Derms who 'give back' inspire colleagues

August 1, 2006

In the past, I've used this space to rally for volunteerism/charitable endeavors and discuss outstanding services performed by those in dermatology. My sense has been that, while I'm not entirely "preaching to the choir," I am addressing a group of specialists, my fellow dermatologists, of whom many graciously give of their time in charitable medical and nonmedical ways.

In the past, I've used this space to rally for volunteerism/charitable endeavors and discuss outstanding services performed by those in dermatology. My sense has been that, while I'm not entirely "preaching to the choir," I am addressing a group of specialists, my fellow dermatologists, of whom many graciously give of their time in charitable medical and nonmedical ways.

For some it's a true calling. One couple whom I mentioned in a previous editorial, the Indgins (Sid is a dermatologist and Bonnie an R.N.), have frequently performed medical missions to South America, and are now spending a month in Africa. Sid also serves as a voluntary faculty member at our Veterans Administration Hospital. He never asked for recognition, but he has been recognized by the AAD for his work, and he and Bonnie both deserve it.

Looking within my own department, I see many of the faculty providing compassionate care that is worthy of both mention and emulation. Quietly and without any fanfare, one of my faculty, Dr. Paolo Romanelli, has created a largely indigent-based biological treatment clinic for patients with severe psoriasis. The clinic is at Jackson Memorial Hospital, a public health facility that serves as the safety net for Miami's otherwise underserved populace.

Planning a mission

Another endeavor that has recently captured my attention and admiration is reaching fruition through the efforts of Dr. John MacDonald and others involved in the University of Miami's dermatology wound healing team. John, who is the current president of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC), has committed himself to leading and raising funds for a wound healing team that will visit emerging nations and provide clinical and educational services.

The goal is to establish grass-roots expertise in the recognition and care of the more common wounds and leg ulcers that are suffered in these countries, so that when the team leaves, important aspects of the expertise they provided and taught will remain with these populaces. The first trip for the team is scheduled for Haiti this fall.

I would love to hear from other dermatologists about any similar or unique endeavors that we could share with our colleagues. I think we all respond to inspirational deeds, and perhaps we could all be inspired into an "epidemic" of such activities.