Yolanda Ragland, D.P.M.
Fix Your Feet, Inc.
New York, NY
Yolanda Ragland entered podiatry by chance. She had planned to become a general practitioner, but as a scientific researcher at the National Institutes of Health, she received an application for podiatry school. A fellow student researcher made all the difference. “She saw me about to throw away the application and intercepted me,” recalls Dr. Ragland, now a podiatric surgeon and chief executive at Fix Your Feet, Inc. “She advised me to fill out the application and submit it, after explaining to me the benefits of becoming a podiatrist. That’s what I call ‘foot fate.’”
She doesn’t regret her decision. “I fancy myself as a real-life foot fairy who possesses the power to transform patients’ lives by transforming their feet!” she says. Podiatry has ardent detractors, however. There’s a common misconception that podiatrists are not real doctors, Dr. Ragland says. “Podiatrists are medical school-trained physicians qualified to deal with a multitude of serious medical conditions such as diabetes, ischemic disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and neuropathy, and they are all trained to perform reconstruction surgery,” she argues.
Dr. Ragland describes her Weill Medical College of Cornell University Certificate of Surgical Training and her New York College of Podiatric Medicine Degree as her greatest honors. She started medical school at the age of 30, but admits “the followthrough was worth the struggle.” She has special praise for African-American women.
“Although my following is broadly women of color, the gender and identity of the people who seek my services grow significantly every year,” she says. “However, Black women are my biggest supporters and I owe my success to them for trusting their feet in my hands.” Dr. Ragland is a member of social change organization MOBB United (Moms of Black Boys United), and enjoys lecturing at the minority organizations at medical colleges and mentoring the next generation.