The Defender: Jason Hanft, DPM, FACFAS

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Dr. Jason Hanft is the founder and CEO of Defender Operations. Previously he held a role as the Director of the Doctor’s Research Network. Dr. Hanft has numerous international patents and trademarks, has authored 50+ journal publications, and is a Board Certified in the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. 

He is a product of South Miami, Florida, and is a frequent lecturer as well as the past Director of Medical Education at the South Miami Hospital.

The 2024 residency match is fast approaching.

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This is a special 4-week group coaching experience specifically designed to help you identify and present your best self during match interviews. All participants receive an individual coaching session and four group coaching sessions.

The first cohort begins September 17th at 7 pm Eastern, and a second class begins October 10th, at 7pm Eastern.

The cost for either cohort is $475, and American Society of Physician Members receive a special discount.

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Dr. Hanft’s Prescription for Success:
Number 1: Find a coach or mentor. It makes your path much easier.

Number 2: Develop a desire for continuous learning.

Number 3: Try to be receptive.

Number 4: Understand your personal risk tolerance.

Number 5: Be Passionate.

Connect with Dr. Hanft

LinkedIn: Jason Hanft

Notable quotes from Dr. Hanft’s interview:

Those who have the opportunity to mentor shouldn’t take it for granted, because you can have a massive effect on people’s lives, and on the world.

The generation before me paved the way.

There’s no real risk of asking.

In order to invent something new, you have to have that desire to improve or create.

To be a really good surgeon, you have to have a tolerance for risk.

You have to fail for a long time before you find a path forward.

Access the Show Transcript Here


[0:02] Before we get into today’s interview I’ve got a very important message for those of you about to enter the residency match in the spring of 2024. MD Coaches is excited to be offering highlighting your unique value. This is a special four-week group coaching experience specifically designed to help you identify and present your best self during match interviews. All participants receive one individual coaching session and four group coaching sessions. The, first cohort begins Sunday September 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern. A second cohort begins, on Sunday October 10 at 7 p.m. Eastern. Cost is $475. There is a special discount for American Society of Physician Members. So get more details and register on the web at

[1:01] Music.

[1:16] Music.

[1:39] Welcome to the Prescription for Success podcast with your host, Dr. Randy Cook.
Hello everyone and welcome to Prescription for Success. I’m Dr. Randy Cook, your host for the podcast, which is a production of MD Coaches, providing leadership and executive coaching for physicians by physicians.
To overcome burnout, transition your career, develop as a leader or whatever your goal might be, visit MDCoaches on the web at because you’re not in this alone.
And don’t forget that CME credit is available when you listen with us.
Look for CMFI in the show notes to learn how.

[2:17] My guest today is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on management of the many complications associated with the diabetic foot. And his interest in diabetic foot problems has also led to his development as a designer and inventor. So let’s hear my conversation with Dr. Jason Hanft.
Well, I am really happy to be reconnecting with a physician with a parallel interest to mine in the wound care world, Dr. Jason Hamft is with us down in the Miami, Florida area.
Jason, it’s good to be talking with you again and welcome to Prescription for Success.
Thank you for having me, Randy. I appreciate the opportunity.
You have such a fascinating career arc, and we could probably make a three-part or a four-part.

[3:13] Interview here if we wanted to.
We’ll try to be more efficient than that, but Jason, as we always do, I like to begin at the beginning, and I think your beginning has a really unusual twist to it, in that if I’ve heard the story correctly, you started planning your future as a podiatrist maybe in kindergarten.
Far off on that? A little bit. I was nine years old. Well, that’s not far off. So where did the influence come from? So I come from a medical family, three generations of either physicians or nurses in my family. And my mother was working in a community hospital in South Florida, and I had a series of foot and ankle problems, as a lot of young kids do that try to play sports and she introduced me to the local foot and ankle specialist, a podiatrist here in town and.
I was so astonished by his demeanor and what appeared at the time to be encyclopedic knowledge.

