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The TV Reality Show Podiatry Wanted - My Feet Are Killing Me
The TV Reality Show Podiatry Wanted - My Feet Are Killing Me
Part 1: An Interview with Ebonie Vincent, DPM
It’s well-worn and almost trite to say that podiatry is the best kept secret in medicine. Anyone who has spent time in the podiatric community will be well aware that we as a profession haven’t done a good job advertising the wonderful work that we do. Whether it’s creating orthoses, fixing fractures, healing wounds, or reconstructing lower extremities, the work podiatrists do every day to help our patients is amazing and heart-warming…but remains highly under-recognized and underappreciated by the rest of the world.
Along comes a new reality television series on The Learning Channel (TLC) called My Feet Are Killing Me. The show features the patients and clinical work of two of our young podiatric colleagues, Drs Ebonie Vincent and Brad Schaeffer. This follows recent medical programs such as My 600 Pound Life, Dr. Pimple Popper, and The Toe Bro, profiled last week in the PRESENT Podiatry NewsFlash.
My Feet Are Killing Me is a human-interest program that focuses on patients with lower extremity conditions and the two doctors who treat them. There will be an obvious comparison with The Toe Bro – about a Canadian chiropodist caring for superficial skin issues presented sensationally with extreme close-ups and slow-motion procedures to emphasize the “gross factor.” In contrast, My Feet Are Killing Me takes a more humanistic and less extreme approach. Take a look at the sneak peek video of the first episode which was aired for audience testing on February 28, 2019. We are pleased to announce the news that the show has been picked up for a full six-episode season due to its popularity after a test run where it was the fifth most watched cable program during its time slot. Filming will be done through June and the show is scheduled to air in August.
The new My Feet Are Killing Me reality show presents an excellent opportunity to raise the awareness of podiatry by the American public
This new program presents an excellent opportunity to raise the awareness of podiatry by the American public. These two young, well-spoken, and passionate podiatrists are excellent ambassadors for our profession. What a great way to showcase all the good podiatric physicians do every day. We have gotten to know the stars and the award winning, industry leading producer of this new show thoroughly this week and have gained confidence that they are committed to showing the best side of modern podiatry practice, while showcasing the dramatic effect that we have as a profession on our patients’ lives. Let’s get to know our profession’s ambassadors via an interview this week with Ebonie Vincent, DPM. Next week we’ll talk with Brad Schaeffer, DPM.
As a quick introduction, Dr Ebonie Vincent is a 2015 graduate of the Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine with 3-year residency training at the Inspira Health Network PMSR/RRA program in Vineland, New Jersey. She has been in practice for less than a year with Orange County Podiatry in Southern California.
All podiatrists have their own story of how they became aware that a career in podiatry may be right for them. Dr Vincent started at a biomedical science program at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where she earned a Masters in Biomedical Science. She went to a weekend conference at NYCPM to recruit podiatry students, loved it, and thought she found a good fit for her career. She completed her four years at the Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and did her residency at the Inspira Health Network program in Vineland, NJ under Angelo Luzzi, DPM. After completing residency, Dr Vincent returned to Southern California where she answered an advertisement in Podiatry Management News from a local podiatrist looking to expand his practice to a third partner.
The story of how Dr Vincent was recruited for My Feet Are Killing Me is inspiring. The office manager at her practice received an email and passed it on to Dr Vincent. Eugene Young, Producer/Director for Renegade 83, came up with the concept for the show. He was President of Ryan Seacrest’s production company for two years, and has produced American Idol, Americas Got Talent, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Family Feud, The Price is Right, Fear Factor, and most recently, Naked and Afraid. They considered many candidates and ultimately offered the show to Drs Vincent and Schaeffer. He found Dr Vincent from her practice website, and he was impressed that she incorporated so much video on the site (http://myocpodiatrist.com). He did a Skype interview with her, sent the interview to the network, and the rest was history. He then pitched the My Feet Are Killing Me concept to a few channels, and The Learning Channel (TLC) accepted it.
We were concerned that the show only presents podiatry in the best possible way, and so was Dr Vincent. She told us that there was no style coaching at all. They did not compel her to act differently than she usually acts with patients. They told her to be herself. When the video crew is present, they sometimes ask her to repeat a patient instruction or discussion to clarify it. They sometimes asked her to start from the beginning to “retell that story,” but they’ve never coached her on what to say or how to say it. Patients are recruited from both her own practice and from outside locations by the show producers.
We asked Dr Vincent how she thinks being on the show will impact her practice. She feels it is a good way to build her new practice and has, in fact, received several new patients who wanted to see her after viewing the promotional episode. “It’s definitely a good thing,” asserts Dr Vincent.
Dr Vincent is interested in general practice rather than subspecialty work. She takes an entrepreneurial view on practice and has spent time creating her practice website and establishing a growing Instagram presence. Dr Vincent emphasizes that social media is an excellent way to build practice volume and notes this method has been even more successful than door to door marketing techniques employed by many young practitioners. She told us that her online presence is not only as a podiatric physician but includes overall health and wellness as well as some aspects of her family life. “It’s not only about podiatry; it’s about the complete package of patient health.”
When we asked her what she wishes to accomplish with the show, she said that presenting podiatry to the public in a positive light is a major personal goal, on the show and off. “The whole point is to elevate the consciousness of the public about what podiatry can do. I think that’s the plight of podiatry since I first learned about it. No one knows what our education is, or how many years of training we do, or what DPM stands for. Hopefully [the show] does well for our patients to understand what the title is, what the education is, and the scope of our practices are.”
She also wants to showcase podiatric medicine as a practice, balancing risks, and benefits for patients, rather than a black and white prescribed method. Dr Vincent doesn’t want the show to be too gory, but wants to portray what podiatrists are able to contribute to the medical community. “If we just focus on the gross factor, we might as well be The Toe Bro,” she emphasized. Dr Vincent also takes an empathetic approach to the doctor-patient relationship in her off-air practice and wants to continue to portray that aspect on the program, with an emphasis on the patient’s journey through their care.
As far as future professional plans and for the show in the short term, Dr Vincent wants to see the show renewed for a couple more seasons. Since she is new to practice, she is letting things develop in an open manner and will see what comes. As an entrepreneurial person, she hopes to evolve her brand into something to leverage and explore in the future.
We concluded with asking Dr Vincent about her general view of the direction that podiatry should progress in the years ahead. She wants to “market our profession as something vital to the medical field in terms of overall health; market it that we are a surgical specialty as well. I don’t think the ‘stuff’ you get [income and benefits] is a good selling point.” “I didn’t get into medicine thinking, ‘How much money am I going to make.’ My parents said, you want to be in a profession where it fits your personality. You don’t want to say, ‘I want to be a doctor.’ I want to be a person who gives people joy or helps people in pain. If that is as a doctor, great. The title is great, but it’s what you do that’s important.” Finally, she recommends advertising the entrepreneurial part of podiatry with an emphasis on the creative aspects of the field.
In next week’s NewsFlash, we’ll be interviewing the other star of the My Feet Are Killing Me show and contestant on The Rock’s The Titan Games, Brad Schaeffer, DPM of Piscataway, NJ.
Jarrod Shapiro, DPM
PRESENT Practice Perfect Editor