; communication. Having unconsciously learned to read lips and body language while communicating with someone, it will be significantly more difficult trying to communicate with the team in the operating room when everyone’s mouths are visibly covered by masks and they are physically preoccupied with the surgical procedure.

Obstacles related to my disability and identity have consistently presented themselves, yet each and every time, with support from my mentors, I have overcome them. Thus, I am determined to achieve my dreams as I believe in not only their attainability, but their beauty of accomplishment. It is my hope to find a mentor to guide and support me through this new development phase of my career to become a successful physician. They may not need to be hearing impaired, but someone who recognizes my impairment and is willing to provide the extra guidance and care to help me achieve my goals. I know I am not the only student at TUSPM looking for a mentor, so please reach out to TUSPM Alumni Relations to offer your support for the students.

Hear More About: New Welcoming Student Group

  Katie Heineman, Class of 2019



    During my summer orientation at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, I was amazed at everything the school had to offer its students. I became more involved with student organizations, but I still thought something was missing. As an openly gay podiatry student, I felt that Temple needed an organization that would provide a welcoming and inclusive environment to students, faculty, and administration of all sexual orientations and genders. I also understand the need to create a safe place for students struggling with their sexual identity and fear of what others may think. An organization not only to provide a place to help support fellow students struggling through a difficult time, but also to teach allies about our experiences. My classmate, Camille Kim, and I decided to bridge that gap and create our own student organization called SPECTRUM.

           The mission of SPECTRUM is to provide educational resources and professional networking to its LGBTQ members and allies. Through seminars and group meetings, our club hopes to educate other students and members about LGBTQ issues and concerns in the health field and community. For example, some issues all podiatric medical professionals will encounter is how to appropriately address LGBTQ patients and how to assess their social history. We also hope to provide connections and advice to residency applicants who are concerned with disclosing their sexuality during externships and residency interviews.

We are proud to have the positive support from our faculty, administration, and fellow classmates thus far. We have an excellent faculty advisor who is willing to help us reach our goals. I hope to bring change and great impact to many people, and especially Temple’s podiatry program. By learning to be more aware, we can become better trained physicians and improve the personal care of our patients.


Great (Un)Expectations

Namrata Daru  Class President

TUSPM Class of 2019

Great (Un)Expectations

In July, 2015, I packed up my life and made the road trip from Houston, Texas, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to pursue a career in podiatry. I cannot believe I am already nearing the end of my first year here at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. As most ambitious students do, I expected to go to school, get good grades, and maybe when I wasn’t buried under a pile of books, explore a bit of the city in my free time. As I reflect back on this year, I realize that the unexpected things are the ones that have taught me the most.

Firstly, I expected rigid stability from a school established in 1963. I now sense a culture that is becoming increasingly responsive to change. As an undergraduate business major at McCombs, I learned the seven most expensive words of policy: “We have always done it that way.” People are typically the most resistant part of a system to change. As future healthcare professionals, we need to be prepared to adapt and respond to the white water world we will be thrust into upon graduation, and this preparation should start now. TUSPM faculty and students lead in this preparation by example. Our faculty seeks to improve communication with students by not only holding open forums, but also following through to make proposed changes. Additionally, our extremely involved student organizations regularly provide the opportunity to hear from professionals in fields such as sports medicine, practice management, and wound care, to help supplement our theoretical framework with practical knowledge.

Secondly, I expected to make some friends at TUSPM. This feels much more like a family. As President of the Class of 2019, I am humbled to represent a class that exudes the essence of unity on and off campus. The TUSPM Alumni we have met always seem eager to visit and form lasting connections. It is not just current students and alumni that are part of our family, but also our wonderful faculty. This was highly evident at our annual formal, Spring Ligament, when we celebrated professors who make a difference. Surrounded by sharks and stingrays, we enjoyed a delicious three-course meal, got silly at the photo booth, and danced the night away with an incredible view of the Philadelphia skyline at sunset. Our class honored two professors in particular. While one has been with us for a couple of years and the other for more than a couple of decades, these phenomenal professors both take the time and effort to form personal connections with students. We really appreciate all they do to ensure our progress and success.