[4:18] That I actually asked him if I could stick around. And after the third or fourth time of me asking him, hey, can I stick around? He said, sure. And that arcs into he was actually my first partner.
I’ll be darned. Yeah, it truly is amazing the influence that adults can have on inquisitive young people.
And for me, I saw what he was doing, I saw how he approached it, and it was just that simple inquisitive question, hey, can I? And he was receptive.
I can’t imagine even beginning to approach a physician with that question at that age.
How do you suppose you had the courage to go ahead and do that?
What’s the saying? Ignorance is bliss.
I didn’t know to be afraid.
As an adult, I had way more resistance to interact with people I didn’t know than as a child. So I think it just was pure innocence, to be honest with you.

[5:23] Well let’s talk about how you went about developing that ambition.
And I’m really curious about this.
It appears to me when I look at your CV that you did both your baccalaureate studies and your doctorate studies at the same institution, the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine, is that correct?
Yes, that’s accurate. Now called the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.
So I knew, as you know the background story from working in Dr. Kashuk, Keith Kashuk was his name, working in his office as a young man, having him as a mentor, I knew before I started college that.
I wanted to do what he was doing so i fashion my education process to be what at the time of.
Sixteen or fifteen year old boy thanks is the most expeditious pipeline how to actually.
Get through school the fastest. We weren’t a wealthy family and I needed to pay through pay for school so I figured if I could shorten the timeline we could save money and.

[6:30] At the time a number of the podiatry schools were offering a program now It’s called something like baby docs, Almost all the medical schools have adopted it where you get your bare-bones minimum requirements in undergrad, and then you take your MedCat, get accepted, and you finish your degree while you’re in your first year of medical school. That’s kind of fascinating. Do you, and I don’t want to get too controversial here or to sound contrarian, but do you feel that what we are often told that if you’re going to go into a profession or get a professional degree that is as detailed as practice of medicine, is there or is there not a payoff to having a more liberal arts study during the baccalaureate years? What do you think?
I definitely don’t know the answer to that. I think that it’s so individual.
Everybody approaches their profession, their passion differently.
In my case, I knew that I wanted to get to the medical part as quickly as possible because that’s what interested me.
That was the stuff that gave me electricity and interest. chemistry and another physics class was just a stepping stone.

[7:57] That being said, did I miss out on a lot? Were there a lot of opportunities I didn’t get a chance to experience?
Was I as well-rounded as other students coming into class at the same time? Absolutely not.
But again, I think it’s very, very individual. Everybody has different motivation.
Everybody has different passion.
I felt distracted by things outside the direct path.
And you know when when I was forced I transferred schools chasing scholarships and when I was forced to take a women’s study course.

[8:32] All I could think about was this is getting one semester longer away from my goal. It wasn’t wow this is interesting and How you know how nice I’m the only man in a class of 20 people with women But it was all all I could think about at the time was this is a delay to my end goal, Probably short-sighted, probably not the best well-rounded education, but for me it worked.
Well, clearly it did, and what it says to me, Jason, is that that capacity to be well-rounded, to use a really worn-out phrase, I think the well-roundedness comes from an individual’s own curiosity about what’s going on around them.
Them and if you can’t be engaged and fascinated by what’s going on around you, when you’re taking care of sick people, then you know how are you ever going to be well-rounded. Would you agree with that rather narrow view of things?
So I I not only agree with it. Let me take it one step farther. I think there’s this term called receptiveness.

[9:46] Where you can be engaged in anything whether it’s an interaction with your spouse or a, random interaction at an airport or sitting with a patient in a in a clinic room if you don’t have the ability to, Be receptive to what’s going on. You never get to that well-rounded part And I think every person in in their own time and in their own ability has different, Parameters by which they can be receptive and for me that early education part. I wasn’t receptive, I was purely mission-focused once I achieved my mission my ability to be receptive was.

[10:27] Way more open than some of my colleagues who at the time were just trying to get by.
Yeah, that’s a really interesting way to look at it and a lot of wisdom there, I think.
And I thank you for sharing that with us.
And then my next question was, I think the answer is fairly obvious, but I want to hear you talk about it.
Once you got into that space that you’d been dreaming about for such a long time, being in and around and within the practice of podiatric medicine during your formative years, did you really feel like, man, this is it, I have hit it out of the park?
I felt like a fish in water. I don’t know if it was hitting it out of the park.

