College of Podiatric Medicine

Message from the Dean

Lawrence Harkless, DPM, Founding Dean

It is with enthusiasm and pride that I welcome you to Western University of Health Sciences, College of Podiatric Medicine (WUCPM).

WUCPM is the most recent college of Podiatric Medicine, having just graduated our second class of students in May 2014.

Podiatric Medicine is an outstanding career opportunity that is often overlooked by pre-medical students, as it is considered an alternative instead of an option. As a podiatric medical practitioner who spent 30 years in an academic health science center, I can say without a doubt that podiatric medicine is an exciting, challenging, and rewarding profession. We are a specialist in the foot and ankle.  We are the dermatologist, neurologist, rheumatologist, and orthopedist of the foot and ankle.

The podiatric foot and ankle specialist is an integral member of the healthcare team, as we are often the practitioner who diagnoses many systemic diseases which initially present with foot manifestations. The foot has been coined the “mirror of systemic disease,” as many diseases such as diabetes, vascular disease, arthritis, neuropathy, cancer, and HIV Aids initially manifest in the foot.

Since beginning work on July 1, 2007 as the Founding Dean, we have successfully built a fully accredited College of Podiatric Medicine with an innovative curriculum, interprofessional education, and research that trains podiatric physicians and surgeons to integrate into the healthcare delivery system as compassionate specialists of the lower extremity.

My reputation as an educator was built on the fact that the student was the most important individual in the residency training program; it has been no different at WUCPM.  Students are our customer.  They are treated professionally, with love and respect, and are mentored from day one.  Our goal as a College is to assure each student’s growth and development with faculty serving as mentors.  Faculty is actively involved in the teaching process in assessing how each student learns.  I am convinced that if our college leads by example and provides appropriate nurturing and motivation in helping students deal with self-esteem and self-confidence issues, they will become informed and inspired, growing their gifts and expanding their capacity both personally and professionally.

If you become a WesternU podiatric medical student, our goal is to ensure that you obtain the appropriate insight and perspective on everything you need to know so that upon graduation, you are prepared to enter any aspect of the healthcare delivery system whether it is public health, academics, research, healthcare leadership, or private practice.

Once again, welcome to Western University of Health Sciences, College of Podiatric Medicine. I look forward to meeting you.


Lawrence B. Harkless, DPM
Founding Dean
Professor of Podiatric Medicine, Surgery & Biomechanics
College of Podiatric Medicine