Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 14, 2005
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Podiatry School opens
foot center for diabetics

The School of Podiatric Medicine has opened a new Diabetes Center for Excellence at the Health Sciences Center to provide foot and ankle care to the surrounding North Philadelphia community, which has a large African-American and Latino population. According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are 1.6 times and Latino Americans 1.5 times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from the disease.

Diabetic patients must be extremely vigilant with any break in the skin, to which the feet are prone, because infection and inflammation can develop and cause significant damage.

“Diabetic infections often become serious in a 24-hour period,” said James McGuire, director of the school’s department of medicine and the Leonard S. Abrams Center for Advanced Wound Healing. “Unfortunately, by the time most patients see their podiatric physician, they already have a deep ulcer and their foot is at risk for severe infection.”

Diabetes is also the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations. And among those living with this disease, African Americans are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to have their lower limbs removed.

McGuire and his colleague Larry Newman, medical director of the Foot and Ankle Institute as well as the new Diabetes Center for Excellence, plan to bring healthcare professionals and educators to the center to teach classes on diabetes and other diseases that affect the foot and ankle.

The School of Podiatric Medicine already offers similar outreach at its Eighth and Race streets location for the Asian population in the surrounding neighborhoods. Newman hopes that these programs will reach those who are at greater risk for these diseases and ultimately increase the quality of life and lifespan for those in underserved areas.

“In a big city like Philadelphia, at least 40 percent of the population needs foot and ankle care and only about 10 percent are seeking it,” Newman said. “Through education, we hope to reduce these health disparities.”

The Diabetes Center for Excellence has specialists that cover every aspect of the lower extremity and provides diagnostic exams and treatments for all types of foot and ankle problems, as well as X-rays and some minor in-office surgeries.

The Diabetes Center for Excellence and the School of Podiatric Medicine’s existing facility at Eighth and Race streets fall under the auspices of the school’s Foot and Ankle Institute.

- By Andrea Hallowell and Tory Harris