Balance is key for physician, wife, ASDS president

November 1, 2005

White Plains, N.Y. -- Rhoda S. Narins, M.D., is doing it all.

White Plains, N.Y. - Rhoda S. Narins, M.D., is doing it all.

Finding dermatology

"I had enough credits to graduate that year and go to medical school the next year. I thought about it for about five minutes, and then I applied that day to NYU and got accepted, contingent upon passing my MCATs," Dr. Narins says.

She was 19 when she started medical school.

Dr. Narins did not choose dermatology; rather, dermatology chose her. She married David (her lifelong sweetheart) at age 20 and became pregnant while in medical school, which caused her to think twice about the demands of the surgical residency for which she had been accepted. A dermatologist and friend of her husband's piqued her interest in dermatology.

She decided to give it a shot, and met with Dr. Rudolph Baer, who in the 1960s was the George Miller MacKee professor and chairman of the New York University department of dermatology. He had already selected his dermatology residents, but agreed to talk with her.

"After one hour, he said that he would take me as a resident," Dr. Narins says. "He took me in, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Serendipity!"

Liposuction, Botox, fillers

In practice since the early 1970s, Dr. Narins has lectured worldwide about the use of tumescent liposuction, botulinum toxin and fillers.

She trained in Paris with Yves Illouz, M.D., and Pierre Fournier, M.D., in liposuction.

"My kids were grown and out of the house by the time I was in my late 30s," she says. "I actually took the liposuction course as a lark - thinking that I'd use it as an excuse to visit Paris. But by the third day of the course, when everybody else was out sightseeing, I was alone with the French physicians, helping them do the surgery, learning as much as I could. I went back several times that year, and brought one of the first liposuction machines in the Europe back to the U.S."

Learning liposuction was a turning point for Dr. Narins. It prompted her to focus on the academic side of dermatology. She had already started the surgery unit for Albert Einstein's dermatology department, and then went back to NYU to teach dermatologic surgery and head the liposuction unit.