Member Spotlight: OHFAMA President Adam Thomas, DPM
Why did you choose a career in podiatry? What led you to this career path?
I knew that I wanted to go into the healthcare field at a very young age. My mother was a nurse, and I was the kid who would pretend to be a doctor, patching up the neighbor kids when we would play outside.
Years later, during pre-medicine in college, I still wasn't sure what field I wanted to pursue. I had a friend who was in his first year of medical school and he knew a podiatrist and suggested I consider looking into it. I knew very little about the field but once I learned more by shadowing a podiatrist in my hometown, I discovered it was a specialty with variety, including aspects of medicine and surgery. It also could allow for more freedom outside of work with potentially less stress and burnout.
How did you get involved in OHFAMA and the Central Academy?
I started attending my first academy meetings back in residency. My director, Dr. Alan Block, was very involved with OPMA and emphasized to the residents the importance of membership and participation in our state organization.
In 2009, my first year out in practice, I attended a Central Academy meeting in the fall. They just so happened to be holding elections for officers that night. I was nominated for the secretary position and continued to serve in ascension eventually to academy president.
I missed my initial academy meeting as secretary, as my first child was born the following day. He just turned 13 this month.
What led you and your wife, Dr. Jennifer Trinidad, to open your own practice?
My wife, Dr. Jennifer Trinidad, and I each worked in separate private practices for 6 and 7 years, respectively. We are both grateful for each of those practices hiring us and all the knowledge we gained from our mentors while we were young physicians early in our careers.
I had somewhat of a long commute each day and was considering a change. Dr. Trinidad, being somewhat more ambitious than me, had an "ah ha" moment one day while speaking with one of her patients and ignited the fire to go out on our own. She dug in, did all the research, and even took after-hours business classes.
The timing was also just right to develop a new practice in our hometown of Hilliard, as there was a lower concentration of podiatry practices in our area of Columbus. We were fortunate to get our first-choice office location with a space that was already set as a medical office. I now have a four-minute commute to work and see my kids off on the bus each day.
What do you love most about podiatry?
What I love most about podiatry is being able to have an impact in patients’ lives using the skills and knowledge I've gained over the years while being able to have a life outside of work. Seeing patients improve in their lives from something I did -- whether it's fixing an ingrown nail, resolving their foot pain, or treating a bad infection and preventing amputations -- it reassures me I made the right decision 20 years earlier.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities facing podiatry and the association?
One of the biggest challenges I think we face as podiatrists is lower reimbursement for the work we do. This includes challenges from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies. One of the biggest opportunities we have to help combat this issue is to stay unified and have strong membership in our state and national organizations which fight on our behalf and keep us informed. This can also be furthered by contributions to our political action committees.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My free time at this stage consists of spending time with my three kids. I'm getting back into the regular exercise momentum I had going before the pandemic. I also enjoy reconnecting with old friends every now and then for a few drinks and catching up, as well as having a few moments of solitude when they come. Jennifer also keeps me busy with our never-ending home renovation projects and backyard farm.
What are three little-known facts about you?
I started playing drums at age four and later became our church drummer growing up. During my college years, however, I played the “devil's music” and was in a rock/blues/funk band before selling my soul to podiatry.
I was more adventurous/careless as a kid and experienced several injuries, with ER trips, including but not limited to, falling out of a tree and breaking my right arm age six, breaking both wrists at age 11 from standing up on a sled and hitting a large rock at the bottom of the hill, and fracturing my right tibia at age 15 in a moped vs Rottweiler incident. None required ORIF though!
Having grown up in southeastern Ohio, I speak fluent hillbilly. This has come in very handy over the years with some of my patient demographics.