History of the College
The Field of Podiatric Medicine is Born
Until 1885, chiropody was a craft. Its craftsmen were men and women who learned from their predecessors that by applying the skill acquired in training, they could alleviate pain and discomfort for those afflicted with minor foot ailments.
In 1905, the New York State legislature awarded chiropodists the right to organize and to determine the fitness of individuals desiring to practice chiropody.
By 1911, the New York School of Chiropody had been created, dedicated to educating and training chiropodists. Dr. Maurice J. Lewi, a physician and educator, then serving as Secretary to the New York State Board of Examiners, was named the first president of the school.
Dr. Lewi, an activist and leader in educational reforms, formulated the first legislation governing the practice of chiropody. Working in concert with a small group of educators, Dr. Lewi then devised curricula and training programs for the first course of study at the school.
He suggested the term chiropody be changed to podiatry as etymologically correct. Subsequently, the term podiatry was adopted by other colleges of podiatric medicine and by the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Podiatric Education Becomes Increasingly Rigorous
The admission requirement for the first class in 1911 was one year of high school education.
Over the years, requirements for entering students changed as the profession grew and demand for podiatric services expanded into specialized foot care and treatment programs requiring knowledge of general medical sciences, orthopedics and surgery. Educational preparation and clinical training programs were developed to meet these requirements.
In 1919, the College was renamed the First Institute of Podiatry.
By 1940, podiatrists had to possess a doctorate in podiatric medicine in order to take the licensing examination (required in New York State).
Today, entering students must have successfully completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college in the United States or abroad and have completed a number of specified science prerequisites.
Basic science prerequisites are important for the student of podiatric medicine in understanding and applying the scientific concepts and skills of the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.
Independence and an Absolute Charter
From 1939 to 1955, the College was known as the Long Island University College of Podiatry. Upon dissolution of this affiliation, the College became an independent not-for-profit institution.
In 1957, it was renamed the M.J. Lewi College of Podiatry, in honor of its founder and first president. In 1969, an absolute charter was granted the trustees of the College by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.
In 1972, the College received its current name, the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.
Located in the City of New York, the College had its first home at 125th Street and rapidly outgrew its quarters. Three successive moves culminated in the erection in 1927 of the present College building dedicated to podiatric medical education and clinical training.
A building grant in 1976 from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare enabled the creation of a separate, new clinical training facility, an expanded, updated library and renovations to the existing College building.
Completed in 1978, the new facility, the Foot Center of New York, provides clinical services to the community and continues to be affiliated with the College. The largest center of its kind, the Foot Center of New York ministers to a wide and diverse patient load in more than 25,000 patient visits annually.
In recent years, NYCPM has expanded into the international educational arena with twice-yearly programs for podologists from Spain; a program at Foot Center of New York for podiatry students from Canada, and an affiliation with their school in Quebec; an externship at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, in Israel; and prominent guest speakers from around the world. The College has also reached out to its surrounding community, offering foot screenings at numerous neighborhood health fairs, as well as at such events as the American Diabetes Association’s annual Diabetes Expo and the Central Harlem Health Revival.
Other College events instituted within the last two decades include the annual White Coat Ceremony for first-year students, held at the New York Academy of Medicine; an annual student-initiated, student-run Residency Fair, featuring representatives from nearly fifty hospitals; free diabetes workshops offered to members of the surrounding community; an annual student-initiated and student-organized inter-podiatric college research fair; an extremely active on-going series of Continuing Medical Education courses and workshops; and a Mini-Fellowship Program for surgical training of podiatry residents in the New York Metro hospitals.
The College has recently completed a series of renovations that have brought its classrooms and labs to the leading edge of medical education technology. A new Anatomy Lab and a new Clinical Skills Lab, as well as fully renovated classrooms, computer rooms, study areas and other College facilities, enable students to work in an environment optimized for learning and for study.
NYCPM is affiliated with a number of leading medical institutions in the New York City area, including the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, Harlem Hospital Center, Lincoln Medical & Mental Health Center, Long Island College Hospital, Metropolitan Hospital Center, Nassau University Medical Center, the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System, and Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation. These affiliations provide additional outstanding educational and clinical opportunities for NYCPM’s students.