Dermatology Times announces the winners of its inaugural Giants of Dermatology awards, with six recipients being recognized this year for their contributions to the field of dermatology.
This prestigious honor celebrates the achievements of the visionaries who have devoted their time, talent and resources to improving care for the millions of patients and their families affected by skin conditions and diseases. Their discoveries have propelled the field forward and established the building blocks for future breakthroughs.
But their impact goes beyond their “firsts.” These “giants” are also thought leaders whose lifelong work continually improves the treatment and quality of life for their patients. They share a passion to teach, lecture and mentor, inspiring the thousands of dermatologists currently in practice today and those who will be part of this field going forward.
Selection starts with an international peer-to- peer nomination program. The distinguished Advisory Board who vetted the 2020 nominations includes:
Board members selected the honorees who had contributed most significantly to the advancement of the practice of dermatology based on these criteria: excellence in education and training; technology and product innovation; research and discovery; dermatologic surgery and humanitarianism and leadership.
Although COVID-19 protocols made it impossible to come together to honor these outstanding physicians in person, a virtual gala held online this month and supported by Almirall showcased this year’s winners.
R. Rox Anderson, MD
Dr. Anderson, recognized for his research, has advanced the basic knowledge of human skin photobiology, drug photosensitization mechanisms, tissue optics and laser-tissue interactions. He conceived and developed many of the non-scarring laser treatments now widely used in medical care. These include treatments for birthmarks, microvascular and pigmented lesions, tattoos and permanent hair removal.
Notably, Dr. Anderson coinvented the fractional laser treatment, which is useful for improving burn scars, and recently invented and developed new devices for wound grafting without scarring.
Additionally, he has contributed to treatments for vocal cords, kidney stones, glaucoma, photodynamic therapy for skin cancer and acne, optical diagnostics and selective fat removal by tissue cooling.
“I’m thrilled to be honored in this way. I think of these awards as a chance, not so much for old guys like me to strut around, but to really motivate young people,” says Dr. Anderson in an interview you can find online at Dermatologytimes.com. “I’ve always just tried to help people and what a thrill to have an award like this as a consequence of basically just doing my job.”
He adds, “I really think this is an award to many people. It’s got my name on it, but really it’s an award that says we were successful in actually making a difference in dermatology, which is the bottom line.”
Dr. Anderson’s current research includes diagnostic tissue imaging and spectroscopy, photodynamic therapy, mechanisms of selective laser-tissue interactions, adipose tissue biology and novel therapies for skin disorders.
To date, he has been awarded more than 80 national and international patents and has co-authored over 250 scientific books and papers. Most recently, he received the William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine and is being inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.
When asked about what the future of dermatology looks like, Dr. Anderson says the possibilities are endless.
“The future of the dermatology industry is going to go wherever it wants to go, wherever it needs to go. I think there are some predictable influencers. Now, we are in the midst of a pandemic where a lot of us are providing teledermatology and telemedicine. That’s not just a temporary shift,” says Dr. Anderson.
He adds that the dermatology industry will see more personalized virtual medical contact, including technology to aid in virtual skin checks and having ancillary exam tools be part of a virtual visit. Also, Dr. Anderson sees a rise in the world of lasers including further development of drug delivery through lasers.
“I guess, pun intended, one of the barriers in dermatology is stratum corneum, and the ability to get large molecules into the skin quickly and painlessly at known concentrations without a needle. I think that’s in our hands as well and that’s going to change things,” he says.
Wilma F. Bergfeld, MD, FAAD, FACP
Dr. Bergfeld has a passion for dermatology, for teaching others about dermatology and for her patients, whom she prioritizes at her practice.
In 1992, she was the first women elected as president of the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD), where she focused her efforts on environmental dermatology and communication with the public and members.
“I’ve been in practice for over 55 years now and to be recognized at this time is wonderful,” says Dr. Bergfeld. “I’ve given my heart and soul to dermatology and teaching, and I’ve been very active nationally and internationally. So, to be recognized at this time, at this part of my career, I’m delighted and humbled.”
Since 1977, she has been a member and the chair (since 1990) of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, which determines the safety of cosmetic ingredients. She holds an honorary membership in the AAD, Women’s Dermatologic Society, Cleveland Dermatological Society, Ohio Dermatological Association, Pacific Dermatologic Association, Canadian Dermatology Association and the Italian Society of Dermatology.
Dr. Bergfeld is the author of more than 700 publications, including four books, 83 book chapters, and 228 posters. She has served on many journal editorial boards and has been a reviewer in both of her professional fields of clinical dermatology and dermatopathology.
She is the recipient of the Women’s Dermatologic Society Rose Hirschler Award honoring an outstanding physician who has contributed to medicine and dermatology while enhancing the role of women in the dermatology field. In 2000, she was the first recipient of the Wilma Bergfeld, MD Visionary & Leadership Award, also given by the Women’s Dermatologic Society.
Dr. Bergfeld has also received countless accolades and has been cited in Best Doctors in America, Top Doctors, Top Pathologist, Best Doctors in Ohio/Cleveland and numerous Who’s Who publications.
Jean L. Bolognia, MD
Dr. Bolognia is professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. Her key areas of interest include caring for patients who have atypical nevi and melanoma. She has served as president of the Medical Dermatology Society, the Women’s Dermatologic Society and the AAD. In addition, she has served as vice-president of the Society for Investigative Dermatology, the American Board of Dermatology and the International Society of Dermatology.
Additionally, Dr. Bolognia has been elected to serve on the board of directors of the AAD and the International League of Dermatological Societies, where she has also served as secretary-general.
