Podiatrist Recalls Early Days as Navy Field Medic for Marines
When you are a field medic with an infantry combat Marine unit, you see a lot of bad feet. Just ask NorthBay Healthcare podiatrist Kevin Miller, D.P.M., who served his country as a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman with the Fleet Marine Force, First Marine Division.
During his service, which stretched from 1992 to 1998, Dr. Miller was deployed to the Middle East twice. “It meant going to Africa during the Somali conflict,” he said. At the age of 24, he was trained and working alongside military doctors on all manner of health issues.
“I saw a lot of foot and ankle injuries among the Marines,” he said. “I saw a lot of muscular, skeletal and ligament issues like fractured ankles and feet, chronic repetitive injuries and skin problems from poor foot care. I saw it all daily and it was something that I wanted to help with.”
And he met a podiatrist who inspired him. “I had not really thought of that line of medicine until I saw it in action,” he said. “Caring for injured Marines, helping them get back on their feet made me feel good.”
As a corpsman, he also experienced a continuity of care with his military patients. “I saw my Marines full circle with their injuries. I was able to help from the time they got hurt, through their hospital stay and physical therapy before they were sent back to the field,” he said. “We would see a young Marine injured in a helicopter accident and it was heartbreaking. Helping to get them out to keep fighting was important to me.”
After his military service, he went through undergraduate and medical school earning his degree at California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland. He completed his residency at St. Mary’s Medical Center, San Francisco and went into private practice and academia. He landed in the Fairfield and Vacaville area in 2010, and taught at Samuel Merritt, but he had his eye on NorthBay Healthcare.
“In 2012, I said to NorthBay’s recruiter, ‘You should hire me,’ and she said, ‘We’ve never had a podiatrist before,’ ” he recalled. “And then I got the call from NorthBay and came here (in 2016). It’s the best decision I ever made.”
The need for his specialty continues to grow, he noted. “Everyone has feet and ankles, and they are a priority for our active lifestyles,” he said. “Being active is important in the management of a lot of health problems. My focus is to keep people up and moving.”
As his practice has grown, so have the treatment options. He is now part of the NorthBay Joint Replacement Program, doing ankle replacements and is part of NorthBay’s new Sports Medicine focus.
The lessons he learned in the military remain at the core of what he does. “It’s that honor, courage and commitment to duty promise I made,” he said. “I have that same sense of service to my patients.”
Everything You Need, Available Under One Roof
NorthBay Center for Orthopedics includes a host of talented specialists who are among the finest in their field in the Bay Area, including experts who first developed their skills through years of military service. They provide a full range of care for ortho- pedic conditions using a variety of surgical and non-surgical therapies.
The new NorthBay Center for Orthopedics and Rehabilitation opened in March at 2500 Hilborn Road in Fairfield and provides patients with access to their orthopedic specialists, X-ray services and rehabilitation team, all under one roof. For more information, call (707) 646-5599.