The 24th World Congress of Dermatology is an international conference hosted by the International League of Dermatological Societies and takes place in a unique location every four years. The first large-scale international gathering for dermatology began in 1889 in Paris, France. Since then, it has been held 23 times under the auspices of the International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS), which is made up of 180 global dermatological societies. In the past it has been hosted in Vancouver, Seoul, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Tokyo, Mexico City, Washington, Padua-Venice, Stockholm, London, Copenhagen, New York and London.
This year, the meeting was hosted in Milan June 10-15, 2019. The Italian Society of Dermatology (SIDeMaST) served as a co-host to bring Italian hospitality and a warm welcome to one of the world’s largest dermatology congresses to celebrate skin health around the world.
Milan was an excellent choice given its rich heritage, which dates back to when it served as the capital of the Roman Empire. It is known for its gorgeous buildings from the Renaissance and gothic eras, as well as its preservation of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” and the iconic Vitruvian man. Today it serves as a dynamic, industrial city and is an internationally recognized capital for fashion design, arts and sciences.
The highlight of my experience was getting to visit Milan’s Historical Dermatologic Clinic (Clinica Dermatologica), where the 4th Abraham Buschke Lecture, “Dermatology at the Circus,” was held in the amphitheater and given by Carlo Gelmetti, M.D., Ph.D., of the department of pediatric dermatology at Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, University of Milan, Milano, Italy.
There were many historical moulages around the lecture hall and clinic, many of which were hundreds of years old and have been very well preserved behind glass vitrines. I learned that, before photos, lifelike moulages were one of the few ways medical students and residents could visually learn and understand the characteristics of rare dermatological diseases such as leprosy, connective tissue diseases and cutaneous tuberculosis.