40 years a podiatrist: celebrating dr. richard ehle
CPMA has served the podiatrists of Connecticut since 1910. That’s 110 years! And for more than 40 of those years, we’ve enjoyed the active participation of Dr. Richard Ehle.
Dr. Ehle recently became a Life Member of CPMA/APMA. It’s not an easy feat. The requirements include membership for 20 consecutive years or 30 years in total. That’s devotion to our community and shared history!
To celebrate Ehle’s lifetime achievement, we’re sharing a glimpse into his career, his memories, and his take on the past, present, and future of podiatry in Connecticut.
Getting Started in Podiatry
Despite finishing his undergrad in 1973 with a degree in marine biology, Dr. Ehle had found himself drawn to podiatry. Since his uncle and cousin were podiatrists, Dr. Ehle was always exposed to the field and saw how it helped patients and fostered relationships. He was accepted into the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine, and the rest was history.
Dr. Ehle started practicing in Bristol in 1983 when he opened Burlington Podiatry Associates. The practice merged with three others to form Connecticut Foot Care Centers in 1998.
A Career of Fond Memories
Ehle’s recounted many fond memories of improving lives, connecting with patients, and developing strong relationships. One of his favorite moments was when an appreciative patient had his daughter draw a caricature of him. He displayed it in his office for years.
Even more than their gratitude, Dr. Ehle is thankful for the opportunity to impact patients’ lives. The only thing better than getting to know every person who walked through his practice’s doors was helping improve their health:
“As a podiatrist, your actions can save a foot and help a patient keep walking. It was always gratifying to provide that kind of service.”
A Look Back at Podiatry
When Dr. Ehle thinks of his career and podiatry in general, he sees much rapid change. There are many advancements that modern patients and professionals take for granted. Back when his uncle was practicing, legislation was required to allow podiatrists to write for prescriptions. Now, podiatrists regularly perform ankle fusions, joint replacements, and many other now-standard procedures.
Modern podiatrists can speak to these privileges and advancements because of the doctors that came before them, especially those who lobbied for more rights and strove to develop newer, safer, more effective techniques. Dr. Ehle believes that this passion and effort will continue to push forward podiatry as the next generation takes up the mantle.
CPMA: A Lifetime Member’s View
Dr. Ehle has been a proud member of CPMA since 1981. He joined right after residency and was surprised by the variety of benefits that came with a membership. The senior members provided a support network and a source of knowledge that went beyond what podiatrists learned in school:
“Training doesn’t show you how to run a practice. You have to figure that out along the way – CPMA helps improve this process. You can talk to older doctors who share their experience and give advice on how you can get ahead.”
What he appreciated most about his membership was the continuing education opportunities. He was always able to fulfill his CMEs because CPMA brought together lessons on a variety of subjects into one place – practice management strategies, medical news, surgical techniques, and more. The advent of cadaver labs gives us the opportunity to obtain hands on training in newer techniques and instrumentation.
Dr. Ehle noticed one consistency during his lifetime membership, and that was change. As podiatry grew and new techniques were developed, CPMA evolved to reflect them. It always provided him and his peers with the most up to date information and access to technologies that they wouldn’t have been able to get on their own.
Advice for the Next Generation of Podiatrists
Like his CPMA peers before him, Dr. Ehle wants to pass along some advice to his younger compatriots joining the field of podiatry:
“Do your best. Treat people the way you wanted to be treated because the good you put out into the world comes back to you.”
Love What You’re Doing
He always found that, “if you don’t have fun with what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong.” Afterall, podiatry is based on providing the best for patients. Treating one another with the utmost of care fosters healthy relationships where everyone thrives, and this shouldn’t be a solo endeavor. Throughout it all, there is no other career that could have provided the great experiences that were enjoyed during these years of practice.
Pick the Right Staff
A podiatrist’s staff is the backbone of the practice. It’s crucial to hire passionate assistants who genuinely want to help patients, and then provide them with an environment where they can grow and become the best version of themselves.
Burnout Is Personal
During his time in practice, Dr. Ehle experienced and saw many of his peers deal with stress and exhaustion. He notes that burnout is personal and differs between podiatrists. Some professionals need to end their career early while others continue practicing late into their 70s.
The best advice he can give is for physicians to find what works for them. Whether it’s music, reading for pleasure, or going for a run, it’s important to listen to yourself and rest when your body requests it.
CPMA – Continue the Tradition
We’re proud of each and every member, but especially love to see new lifetime memberships at CPMA. They represent the professionals so devoted to podiatry and their peers that they give so much of their time to shape our field of medicine for the next generation.
Whether you need guidance in starting your own practice or if you’re looking to share your experience with new podiatrists, a CPMA membership is beneficial for everyone. It’s easy to learn about the benefits or become a member, just click here.