When I head out to the next place life takes me in 2019, I will certainly cherish all the unexpected personal enrichment bestowed upon me in addition to the expected academic rigor. I fully intend on making the most out of this opportunity and look forward to the remainder of my time at TUSPM and beyond.

Centrella Family Scholarship Reaches Endowed Status


The Centrella family would like to thank the Delaware Podiatric Medical Association, TUSPM alumni, and Centrella family members and friends who have contributed to the support of the Centrella Family Scholarship.   

The scholarship reached the endowment level last month with a generous gift of $5,000 from the Delaware Podiatric Medical Association (DPMA).  The DPMA established the Centrella Fund in May, 2011 with an initial gift of $5,000 to kick-off the Centrella Fund Campaign.  At that time, to establish an endowed scholarship in perpetuity at Temple University was $25,000.00 within a five year period.


The Scholarship is in memory of Delaware podiatrists Louis D. Centrella, 67 and Michael Centrella, Jr., ’76 to provide scholarships for fourth year students with financial need who have excelled in the study of anatomical sciences and surgical anatomy, and who have contributed to the science of anatomy through research or publication.   

“I can’t thank enough the members of the Delaware Podiatric Medical Association for this special remembrance of my dad Michael and my Uncle Louis”, said Michele Harra, daughter of Michael Centrella.  “The response from TUSPM alumni, especially the classmates of Louis and Michael was heartwarming,” added Harra.

The Scholarship will be awarded next academic semester.

A Year in Review: TUSPM Alumni Excel in the Podiatric Profession



By Maggie Wurst, SMC, ’17

As the year comes to an end, TUSPM is reminiscing on the achievements of our alumni throughout the year.

2015 was a great year for the podiatric profession with various alumni being honored with awards, opening new practices, and publishing scholarly works, it was great for TUSPM as well.

Dr. Arthur Helfand, ’57, was awarded the Bright Star of Aging award by the Emergency Fund Coalition on June 4.  The award was presented to Dr. Helfand for his distinguished career assisting and advocating for older adults on issues of proper foot care.


Dr. Arthur Helfand, ’57

Dr. Helfand serves as Board Vice Chair of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) and is a former PCA Board Chair and Treasurer. He became a board certified diplomate with the American Board of Podiatric Medicine in 1978.

Another highlight of the year was when Dr. James Christina, ’83, took the helm as the American Podiatric Medical Association’s executive director and CEO on October 24. Dr. Christina’s background with APMA is extensive, including a decade-long tenure on staff as director of Scientific Affairs, a 13-year commitment as a member of the APMA House of Delegates, and more.


Dr. James Christina, ’83

Another alum who took a leadership role at a national podiatric organization this year is Dr. Peter Smith, ’88. Dr. Smith was installed as the new President of the Pennsylvania Podiatric Medical Association during its House of Delegates Banquet in November.

dr. smith

Dr. Peter Smith, ’88

Making her alma mater proud, Dr. Christine Miller ’03 was the first podiatrist to graduate from the Patient Safety Fellowship at the University Of Florida College Of Medicine, and the first podiatrist ever to complete an allopathic patient safety fellowship this past summer.

Through her efforts, Dr. Miller was awarded a $25,000 grant to improve both patient safety and quality at University of Florida Health System.

Dr. Miller

Dr. Christine Miller, “03

Two 2013 alums, Dr. Justin Hooker and Dr. Vivek Patel, contributed to articles featured on Podiatry Today’s website this year. Dr. Hooker’s study was focused on the treatment of foot compartment syndrome secondary to metatarsal fractures, which argued that a delay in diagnosis of compartment syndrome could cause difficulties with a patient’s functional outcome. Dr. Patel’s article discussed the management of open ankle fractures and highlighted the standard of care as antibiotic therapy irrigation, and debridement.

Dr. Hooker is a second-year resident at the Maricopa County Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., and Dr. Patel is a third-year foot and ankle surgical resident at Beaumont Hospital-Wayne in Wayne, Mich.

While these are only a handful of our distinguished alumni’s accomplishments this year, as 2016 approaches, we are confident that our alumni will push the bar even higher and achieve amazing feats.