GREENFIELD — Dr. Mieasha Barksdale led the group of children through her new office, a big smile on her face as she answered the questions they enthusiastically asked.
It wasn’t so long ago that she, like them, went on field trips with Boys & Girls Clubs in her home state of Ohio. Her experience with her club gained her national recognition as a teenager and helped put her on the professional path she’s on today.
That path recently led to the opening of her podiatry practice, Foot & Ankle Specialists of Indiana, at 1769 Melody Lane.
Barksdale had been practicing with a group in Indianapolis for the past several years, and she and her family had grown fond of the Indianapolis area.
“About a year or so ago, I really just had this passion to do my own thing, and after reaching out to several people and different entities and really getting a grasp on what that means, I knew it was essentially meant for me,” she said.
A non-compete arrangement prevented her from setting up shop in Marion County, and consultants and mentors recommended she head east.
“After talking to several people, the consensus was Greenfield is the place to go,” Barksdale said. “It’s growing, there’s a hospital down the street, it just made sense.”
She learned from a real estate agent that the area is not saturated with her specialty, further encouraging her decision.
Barksdale graduated from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, in 2007 and from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Independence, Ohio, in 2012, where she received her doctorate of podiatric medicine and graduated in the top 20 in her class.
When deciding to pursue podiatry, she was drawn to the various facets of the field and a physician’s ability to choose which ones to specialize in.
“There are just so many different avenues,” she said, adding the surgical reconstruction part of the discipline interested her the most.
Barksdale performs her surgeries at Hancock Regional Hospital.
Joining her at her new office are three clinical staff and two administrative staff.
As a teenager, Barksdale was the national spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America from 2003 to 2004 after winning a competition to become the organization’s National Youth of the Year. She traveled across the U.S. and to several countries to speak on behalf of the organization. The title also brought her thousands of dollars in college scholarship funds.
She’s grateful for the organization’s presence throughout her childhood.
“Most club kids, when they go to the club, they go after school, have a good time, but later what you really start to realize and understand is that it becomes a family,” Barksdale said. “Having that support system from the Boys & Girls Clubs when maybe you don’t have a good day at home, things aren’t right at school — there were always staff members there who were willing to pick you up, support you, no matter what the circumstance was. Once you initially come through those doors, you’re not thinking that, but then you realize what this caring environment is about and what the purpose is.”
Now that she’s in Greenfield, she wants to help and promote Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County any way she can.
“My goal is to make it known that when people see me, they see them,” she said. “…I just want to make sure that this is something the community recognizes, that this is an entity that supports an organization, and it’s for a good cause, and I am truly an example of what that cause is.”
Chantel Fowler, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County, is glad to have Barksdale in town.
“It’s a new adventure for us too,” she said. “We’re excited to watch her business grow and our partnership grow. I think she has a lot to offer for our club in that aspect.”
Fowler is confident Barksdale will be a source of motivation and encouragement for any local club members who may look to pursue a shot at National Youth of the Year.
“We can tell them so much, but when it comes from someone who’s been there, it’s a little more enticing,” she said.
More information about Foot & Ankle Specialists of Indiana is available at fasindiana.com.