[11:12] But the inquisitiveness of wanting to learn and being in an environment where you could learn, I’m not saying it was easy, I’m not saying I didn’t struggle at times, but the environment was so conducive to someone who wanted to learn.
And looking back, even with the struggles, even with all the difficulties, it’s still some of the best time of my life. Yeah, I bet it was.
You know, I hope that just about everybody that goes into any field of medicine feels exactly the same way. It’s very exciting, those years.
So let’s talk about what was next for you. You did a foot and ankle residency at the Larkin General Hospital. Tell us a little bit about that.
So podiatry was different 40 years ago than it is today.
There weren’t enough multi-year surgical residencies for the number of people graduating.
In fact, you could graduate podiatry school and not get a residency.

[12:09] And not be eligible for board certification. So there was really this unworldly level of competition.
I think at the time I came out, my class was 220 some people. There were 12 two-year residencies in the country.
Wow. That ability to get to the next level, to be able to have more opportunity to learn and to perfect your profession, was totally different in the late eighties than it is today but again the same and i’ll call him a mentor doctor cashier keith cashier was instrumental in.
Growing our profession he helped start the barry school of pediatric medicine down here in miami and he opened up.
Four different residency programs training hundreds of students.

[12:59] And I was lucky enough, just, and again, by pure happenstance, that that was the office my mother walked me into at nine years of age.
Wow, that’s quite a story. No, it’s important on two ends.
Number one, those who have the opportunity to mentor shouldn’t take it for granted because you can have a massive effect on people’s lives and on the world.
And for those who are looking for someone to lead or help coach them, take any opportunity you can because you never know.
So Dr. Kashuk was the residency director down here when I graduated and having worked with him for more than 15 years by that point, I rolled into that residency program.
That residency program at the time, the hospital was owned by physicians and it was run by physicians.
So as a podiatrist, being integrated in a healthcare system was what I knew from the start.
There were endocrinologists and vascular surgeons and general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons, every specialty you can imagine, all in this one small community hospital.
So I, not only growing up, but from the day I started my training, my residency training, podiatry was just another part of how you deliver quality care.
Hi, I’m Rhonda Crowe, founder and CEO for MD Coaches.
Here on Rx for Success, we interview a lot of great medical professionals on how they grew their careers.

[14:28] How they overcame challenges, and how they handle day-to-day work.

[14:33] I really hope you’re getting a lot of great information.
But if you’re looking for an answer to a specific problem, management or administration challenge, or if you’re feeling just a bit burnt out, like maybe you chose the wrong career, well, then there’s a faster way to get the help you need. No, it’s not counseling. It’s coaching.
Rx for Success is produced by MD Coaches, a team of physicians who have been where you are.
I know you’re used to going it alone, but you don’t have to. Get the support you need today.
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It sounds to me like what you’re describing as the birth of podiatry as a legitimate specialty right there in South Florida, or was there another nidus here or there elsewhere in the country or was it all in…
So I, we can’t take credit for it. There was a generation before us, those that trained to keep Kashuks of the world, and there were NIDUSs around the country. The first program that I know of was the Kern Hospital Program based out of Michigan. And that was really the first medically integrated, highly technical, true residency program in the country. At At that time, this is when the integration within the true medical system started.
And there were centers in California with Josh Gerberts’ group and then the Kern Hospital in Chicago, typically around the better schools, New York, Philadelphia, and then down here in South Florida.

[17:36] But yeah, so the generation before me paved the way. Florida happened to be quite lucky in that we had a number of the graduates, the first sets of graduates, from those new training facilities who moved down into the same area.

[17:53] And by the way, Alabama, I mean, UAB has a wonderful foot and ankle program with podiatry integrated in it today.
They do. I’m aware of that and became very well acquainted with that during my last decade or so of practice and chronic wound care.
I mean, those were the people that I really, really needed. And thank goodness they were there for me because just a decade earlier that was absent.
So it’s nice when things work out the way things should work out.
Here’s some details about something that really fascinates me about your experience.
I know that you spent.

