Consider public speaking

September 1, 2007

All dermatologists possess one important attribute that promises a sure-fire way to increase the size of their practice, according to one dermatologist. It's the ability to volunteer to speak to community, state and national groups.

Worcester, Mass. - All dermatologists possess one important attribute that promises a sure-fire way to increase the size of their practice, according to one dermatologist, and that's the ability to volunteer to speak to community, state and national groups.

"If you're looking to grow your practice, this is a guaranteed way to do it," Mary Maloney, M.D., a dermatologist at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, tells Dermatology Times.

Dr. Maloney, an active veteran volunteer, says there are other good reasons, too, including the fact that dermatologists have an important message to share with the public.

She also stresses the tremendous satisfaction she feels in giving of herself to the community.

"It just feels good to deliver important information, whether it's to high school kids or business leaders," she says. "People need to hear what we have to say. You may go out to the community center and talk to a garden club about sun protection and when you're done, the people are so appreciative," she says. "That's very fulfilling."

Begin journey with single step

Getting started on the speaking circuit is easy, according to Dr. Maloney, especially if you have a connection with a hospital public relations department.

"These are the people who field the calls that come in requesting speakers. PR folks are a great link to getting publicity in the media."

Physicians can make themselves available as sources for reporters or as speakers at community events.

But dermatologists can get started on their own, too. One way is to contact the American Cancer Society and volunteer to be a speaker. This organization gets a huge number of requests from large and small groups for speakers on a variety of topics. On a smaller scale, dermatologists can volunteer at children's soccer or baseball games and speak to the team about sun protection, or contact local churches about giving a 10- to 15- minute talk at a potluck supper.

One huge local venue for speaking is the school system, from preschool through high school. While a background check is the norm these days, once you're in the academic loop, the demand for talks abounds and your messages will be welcomed. Children are never too young to learn about sun protection, and older kids need to hear about the dangers of tanning booths.

At the state level, dermatologists can take their message to their medical societies and legislatures. In these arenas, physicians will find people who are very proactive about legislation - pertaining to such issues as tanning booths, for example - in their states.

At the national level, speaking opportunities also abound. National groups such as the American Academy of Dermatology are always looking for volunteers. Other groups under the dermatology umbrella, such as the Women's Dermatology Society, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the Pediatric Dermatology Society, all sponsor volunteer activities. These groups often are looking for volunteers to speak at fairs, skin cancer screenings nationwide, and special events focused on skin cancer prevention.