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A Worthwhile Medical Conference, Outside of the Tropics

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I don’t usually go to big dermatology conferences, but have been to a few in Hawaii many years ago. I find that I’m more interested in partaking of the sun, fun, and rum (plus other libations) than sitting and listening to lectures all day. Don’t get me wrong; the lectures are usually by not just experts in their field but practicing dermatologists who are engaging speakers. It’s just that my mind can’t seem to focus in such a beautiful setting. So I was not really looking to get much out of the Fall Clinical 2020 series of lectures; the subject matter seemed, on the whole, somewhat pedestrian, and it started at 7:00 in the morning, AND it wasn’t even in a beautiful tropical setting. It was virtual, after all. I had never heard of Fall Clinical until a few months ago, even though they are celebrating their 40th year.

I could not have been more out in left field, and maybe not even in the game. I was pretty much riveted throughout most of the conference. The subject matter was no consequence — the speakers were high energy, earnest, intellectually honest, occasionally humorous, and obviously practicing dermatologists. Because I wasn’t distracted by the beautiful weather outside, or the gorgeous surroundings, I found myself focused on what was being said, and learning and retaining. Cutting-edge information and controversial topics were presented by dermatologists and dermatopathologists on this first day; practical dermatopathology tips for the dermatologists, the newest treatments for acne, new and up-and-coming biologics for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, practice issues related to COVID-19, how to properly use skin and hair care products, technological tools for the office, and JAK inhibitors were just some of the topics covered in detail, and none of it boring or clinically irrelevant. I found myself fascinated by the many advances in dermatology since my early days as a resident almost 40 years ago.

I envy the new dermatologists just coming out of residencies. Now they have a plethora of medications for so many diseases which I and others were frustrated in trying to manage in the past because of lack of any real effective and safe treatments, conditions such as alopecia areata, vitiligo, severe atopic dermatitis, and even psoriasis (40 years ago, we had corticosteroids, tar, anthralin, UVB, methotrexate, and that was about it; oh, and sauna suits).

Kudos for the directors of Fall Clinical: Mark Lebwohl, M.D., James Q. Del Rosso, D.O., Darrell S. Rigel, M.D., M.S., Seemal R. Desai, M.D., April Armstrong, M.D., and Gary Goldenberg, M.D.

They have on their hands an extraordinary conference, one which I must have been asleep for, to have missed it all these years. Fortunately, many dermatologists did not. They have more than 3,000 attendees this year. My advice to you is if you haven’t been to one, don’t miss next year in Las Vegas. And to think it was due to sheltering in place that I was made aware of this conference. 

By the way, they did have virtual entertainment planned for the evenings. And I did get a great recipe for a drink named Fall Clinical 2020 during the intermissions from a well-known bartender in New York City, consisting of Champagne, fresh lemon juice, sliced cucumber, and chamomile infused gin. Fall Clinical knows how to have fun even outside the tropics!

Image by Tasha Art / Shutterstock

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