[18:35] A good bit of time at the Hansen’s Disease Center in Louisiana with, of all people, the famous Dr. Paul Brand. Could you tell us how you got connected with that experience and some of the details of what that was like?
For sure. So this actually started before my residency program. I was in the clinics in Chicago with a clinician named Irving Picture. And on my first day in clinic as a second year student, we saw a gentleman with a diabetic foot ulcer on his big toe.
And Irv was way out of the curve. He had already read some of Paul Brand’s articles and he was in, yeah, 1983 or 4 was using contact casting.
But it wasn’t practical in the clinical setting at the school.
So this gentleman that I saw in my second year actually came to my podiatry school graduation, still with a wound on his big toe.

[19:35] So prior to graduation, I sat with Irv and said, you know, we’re doing something wrong here. We can’t have a chronic wound for as long as it takes to get a medical degree.
There’s something we’re missing.
And he said, why don’t you call Paul Brand? And I said, okay.
And again, here comes this, I don’t know if it was ego or lack thereof, but I literally called the Carville Hanson Center and his wife picked up the phone.

[20:07] And I told her my story and who I was and where I was, and she put him on the phone.
So just like that, here I am talking to a world leader in his field.
And I told him what was going on and what my area of interest was.
And he says, well, when you have a little bit more training, let’s schedule you to come work with us in Louisiana.
I really want to hear some details about that, but it occurs to me that there is a good chance, that some of our audience may have never heard of Paul Brand.
You want to talk just a little bit about what a giant he was in this area of expertise?
So Dr. Brand was the absolute leader in not only the thought process, but the clinical functionality of how to treat wounds in limbs that were insensitive, whether they were caused by leprosy or caused by diabetes or neuropathy of any other type.
Paul studied in India. He wrote.
Litanies of scientific articles before Wound Care even knew what scientific research was.

[21:21] He has two books published, including one that if anybody who’s treating patients with, neuropathy should read is The Gift of Pain. Was he actually one of the ones that that established the fact that the target, of the infectious agent of leprosy was actually nerve tissue and not skin, or was that someone else?
I don’t believe he was one on the infectious side, but I believe he was for sure the lead scientist on the cause of wounds and loss of tissue and limbs and leprosy being repetitive microtrauma as opposed to some vapors or theoretical, that’s really how far back we’re going, right?
That there’s something wrong with these people spiritually, so they lost parts of their body.
No, Paul did all the animal research on that as well. And then when he started to see confluence, with peripheral neuropathy and diabetics and patients with leprosy.

[22:32] Did particular studies on diabetic mice in his own lab, under his own research, out of his own pocket to develop the theories we now consider to be the pillars of wound healing, right?
Total contact, you know, the more surface area you occupy, the less pressure is in any one point.
And if anyone doesn’t believe Dr. Brand’s influence was large, try to think about the last time a decubitus or pressure injury was treated with a donut.
Well, before Dr. Brandt came along, Donuts were the treatment of choice, because.
Nobody identified that by creating a circular aperture you actually increase pressure in certain areas as opposed to total contact Yeah, he was the absolute, bleeding cutting-edge of wound care and Yeah, scientific research and sort of inadvertently, led us into much of what we know about dealing with Complications of diabetes, but again, I’m I apologize for wandering into the science. I’d like to hear you talk a little bit about, Your experience there. What was he like? What was your experience like? How’d you like living in South, Louisiana?

[23:48] So the actual Fellowship occurred after my residency program. So I had already been surgically trained and was a licensed doctor, But Paul and and his facility and I stayed in touch. And in fact, we did some cross, communicating and research, looking at some different infective agents and some treatments. We actually wrote a paper together on prophylactic antibiotic therapy for foot surgery and neuropathic patients. But Paul had always been open and eager to discuss anything about what he was doing with people who showed a passion for it. And that doesn’t just come from me. Everybody I’ve talked to who knew Paul and interacted with him and his wife.
He was just a true mentor. If you had any level of interest, he would find a way to make it happen.
Honestly, I don’t know how he had time in the day to do it, But I don’t know anyone that was.

