ECU News Services
Video by Rich Klindworth; photos by Cliff Hollis
Jan. 25, 2017
By Rich KlindworthECU News Services
Walking is the chief mode of travel for
Community Crossroads Center resident Nancy Connor and foot health is important
“I’m on my feet most of the day and I walk
for transportation,” Connor said.
To ensure healthy feet for individuals like
Connor, students with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University recently
partnered with local podiatrist Dr. Amy Pitzer recently to host a Happy Feet
Clinic at Community Crossroads Center (CCC).
“This is how and where we hope to reach
our patients — this is service,” said second-year medical student John Hurley,
one of the organizers of the clinic.
All types of foot ailments were treated
during the event, but the primary goal was to identify complications associated
with diabetes. If not treated properly, a cut on the bottom of the foot could
lead to a difficult-to-treat infection or amputation for someone with diabetes.
According to the Amputee Coalition, 250 adults lose a leg to diabetes every
day, yet 70 percent of those amputations are preventable.
“It’s all about the prevention of ulcers,
which lead to an infection in the bone, which unfortunately leads to a lot of
amputations when it gets to that point,” said second-year medical student
Natalie Broadway-Robertson. “So, we’re trying to catch it early, we’re trying
to educate patients on how to care for their feet.”
“I’d hate to lose my feet because I have to
stay on my feet. I have to take care of my wife and son,” said CCC resident
Frizzell Powell. “To show us that y’all do care makes me want to take more care
The 10 medical students who participated in
the clinic washed the feet of 42 residents while staff from Pitzer’s practice clipped
their toenails. Under the supervision of Pitzer and ECU family physician Dr.
Ricky Watson, the students treated issues ranging from ingrown toenails to
infections. Participants were offered new socks and gently used shoes collected
by the students.
“Collaboration within our community is
essential for the health and well-being of our citizens,” said Bob Williams,
executive director of the CCC. “Whether that collaboration is health care,
housing, emergency assistance, by working together and making resources such as
the Happy Feet Clinic available to everyone, this will improve the health of
folks in our community.”
The students who participated in the clinic
are enrolled in Brody’s Service Learning Distinction Track. This program prepares, encourages and supports medical students who desire
to work domestically and internationally with medically underserved,
marginalized and rural populations.
“We really just wanted to come out in the
community, put the books down and get to work and get to know the population
that we’ll be serving one day,” said second-year medical student Jamie Hunter.
“I’ve never been to a foot doctor or foot clinic,” Connor said. “It
felt great and I really appreciate getting the chance to get some care for my
Crossroads Center residents Frizzell Powell (left) and Nancy Connor get their
feet washed and evaluated by medical students Natalie Broadway-Robertson (left)
and Jamie Hunter during the Happy Feet Clinic.