Posted November 13, 2007

Temple faculty and Patti LaBelle stress diabetes awareness

Faculty members and students from the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine gave free foot screenings and educational information at a diabetes awareness event, “A New Attitude about Diabetes,” sponsored by Health Partners, a Philadelphia-based medical assistance plan, on Oct. 27. The event featured singer and diabetes spokeswoman Patti LaBelle, who discussed her own battles with the disease.

Dr. Kathya M. Zinszer, associate professor of podiatric medicine and director of community outreach, was on hand to assist with foot screenings, and stressed the need for diabetics to pay special attention to their feet and to get regular screenings by their podiatric physicians.

Patti LaBelle Temple Hospital diabetes awareness
Photo by Jeanne Lockner/

School of Podiatric Medicine
Third year podiatry students Alexis McKeown (far left) and Celia Storey (far right) assisted Kathya Zinszer, D.P.M., associate professor of podiatric medicine (second from left) with a foot screening on Patti LaBelle at the recent diabetes awareness event held at Temple.

While diabetes affects several different parts of the body, Zinszer noted that the feet are most often overlooked, because many diabetics simply don’t think about them.

By not checking the lower extremities, diabetics can leave themselves vulnerable to a host of foot wounds that could stem from cuts and blisters on the foot or even from foreign objects that might be in their shoes. If smaller wounds go unnoticed, they can turn into big problems for diabetics, who may not have normal feeling in their feet.

“It’s important for diabetics to get into the habit of checking their feet and shoes every day,” said Zinszer. “Today, you might have feeling in your feet, but in 10 years, you might not.”

Zinszer added that events like these help to prevent complications of the feet and legs, as they empower diabetic patients through education and awareness about their disease.

“Being part of Temple has allowed me to appreciate the difference it makes to the diabetic patient when we as medical caretakers work together on the Temple T.E.A.M.; which means teaching, empowering, assisting and making a difference, one patient at a time,” Zinser said.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, nearly 21 million Americans, or about 7 percent of the population, have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association reports that five times more women die of diabetes-related complications than from breast cancer in the United States.