[24:42] Turned down by Paul. He was welcoming and familiar. He was exquisitely, exquisitely unforgiving once you started working with him. But it wasn’t because he was a mean person. It was because he wanted the science to advance and expected excellence. My experience in Carville itself was otherworldly. The Hansen’s facility, by law, if you are related to a Hansen’s patient, you are allowed to live on the government-funded facility in the house where your family lived until your death. So when they finally closed the facility, they were actually fourth and and fifth generation people, they had to move willingly to another facility.
It’s unimaginable today that you could be ostracized so much for a disease, like folks with leprosy were.
I mean, they were literally sent to the edges of the earth, the swamp of Louisiana, right, where the coolest temperature was about 110 degrees and the lowest humidity was about 100%.
So these were families of people with an infectious disease that were completely ostracized from the world.
And they created their own community.

[26:05] They were caring and kind people. The village of Carville was self-sufficient to a level.
But what really amazed me, both personally and professionally, was Paul and his wife, Margaret’s.

[26:20] Had rubbed off so much on the community that you’d frequently see children fabricating braces and insoles and splints for their family members.
With no medical training other than working with Dr. Brand.
That’s fascinating. So it was a very intense time. It was, otherworldly is the only term I can say because I mean one minute Paul’s talking to me about how much force over how long a time causes too much strain rate.
So skin will break down or won’t break down.
And then there’s a 90 year old gentleman with almost nubs of fingers left, grinding an AFO for his daughter, who has neuropathy.
So, and he’s been grinding AFO since he came to Carville when he was 15, 16 years old.
That’s really astounding.

[27:13] Well, look, let’s, in the interest of time, let’s move things along a little bit.
This is another one of those things that I find rather fascinating.
The next thing, you’re doing a fellowship in trauma and osteomyelitis in Switzerland.
Can you tell us how that event happened? So that’s osteosynthesis.
So again, this comes from that desire for continuous learning.
When I was started as a resident, bone fixation was quite a bit less advanced than we are today.
And the use of any form of hardware was almost frowned upon.
In fact, you would be lucky if you could stabilize fractures with wires and external bracing.
Let alone any internal screws. But one of the, and this again ties into Paul, one of the first patients we saw as a resident was a gentleman who had an acute Charcot with multiple common nuded fractures of his foot, showed up with an infection. We developed a relationship and it turned out he was a medical hardware salesman to the veterinary world. And he was talking about all of these amazing materials, lag screws and headless screws and compression plates.

[28:31] That the vets were using on horses and dogs that had just begun to drip into the orthopedic and podiatry world. So again, wanting to find out more, the AO Institute for Osteosynthesis had just begun a program which they called a fellowship for postdoc candidates to apply, and get to see in Switzerland where you know the the birth of this advanced techniques for how to fixate bone and keep it alive and what happens when you use certain biomaterials.

[29:10] So through this patient I was able to find the connection with Dr. Mueller who was the head of of the AO Society at the time.
And again, there had only been three or four podiatrists ever involved in the fellowship.
As you can imagine, if you have the opportunity to train a trauma fellow or an orthopedic trauma fellow or a foot and ankle doctor, and you only have a few spaces, the bang for the buck is the orthopedic guy.
So I was able to negotiate that I would.
Teach the a group elective foot surgery if they would allow me to be the fellow and once again pretty good deal comes right just this just comes from that the risk benefit ratio was so high there was no real risk of asking and.
I do believe to this day the whole society thinks i’m that crazy podiatrist which which which is fine because it got me the opportunity to get the exposure and the intimate knowledge of the biomaterials and techniques for osteosynthesis. And that exposure.

[30:20] Had a drastic effect on my career and hopefully the residents I’ve trained since then, going all the way back, not just for understanding mechanics and engineering and how it affects things, but the cellular function of bone and soft tissues and understanding that fractures, You know, there’s a lot of stuff that happens between the skin and the bone when you get a fracture and most people look at An x-ray and go. Oh, that’s a this and here’s how we treat it And if you’re really doing osteosynthesis, just like if you’re really doing wound care, You have to consider all of the tissues and all of the organs between the two structures, And what you need to do to return them to normal function as fast as possible, and that’s that’s what I learned in in switzerland and on top of the experience of a, a completely different medical system.
At the time, the German and Swiss surgeons would do elective bunionectomies and the patients would stay in the hospital for three and a half, four weeks after surgery.
In a hospital bed. The complications from bunion surgery were nothing compared to the complications of lying in a hospital bed for four weeks. I can imagine.
But that interaction and the eye-opening experience of how people did it differently around the world and also the fact that as a foot and ankle specialist, as a podiatrist, I got a chance to interact of some of the world-renowned orthopedic.

