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Pearls From the Medical Dermatology Society Meeting

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On Thursday, March 16th 2023, the Medical Dermatology Society (MDS) held its annual meeting in New Orleans, LA. The MDS is an organization of dermatologists who regularly treat patients with severe systemic diseases which affect the skin. Complex medical dermatology is the term used to describe management of systemic conditions such as cutaneous vasculitides systemic lupus, sarcoidosis, blistering skin diseases, autoimmune connective tissue diseases, and more. Such physicians have a wide breath of knowledge and expertise in dermatology, internal medicine, rheumatology, cardiology, nephrology, and pathology. Multisystem diseases and their required therapies have systemic effects which are managed by a collaboration of various doctors.

This meeting’s learning objectives included sharing evidence-based treatment advances, patient care practices, and safety design principles with the goal of improving scientific knowledge and patient care. The President Elect of the MDS, Dr. Arturo Saavedra expressed his thoughts, “It’s fantastic to bring together those who take great care of patients and those dedicated to mentoring the future of the specialty.” 

During the sessions, Dr. Karolyn Wanat from the Medical College of Wisconsin talked about rubella granulomatosis seen in healthy, non-immunocompromised adults. She shared their medical center’s experience with such cases and invited colleagues to their study which is currently enrolling patients. 

Dr. Caroline Nelson from the Yale School of Medicine shared their work in developing DRESS syndrome criteria. She also went through a case-based approach to navigating the “muddy waters of DRESS treatment”, particularly when there is an atypical presentation, no identifiable trigger, and significant barriers to systemic corticosteroid therapy. 

Dr. Lindy Fox, from the University of California, San Francisco, provided an update from inpatient dermatologists and advocated for the growth of the Society of Dermatology Hospitalists. She shared research showing that training non-dermatologist physicians in the hospital to better diagnose dermatological emergencies leads to more meaningful conversations involving detailed questions about patient care. 

During his talk, Dr. Saavedra shared his personal experience being mobilized to help deliver care to Afghan refugees. Dealing with people who speak very different languages, minors separated from their families, and people with just a pillowcase full of their whole life’s belongings, was a momentous experience and privilege. Pondering on the troubling question of physician burnout, Dr. Saavedra advocated for the impact of volunteerism, not only for those in need, but also for physicians themselves as volunteerism was found to mitigate burnout! This was a very moving idea as he explained that in a field where there is rampant change, one thing has remained the same for decades – our commitment to care for patients. He stated, “No longer can we just care for, but we have to care about patients!” 

This was a powerful sentiment echoed by all the speakers and attendees of the MDS meeting who continue to make tremendous achievements in dermatology. 

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

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