Now he is the founder and medical director at his own practice: Phoenix Foot and Ankle. Yet getting to where he is now took a lot of time and effort.
Twenty three years ago, the landscape in Phoenix medicine was quite different. He was the first podiatrist to get surgical privileges at Good Samaritan Hospital. As a result, he was appointed as the first chief of the section for podiatry in the orthopedic department. His persistence paid off. In addition to his other accomplishments, he was voted Top Doc in Phoenix for several years in a row. It wasn’t for prestige that Dr. Harlan got into medicine, however.
“I started out of college into research, and did pharmacology. I’ve found that my strength is really helping people, interacting with people, and not so much doing the research. So it was a natural bridge to come back in after starting in the research field. It allows me to use those skills to kind of help people and interact with them, and that’s what I like to do.”
Dr. Harlan has made a significant difference in the quality of his patients’ lives. Dr. Harlan recalls a time with one of his patients, a young soccer player at a community college in town.
“He had an injury to his ankle. He dealt with his injury through the majority of the season, but was unable to run and unable to play. Essentially he came to me as a last-ditch effort because he couldn’t play, he was going to lose his scholarship, and he knew that there was something wrong, but everybody kept telling him he was fine. So when we evaluated him, he had a fracture to the back of the ankle that was very obvious on X-Ray, and that was causing his symptoms. So we went ahead and did surgery on him. We took the bone fragment out. And when I saw him again in about two weeks, he cried in my office, and told me that he hadn’t been pain-free since his injury and he thought that he never would be. It was fun to see him do well and return to his activity and the emotion and the gratitude he had was really rewarding for me.”
Dr. Harlan believes that persistence pays off. Part of it he attributes to his athletic background. Going through the process of getting privileges was challenging, but he never wanted to give up because of the results he could give his patients.
Phoenix Foot & Ankle Associates, PC
1701 E Thomas Rd #201, Phoenix, AZ 85016