[31:44] Hardware specialists and surgeons, and since then, I had the opportunity to publish books with them and be considered a peer.
So, that experience was spectacular.

[31:56] So, we’ve talked a lot about your involvement in some really fascinating areas that were really poorly understood up until just recently.
In fact, we’re only beginning to understand some of the things that we’ve been talking about with respect to soft tissue injury and perfusion and oxygen gradients and pressure effect and things of that nature.
It seems to me that that should be enough to keep just about anybody busy, and yet you, in addition to all the other things that you’ve done, have decided to become a designer and an inventor, an innovator.

[32:37] And I’m just going to let you take it from there and tell us about how you began to think about creating devices that would be helpful for some of the very people that you’ve been struggling with.
Well, again, I think that this ability to assess risk and accept it is the first part.
And on top of that, the continuous desire for learning. That doesn’t necessarily mean reading a book or memorizing something.
It’s just that inquisitive nature. How come is why I got to be, I think those are the tenets of an entrepreneur.
And in order to invent something new, you have to have that desire to either improve or create.
And for me, it came from wanting to make myself better and help patients more.
So our current business is Defender, and it’s wholly focused around the diabetic foot world.
But I hold.
Now, I think we’re up over 20 patents at the moment, and to be a really good surgeon.

[33:50] You have to have this tolerance for risk, right? You can’t go into the operating room and be worried about all the possible things that could go wrong, because you’ll never get through the procedure necessary to do the surgery. So I think surgeons specifically, and physicians, even so, who have an inquisitive mind because in order to figure out what’s wrong with a patient, you have to ask a lot of questions. So I think there are a lot of docs who are born inventors or born entrepreneurs that just have a passion for medicine. And like most folks, I have a fairly large ego. And we built a wound center in 1989 here in South Florida.
And we thought we did everything right. We brought in Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, we had multi-specialty, the best docs, the best nurses, the best materials. We thought we were the cat’s pajamas. And we took a look at our data after 20 years of operating and found out that our amputation rates were exactly the same. Actually, they were worse by about 2% 20 years later.
With all the advances, right? I can put a wire in your groin and open an artery in your toe.
I have genetically engineered skin. I can measure pressure down to the nanosecond on the bottom of your foot. But our amputation rates were identical to what they were in the stone ages of wound care.
That’s interesting.

[35:17] And about two months after we had this data result, the CDC published data that showed exactly the same thing, which was the amputation rate in the United States is actually going up in the older population group in spite of all the advances. So Defender came from trying to find out why.
And we spent a lot of money and time. We hired all these fancy firms.
In fact, one, we had to threaten lawsuit to get our money back because after nine months and hundreds of thousands of dollars, they told us the reason why you’re not improving your amputation rates is diabetic patients are non-compliant.
I said, so you’re telling me the diabetic patients today are less compliant than they were 20 years ago?
I don’t think that variables change. Give me my money back.
Really? So what we ended up doing was asking 5,000 patients.

[36:15] We said, hey, why do you think we’re not doing any better and you’re not following our instructions?
And 92% of them, and that’s a fairly high majority, 92% of them told us, I can’t, I am physically unable to do what you asked me to do.
I can’t put my bandages on, I can’t wear the shoes or the boots you’re giving me.
I can’t stay off my foot.
This was heartbreaking to me. I went home, I told my wife, I’m becoming a bartender. I quit.
Because I’m the worst doctor in the world. I’ve never asked anybody, can you do this?
She said, no, you’re not, you’re gonna fix it.
So that’s how we built Defender.
We decided to listen to what the patients told us. Some of the greatest leaders in medicine have said, if you listen to the patients, they will tell you what’s wrong with them.
You bet. But again, it’s this receptiveness, right?