“I was actually very surprised when I learned of my receiving this honor. I really didn’t expect it. I’m not sure who nominated me, but I’d like to thank him or her. I’d also like to thank my colleagues on the board of directors for selecting me as a finalist,” says Dr. Bolognia.
She is the senior editor of the comprehensive textbook Dermatology, now in its fourth edition, and Dermatology Essentials, now in its second edition. These textbooks have been translated into eight languages. Dr. Bolognia has delivered more than 60 named lectures, and her previous awards include the Gold Medal from the AAD, the Legacy Award from the Women’s Dermatologic Society, the Lifetime Career Educator Award from the Dermatology Foundation and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Medical Dermatology Society.
“I think this award reflects recognition by my peers of my decades of work trying to enhance the knowledge of my fellow dermatologists via the comprehensive textbook Dermatology, and the handbook Dermatology Essentials... I think the award also recognizes the hundreds of lectures I’ve given over the years. So, I want to give a big thanks to everyone involved,” she says.
Henry W. Lim, MD
Dr. Lim is the former chair of the Department of Dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Mich.. He received his doctor of medicine degree (cum laude) from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, New York, and completed his dermatology residency at New York University School of Medicine in New York.
He has previously served as president of the AAD, American Board of Dermatology, American Dermatological Association, American Society for Photobiology, International Union of Photobiology and National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. He is a board member of the International League of Dermatological Societies.
“I practice [dermatology] because I enjoy it. And I do it mainly because I feel I can make a difference for my patients, educate and mentor the next generation of dermatologists, and contribute to our specialty,” says Dr. Lim.
Some of Dr. Lim’s work includes more than 500 articles, edited nine textbooks, and served on the editorial boards of several journals. He is a recognized world authority on photodermatology.
He has been the recipient of the Fred W. Whitehouse Distinguished Career Award of the Henry Ford Medical Group, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology International Scientific Achievement Award, the International League of Dermatological Societies Certificate of Appreciation for International Leadership, the Finsen Medal from the International Union of Photobiology and the Alumni Achievement Award for Distinguished Service to American Medicine from the College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate.
Dr. Lim predicts the future of dermatology will be “extremely bright.”
“We know significantly more about the pathophysiology of the diseases which translates to better treatment, so I’m very optimistic that this field will continue to move forward scientifically and clinically. Most importantly, we will be able to help our patients even better than what we can do now,” Dr. Lim says.
Alan Menter, MD
Dr. Menter has a long-held interest in psoriasis and psoriatic disease research that has spanned everything from ultraviolet phototherapy and new biologic therapy to the mapping of genetic patterns to predict whether a person is at risk of developing psoriasis pharmacogenomics.
“I arrived here from England in 1975, so I’ve been here now for 45 years,” says Dr. Menter. I’ve created an international psoriasis council that I work with around the world and I do a lot of talks and studies and research, so I’ve gotten to know a lot of people, but I was truly honestly, very surprised that I was given this award and I’m very honored to receive it.”
In 2004, Menter helped found the International Psoriasis Council to raise international awareness of psoriasis as a serious autoimmune disease that can significantly impact quality of life.
In 1992, he was appointed chairman of the Division of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and still holds that position. In 2007, he was appointed director of the Baylor Research Center and in 2010, program director of the Dermatology Residency Program at Baylor University Medical Center.
His resume lists some 426 articles, six books and 21 book chapters, and he serves as a member of the editorial board for several medical journals, including the Journal of Clinical Dermatology and Clinical and Experimental Dermatology.
Dr. Menter has been listed in Best Doctors in America since 1994 and in Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare since 1996.
In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Psoriasis Foundation, and in March 2015, he received the Dermatology Foundation annual Clark W. Finnerud Award at the AAD 73rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.
Looking toward the future, Dr. Menter says the COVID-19 virus has played a significant role in shaping the outlook for dermatology. He cites the increased usage of teledermatology as a factor in the industry’s future. He adds, “I do believe teledermatology will continue to play a role, which it did not play previously.”
Jouni Uitto, MD, PhD
Dr, Uitto has been internationally recognized for his sustained and ground-breaking research on connective tissue biology and molecular genetics in relation to cutaneous diseases.
At this writing, he has published more than 749 original articles in peer-reviewed journals, 358 textbook chapters and review articles and 1,046 abstracts in presentations at national and international meetings.
Additionally, Dr. Uitto serves as section editor of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, associate editor of the American Journal of Pathology, honorary editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Dermatology and Venereology and sits on the editorial boards of numerous peer-reviewed journals.
In addition to being recognized as a 2020 Giant of Dermatology, Dr. Uitto has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Kuopio, the University of Oulu and the University of Turku, all in Finland, his native country, as well as the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
In addition, he has received honorary professorships from China Medical University, Shenyang; Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an; and Hebei United University, Tangshan, all in China.
Dr. Uitto believes mentorship is the key to success of young physician-scientists, and since 1980, he has served as a mentor to over 140 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, many of whom are now leading scientists as well as chairs in their respective fields.
“This Giants of Dermatology award recognizes my career, not only as an academic dermatologist, but also my role as a physician, scientist and educator over the past four decades,” says Dr. Uitto. “I share this award with my international team of young scientists who have worked very hard over the years towards enhancing our understanding of the molecular basis of the heritable connective tissue and skin diseases with therapeutic implications. And I specifically want to share this award with over 140 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, residents and junior faculty who are the future of dermatology and cutaneous biology research.”