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Celebrating Women in Dermatology

Dermatology TimesDermatology Times, March 2024 (Vol. 45. No. 03)
Volume 45
Issue 03

Today is International Women's Day. Dermatology Times spoke with 5 women clinicians in the field to discuss the influences and advice that brought them to where they are today.

March is Women’s History Month in the US, and March 8 is recognized globally as International Women’s Day. In 1970, less than 8% of physicians in the US were women. As of 2016, approximately 75% of higher-specialty trainees in dermatology in the United Kingdom were women.Now women make up a significant percentage of the specialty, with a 2019 study finding that women make up 61% of individuals in dermatology residency.2 Today and every day, Dermatology Times celebrates the strides and contributions of women in the dermatology specialty. We thank our network of women in dermatology who share their insights and research in an effort to advance care and improve patient lives.

Women In Dermatology

What does it mean to you to be a woman in dermatology?

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in dermatology?

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to pursue dermatology?

Being a woman in dermatology is leading by example for all inspired women that you can have it all. You can be a successful dermatologist, parent, spouse, friend, and colleague. All you need is to learn to ask for help, find a mentor, create balance, and live your dream.

I have had many mentors in my road to dermatology. This first was Dr Mervyn Elgart, chief of the dermatology program at George Washington University, who inspired me to pursue dermatology in the first place while I was a medical student, followed by Dr Ted Rosen, who believed in me and made me believe in myself as a resident at Baylor College of Medicine working on multiple publications under his tutelage as well.

The advice I give young women aspiring to pursue dermatology is the same advice I give to my daughter. If you have passion for something, give it your all. Find a mentor, never give up, and enjoy every day. Dermatology is a field that can be tailored to each individual (surgical, pediatric, medical, aesthetic, research). You can have it all and enjoy every day.

I have been able to apply a feminine perspective that has been particularly useful during the explosive growth in cosmetic dermatology given that the majority of patients have traditionally been female.

I was fortunate to have been exposed to excellent dermatologists as a medical student at Duke University, including Dr Sheldon Pinnell, then chairman of the Department of Dermatology and founder of SkinCeuticals, who took me under his wing and provided me with the opportunity to conduct research in his lab, identified scholarship opportunities, and supported my application to dermatology residency programs. Dr Elise Olsen was also influential as a role model and mentor.

Identify a mentor in the field who you admire and would like to emulate. Spend time with or interview this mentor to determine whether the career path is one that aligns with your own personal and professional goals.

Being a woman in dermatology represents leadership and confidence with continued mental, emotional, and educational growth. We are breaking barriers while balancing family life, making a difference, and paying it forward with the wisdom we have.

The beauty of changing someone’s quality of life with compassion.

Follow your path by creating and establishing yourself. Surround yourself with those who inspire you and strive to make a difference.

Being a woman in dermatology allows me to be at the forefront of innovation for health care as it pertains to cutaneous medicine. I enjoy contributing to research and innovation in the field, especially pediatric dermatology (my subspecialty), by exploring new treatments and technologies. I also feel empowered to serve as a role model and mentor for aspiring dermatologists, especially young women interested in pursuing careers in medicine.

I was inspired to pursue a career in dermatology by my amazing mentors, Dr Lawrence Eichenfield, Dr Sheila Friedlander, and Dr Richard Gallo. Initially, I was very interested in immunology and genetic research as a MD/PhD student, and my mentors encouraged me to consider dermatology as a career path so that I could incorporate my clinical and research interests.

I would advise young women aspiring to pursue dermatology to seek good mentors and continue pursuing their passion.

As a woman I believe that mentorship should be a nonnegotiable constant in our profession. Each one of us had others lift us up so we, too, should always extend our hands, reaching out to do the same.

The range of ages, diseases, and professional opportunities inspired me to pursue dermatology. Dr Jean Bolognia inspired me to do more, outside the office, by getting involved in the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS). The WDS showed me the value of mentorship, deep professional friendships, and service within our communities.

Keep your head up and don’t look back unless it is to help someone else along.

It’s extremely important to me to be a woman in dermatology. Women are still very under-represented in medicine, especially dermatology. As past president of AOCD and 1 of 5 women in 64 years, owner of a dermatology practice in New York City, instructor in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital, and a member of several speaker bureaus, I try to advocate for more women in medicine, dermatology, and leadership.

I was inspired to become a dermatologist because of all the diversity it affords. General dermatology manages skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis; surgical dermatology, treating skin cancers with skin surgeries; and cosmetic dermatology, enhancing skin aesthetics with cosmetic procedures.

Do it! Don’t give up on your dreams. Everything you wish is possible.


  1. Verschoore M, Sarkar R, Gupta M. Women leadership in dermatology: moving towards gender equality. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2022;13(1):3-9. doi:10.4103/idoj.idoj_652_21
  2. Murphy B. These physician specialties have the biggest gender imbalances. American Medical Association. January 9, 2023. Accessed February 2024. https://www.ama-assn.org/medical-students/specialty-profiles/these-physician-specialties-have-biggest-gender-imbalances
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