[37:11] How do you know when you’re supposed to listen and on what level?
And sometimes it just has to hit you in the head for 20 years and you have to fail for a long time before you find a pathway forward.
If people don’t believe me about this, the patients told us 92% said, I can’t, 88% said, if someone helps me, The things you’re giving me to use have a social stigma with them.
So, I can’t use them. I go to work and they treat me less whole. I’m not treated like a normal person because of what you’re giving me. It looks like I have a medical condition.
And again, I never imagined if someone told me, look, I’m going to cut your leg off or you have to wear this boot, I wouldn’t wear the boot.
To me, that’s just not a discussion as to what the boot looks like. I want to keep my leg.
Well, evidently, for 80 plus percent of the patients out there, that has a lot of meaning, more so meaning than you threatening to take their leg off.
You bet.

[38:12] And if you don’t believe me, the people listening to this and in your audience, I’d ask them how many of them still have BlackBerrys?
If you want to understand how much design affects our decision-making, the iPhone’s a perfect example.
There wasn’t a whole lot of functional difference in the beginning between an iPhone and a Blackberry.
It was just consumer-driven. It was designed to be more acceptable from a consumer standpoint.

[38:40] And medicine is one of the few fields that is slow to catch on that our patients are a consumer.
It’s very important if you wish to engage them in the care that the products we make for them not only work, not only are biomechanically sound, not only make medical sense, but also satisfy their needs.
Dr. D. David Miller Another thing that stands out to me on that is, you know, we had been asking the same question for a long time.
We had been coming up with therapies and following the course of ulcer healing, and then when the ulcer healed, we declared it over, and then we shut the book on that.
So I’m talking about the way that we actually compile and pay attention to the data.
And what you’ve just pointed out to me is that the big error there is that nobody was, you know, once the ulcer healed, nobody looked at that patient again until they came in with another ulcer.

[39:41] Dr. John Gallagher We didn’t cure the disease. David Armstrong calls it recidivism.
That even brings up, Randy, the question is, once the skin, once the epithelium is closed, is the wound healed?
I think we know the answer to that now, yeah. There’s data available now that says not only is it not healed, but in certain environments, there’s 80 some percent chance the moment they start walking on it, it’s going to reopen.

[40:12] And I think the patients had been telling us that all along. It’s just that we weren’t, getting the message because of where we drew the endpoint until a guy like you came along.

[40:22] Someone being receptive enough like the group out in California or the folks up in San Francisco to say, hey, we need to listen differently. Yeah. That’s what we’re trying to do with Defender.
We’re trying to make products that are easy to use, are socially acceptable from an aesthetic standpoint, and use modern engineering science, material science, to protect feet and heal wounds while still allowing people to go to work and drive a car. Well, now there’s a radical new idea.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be the biochemists and the pathologists that give us the ideas on on how to take care of patients.
Maybe we should ask the people that actually design the things that we encounter in day-to-day life, right?
Well, and that’s what we did at Defender was we hired a designer, Michael DiTullo, who was a, not only, I mean, he worked at Nike and ran Converse and was a designer for footwear, but he is also an industrial designer.
I’m sure in your house, you have something he designed. I mean, things like a Vitamix blender or Bose ear pods, he’s a true industrial designer.
Well, bringing an industrial designer into a medical device company.
Once again, and I love that when this happens, the folks in our company said, why would you do that?

[41:47] Hire an engineer, people in your own company, right? Right.
I said, hire an engineer. He gets the same thing done.
I said, well, but the patients are telling us their utilization depends on how it looks.
You We know the engineering. We know the math and the mechanics. Let’s have someone who knows how people make decisions. And if you don’t think design affects your decisions, take a look at the car you drive. Take a look at the shirt you put on this morning.
Everything we do is affected by design. So true, so true. So this has been a very a very successful product for you, Foot Defender.

[42:26] I guess it was aimed primarily at healing and maintaining healing in diabetic foot alters.
And does it have other applications or is that pretty much it?
So yeah, it’s focused on that area. Number one, it’s our passion as a company.
Number two, the risks are fairly large if you don’t heal these wounds, right?
You know, the incidence of infection and amputation is through the roof.
So, but the mechanics that go into devices that take force off the bottom of the foot and limit ankle motion also work for things like fractures, trauma, anything where you need to limit abnormal force across the ankle and foot joint.
And we see the Foot Defender not only as our flagship, but sort of our F1 product, right?
So like a F1 race car has all the super high tech stuff in it that eventually trickles down into the Ford Expedition I drive on a daily basis, right?
Now ABS brakes.

