Pediatric dermatology is a rewarding area of special interest for dermatologists. Overlapping conditions, the need for extra-gentle skin care, patient compliance, and medication adherence all present unique challenges for pediatric dermatologists. In part one of our discussion, Kelly Cordoro, M.D., associate professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the University of California in San Francisco, discusses differentiating diseases and treatment recommendations with Dermatology Times editorial advisor, Elaine Siegfried, M.D.
Elaine Siegfried, M.D.: What inspired your career choice in pediatric dermatology?
Kelly Cordoro, M.D.: My career choice in pediatric dermatology actually came as somewhat of a surprise to me. When I was a dermatology resident at University of Virginia, I really saw my future as a general academic dermatologist who wanted to incorporate kids into my practice. To dive a little bit further into that, as a dermatology resident, I spent a month with Ilona Frieden, M.D., professor of dermatology and pediatrics at UC San Francisco, to expand my knowledge and experience with kids, because we didn’t have a pediatric dermatologist at the University of Virginia. That month actually turned out to change the course of my career in full.
Check out part two of this three part series: Pediatric psoriasis, eczema:Triggers and therapies
I was quite inspired. I returned to UVA and joined the faculty there. Two years later, I moved to San Francisco to do a pediatric dermatology fellowship! I was completely sold. The diseases are fascinating, the scope is broad, the patients are complex, and really the extra challenges of understanding skin disease in the context of rapidly evolving human beings with a different physiology as well as different developmental and psychosocial dynamics at various ages was really intellectually compelling to me. I have been a pediatric dermatologist ever since and I have not left UCSF after my fellowship.
Dr. Siegfried: Can you talk about your career prior to medical school?
Dr. Cordoro: Before I went to medical school, I spent two years as a research associate for Dr. David Skoner, an allergist/immunologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. So I did have a foray into pediatrics and into the research aspects of disease, but I found myself profoundly fascinated with the skin manifestations of all of these asthma patients that were coming into our clinical trials. I knew I wanted to go to medical school and pursue this interest further.
Dr. Siegfried: Is that what inspired your special interest in severe inflammatory skin disease?
Dr. Cordoro: I really don’t have an explanation for my interest in severe disease other than to say that this is the disease group that I was really organically drawn to the most. I feel most excited by and intellectually curious about this group of patients. I think the best way to summarize it is to say that if I could only see one subset of patients for the rest of my career, I would let my clinic fill with psoriasis, pityriasis rubra pilaris, connective tissues disease, graft-versus-host disease, and the like.