Kent Olsen and Peter Kemp are pursuing careers in podiatry, the medical treatment of conditions of the foot and ankle, and volunteer their time at these volunteer foot clinics. Interacting with individuals at the emergency shelter, who often have discomfort in their feet, has proven a valuable and fulfilling experience.
“That moment of relief that I can provide for someone with previous foot pain, that’s why I want to be a podiatrist,” said Olsen, who has been running the foot clinic for the past two years.
Although these students are not yet podiatrists and can perform only routine cleansing of the feet, not diagnoses, they still enjoy providing this temporary relief for the shelter residents.
Residents are limited to a 30-day stay, said Allen Bloodworth, emergency shelter coordinator. The shelter includes 19 beds for men, nine for women, and three family rooms. Through this resource, individuals in need of temporary housing are provided for.
Many of the shelter’s residents lack quality footwear needed to maintain healthy feet; the foot clinic includes a basic overview of foot discomfort, ankle rotations, and a check for abnormalities. Members of the shelter soak their feet in a warm, jet-filled foot bath for about 10 minutes, and Olsen and Kemp follow up with tips for general foot health. Each individual is also given a new pair of socks.
Olsen and Kemp are current members of the Rural Health Scholars Program available at Southern Utah University, Dixie State University, and Snow College. This program assists students in becoming successful applicants to medical, podiatry, dental, pharmacy, and other graduate-level health professions programs. Student applications are strengthened through a regimen of classes, seminars, community service, job shadowing, research and advisement.
For more information about the Utah Center for Rural Health programs, contact Karen Ganss at (435) 865-8573 or visit www.suu.edu/ahec.
Iron County Care and Share emergency shelter provides homeless individuals with a safe place to live and houses about 400 individuals per year. The shelter is open all year and volunteers are always needed. More information on the emergency shelter can be found at www.careandshare-ut.org.