[43:25] So there are new materials in the foot defender that we invented for force attenuation that are gonna carry on down to insoles that you can wear in your shoes and friction reducing materials and all sorts of products that we are developing so that the at-risk foot or the painful foot, can be protected every step. It’s a fascinating story, and I really appreciate you being here to talk about it with us.
I’ve enjoyed hearing about it.
There are so many other details, and I will mention to our audience that Dr. Hamft can, be found on YouTube and lots of other places talking about this topic if you want to chase it down some.
But my goodness, what a fascinating story and I really am grateful that you took the time to come and speak with us today, Jason.
That said, at this point, what I think I’d like to do is what we always come here for and that is to give you an opportunity to speak to the audience on your own and keep me out of the picture.
So audience, I’m going to close my mic at this point and Dr. Jason Hanft is going to share his personal prescriptions for success.
Randy, thank you for the opportunity. I think that the prescription for success is driven by the ability to find a partner or a mentor.

[44:52] If you can find someone who has done what you want to do, it makes your path much easier and it gives you the opportunity to think outside the box.
So either a coach or a mentor in your space.

[45:05] Second to that, the desire for continuous learning. Even at my age, I am constantly excited by learning new things and experiencing new opportunities. We frequently get so focused on being technicians or specialists that we close ourselves off to stimulation and important things in the world around us.
So, continuous learning would be number two, and I don’t know if it’s number two or number three, but trying to be receptive.
When you put things out in the world, you would be really surprised at how often what you think can’t happen does.
I watch my kids and I watch other people’s kids, and until they’re teenagers, they are willing to try just about anything, and they are willing to listen to just about anything.
So this sort of receptiveness of a child, if you can focus your thoughts and allow yourself to be open to what’s around you, you can frequently create really unique and interesting things.
I also think that in order to be truly uniquely successful, you have to understand your personal risk tolerance.
And risk tolerance doesn’t mean I’m afraid of the dark. What it means is understanding what your limits are personally.

[46:32] And I’m not really that introspective, but from a, from a young age, I knew that I had very little fear of.
Almost nothing not much bothered me and i think we age and we get more conservative with our tolerance of risk and being able to analyze what real risk is i don’t want to do that because i could lose money.

[46:56] Really if you’re a quality person doing quality work by making a small change are you going to lose money or you just gonna find another avenue with which to generate money.
So, this tolerance of risk with continuous learning and receptiveness, I think are the true stepping stones to success.
And the one thing that everyone I’ve been lucky enough to have as a mentor, and it’s.

[47:22] Whether it was Paul Brand or Keith Kashuk or Irving Picture or some of my newer mentors like Richard Maxwell, who was able to take human antibiotics and use them in the arbor world to save trees and feed people, is be passionate.
Find an avenue that truly gives you energy and excitement.
And if you’re not truly excited about it, move on.
Find another thing that gives you passion. And that combination should be a fairly accurate prescription for success.
Well, Jason, I want to thank you very much for being with us and sharing your conversation with us and also sharing your prescriptions. There’s a lot of wisdom there.
And before we say goodbye to you, Jason, I want to give you an opportunity to tell our audience where they might be able to find you or look for you, whether it be email addresses, websites, or whatever you have to share.
So you can find the Defender story at

[48:27] You can find me on LinkedIn under my name, Jason Hamft, H-A-N-F-T.
Or you can also email me at jhamft at
Dr. Jason Hamft, it’s been just a terrific pleasure speaking with you today.
Thank you so much for being on Prescription for Success.
Thank you, Randy, for the opportunity. I enjoyed this.

[48:51] Thank you so much for listening today. If you enjoyed the show, you can help us reach more listeners by leaving a rating and a review, especially on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
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And remember, be sure to fill your prescription for success with my next episode.

[49:45] Music.