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Jane Mast, PhD, DMSc, MPAS: Empathy in the Patient Journey With HS


Jane Mast, PhD, DMSc, MPAS, discusses empathetic care in hidradenitis suppurativa and the importance of supporting patients with HS in every step of their journey with the condition.

Jane Mast, PhD, DMSc, MPAS, is a medical director for Novartis1 and has been a practicing dermatology physician assistant (PA) for more than 20 years. At the 2023 Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) Annual Summer Dermatology Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Mast presented at a Novartis product theater titled, "Disease State and Unmet Needs in Hidradenitis Suppurativa."

Mast spoke with Dermatology Times® to discuss the highlights of her talk, the exciting future of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), and empathetic care for patients at all stages of their journey with HS.

Jane Mast, PhD, DMSc, MPAS: Hi, I'm Jane Mast. I'm a medical director with Novartis, and I'm also a dermatology PA, having practiced over 20 years.

Dermatology Times: What do you hope attendees take away from your talk, "Disease State and Unmet Needs in Hidradenitis Suppurativa?"

Mast: The average HS patient has a 10-year delay in diagnosis. We know that they oftentimes end up in ERs and urgent cares, and so we're really trying to change that with HS awareness. Of course, we in dermatology do a great job of diagnosing these patients. But how can we get them to dermatology sooner and faster?

Dermatology Times: What is the importance of awareness and recognition in HS?

Mast: We hear often from patients that there is a long-standing history that they feel shame with this disease. It's very hard for them; it takes a lot of courage to see someone to begin with. And so I think just having empathy is the first thing that I've heard that everybody can do for these patients, is really showing that empathy for what they've been through and their journey, and that's really where we're trying to shine a light on HS, because we know that it's been hidden in the shadows, and we're trying to make these people comfortable to come and get help.

Dermatology Times: Why is it such an exciting time in HS research and care?

Mast: I think just the fact that there's a lot more research dollars going into this disease. I hope that one day this diseases is like psoriasis, that now we have a ton of different therapies for the disease. I think we're just at the tip of the iceberg for that. The fact that we're caring for these patients, that we're showing empathy and understanding them, I'm very excited about the future.

Understanding the disease, the pathophysiology better, and then also all the different treatments, because we know that this is a not a one treatment disease. Multimodal treatment is often needed, and surgical and medical management, and so being confident in both of those therapies, and partnering with the patient, will get them the best care.

[Transcript edited for clarity]

  1. Disclosure: Mast is a medical director for Novartis.
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