Accomplished podiatrist, PCA board member honored for life’s work
Arthur E. Helfand, DPM, has received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles. This award recognizes his decades of work in the profession of podiatric medicine and the importance of taking care of older patients.
“If you can assess an older patient’s foot problems at an early stage, you can enhance the concept of secondary prevention, provide early care and management, and prevent complications, such as amputation in diabetics, and improve the quality of life for older citizens,” he said. “The importance [of foot health] is keeping seniors living life to the fullest extent possible, and not sitting around waiting for the end of life.”
Beginning his accomplished career in 1957, Helfand worked as a private practice podiatrist in Philadelphia for 45 years. He was also associated with James C. Giuffre Medical Center from 1958 to 1989, where he advanced from staff member to chief of the podiatry department and also served as director of podiatric education.
As an expert in public health and aging, Helfand thrived as a consultant on behalf of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Temple University Children’s Hospital and the Philadelphia VA Hospital’s department of surgery.
When officials at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) began to recognize the importance of foot care to help keep older persons active and in their homes and communities, Helfand worked with them to develop the “Keep Them Walking Program.” Between 1962 and 1965, the program provided information, education, assessment and care to more than 16,000 older adults in Philadelphia.
“The data helped podiatry become included as part of Medicare,” he said. “It also opened podiatry clinics at the city’s health centers and developed an assessment protocol to address older adults’ health needs – both of which are still in place today.”
Helfand has lent his expertise and talents to Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), publisher of Milestones newspaper, for more than 25 years. In 1995, he was appointed to PCA’s Provider Advisory Committee and worked on a renewal of the “Keep Them Walking Program.” Soon after, he also joined PCA’s Board of Directors as a member, then became its treasurer and served as board chair for three years. In 2019, he was elected to Member Emeritus status in honor of his illustrious career and contributions to the field of aging. Recently, he joined the executive ranks as a founding board member of Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Care Connections and now serves as the board’s vice chairman.
He remains committed to PCA’s mission of improving the lives of older Philadelphians and people with disabilities. “PCA has a great and dedicated staff,” Helfand said. “We need to support PCA.”
This is just a snippet of the accomplishments and contributions made throughout Helfand’s many decades of work, which he still continues. “When you retire, you need to retire to something and not from something,” he said. “My transition has been about continuing to promote healthy aging.”