The College of Podiatric Physicians of Alberta (CPPA) supports positive progress in the foreign qualifications recognition process. To that end, the CPPA is conducting research on the qualifications of foot practitioners who have training from non-DPM programs from both inside Canada and around the world, and we are examining evaluation processes of potential equivalencies.
Practicing in Alberta
Alberta's need for podiatrists is steadily growing. Currently 60 trained podiatrists practice in the province, serving a population of 3.2 million. This is a ratio of 1.56 podiatrists per 100,00 individuals.
Currently, all podiatrists in Alberta must have a degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) from an accredited institution in the United States.
About the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
All students entering a College of Podiatric Medicine have a Bachelor of Science or higher degree and must achieve the required results in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The podiatry curriculum spans four years at an accredited College of Podiatric Medicine in the United States. Students study courses in all basic medical sciences. In the final two years, emphasis is placed on disorders affecting the foot and ankle and their various types of treatment. These courses are coordinated with clinical training in various university teaching hospitals. Upon completion, graduates obtain their Doctor or Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. Comprehensive board exams must then be passed before being licensed to practice.
Residencies are hospital based, and performing a residency is now considered the norm for new graduates. In addition, continuing education courses keep podiatrists up-to-date regarding new developments in podiatric medicine and foot surgery.
The American Board of Podiatric Surgery (ABPS) certifies Podiatric Foot and Ankle Surgeons following their completion of the Board's certification process. For more information on the Board and the certification process, visit http://www.abps.org/
Institutions offering the DPM in the United States include the following. Visit their websites to find course descriptions and other helpful information.
- Barry University School of Graduate Medical Sciences, www.barry.edu/gms/podiatry
- California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt College, www.samuelmerritt.edu
- College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, www.dmu.edu/cpms
- New York College of Podiatric Medicine, www.nycpm.edu
- Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, www.ocpm.edu
- Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science, www.rosalindfranklin.edu/
- Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, podiatry.temple.edu/
- Arizona Podiatric Medicine Program, www.midwestern.edu/azpod/
- Western University of Health Sciences (pending accreditation), www.westernu.edu/xp/edu/podiatry/welcome.xml
Currently, there are no Canadian English-speaking institutions that grant the degree of DPM. It is planned that the University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, will establish such a program in the future.
Opportunities for Podiatrists in Alberta
Alberta presents a wealth of opportunities for podiatrists. The need for these professionals is steadily increasing due to several factors. As our population ages, just as people will need medical assistance for all aspects of their health, they will need more medical services for ailments of the foot and ankle. Also, Canadians are participating more in fitness and sports activities, increasing the likelihood of injuries. At the same time, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of Canadians suffering from diabetes; the Canadian Diabetes Association estimates over three million people. In addition to these facts, Canada's Aboriginal population has a rising growth rate (1.5 times that of non-Aboriginal Canadians), and these people run a higher risk of diabetes and the foot problems that accompany this disease.
Scope of Practice
The scope of practice of Alberta podiatrists includes everything from routine foot care to wound care and bone surgery on the foot and ankle and structures that affect the foot. Many of our podiatrists have their own surgical suites, however, some of our members choose to perform surgery in a hospital or non-hospital surgical centre. Those who work in the hospital also have admitting privileges for patients and are on-call in the exact same manner as medical doctors.
For the purpose of diagnosing and treating ailments, diseases, deformities and injuries of the human foot, the following are included in the scope of practice for Doctors of Podiatric Medicine practising in Alberta:
- cut a body tissue to administer anything by an invasive procedure on body tissue or to perform surgical or other invasive procedures on body tissue below the dermis of the foot and ankle;
- reset a fracture of a bone of the foot or ankle;
- reduce a dislocation of a joint of the toes;
- prescribe a Schedule 1 drug within the meaning of the Pharmacy and Drug Act;
- full schedule F prescribing privileges of drugs listed in the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations;
- prescribe and dispense the benzodiazepine class of drugs, as well as those specified in the Controlled Substances Act;
- dispense, compound, provide for selling or sell a Schedule 1 drug or Schedule 2 drug within the meaning of the Pharmacy and Drug Act for the purpose of treating ailments, diseases, deformities and injuries of the human foot and ankle;
- administer nitrous oxide gas for the purpose of anesthesia or sedation when treating ailments, diseases, deformities and injuries of the human foot and ankle;
- order or apply any form of ionizing radiation in medical radiography and nuclear medicine for the purpose of treating ailments, diseases, deformities and injuries of the human foot and ankle;
- order diagnostic lab tests.
Information on the Pharmacy and Drug Act is available at www.qp.alberta.ca/570.cfm
The need for podiatrists is evident and Alberta is a choice destination.
Living in Alberta
As Canada's wealthiest province, residents of Alberta enjoy access to excellent education and health care and enjoy a standard of living complemented by easy access to year-round outdoor activities, as well as thriving arts and culture communities. From the province's many festivals and celebrations of the visual arts, music, drama and heritage, to the natural beauty of our many lakes and the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, Alberta offers her residents and visitors a plethora of opportunities to enjoy. (For more information on what to do and see in Alberta, visit TravelAlberta.com.)
Resident Albertans do not pay provincial sales tax, nor do they pay premiums for provincial health care coverage.
The University of Alberta is located in Edmonton, Alberta's capital city. Learn more about this dynamic and growing city at www.edmonton.ca.
About the University of Alberta (U of A) and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
The U of A's internationally renowned Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry will be the home of the School of Podiatry, and the U of A will be the first English-speaking institution in Canada to grant the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.
Founded over 100 years ago, the U of A now attracts top students and professors from around the world and is proud of having had 30 professors receive national 3M Teaching Fellowships, the highest award available for undergraduate teaching excellence. The U of A leads the country in this regard.
U of A students have access to top-quality professors and research facilities and are part of a community that maintains a strong community and international presence.
The U of A Libraries ranks 12th in North America and the University's School of Public Health is the first stand-alone school in Canada that focuses on wellness and disease prevention.