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The people's choice: Derm enjoys helping people look, feel better


Dermatologist Susan Stuart, M.D., takes caring for patients to heart, and people in the majestic seaside community of La Jolla, Calif. have noticed.

Key Points

Dermatologist Susan Stuart, M.D., takes caring for patients to heart, and people in the majestic seaside community of La Jolla, Calif., have noticed.

In November 2007, readers of the La Jolla Light newspaper selected Dr. Stuart as their No. 1 choice as the area's top doctor. She had captured recognition in previous years as readers' pick for the top dermatologist in La Jolla, but this latest honor includes all physician categories and is a big coup in the upscale city, which she says is saturated with dermatologists and others in the cosmetic arena.

"I derive great personal and professional satisfaction assisting patients to achieve their personal best in beauty goals and healthy skin," Dr. Stuart tells Dermatology Times.

Programmed to care

Dr. Stuart says she first became fascinated by dermatology when she was a teenage swim instructor and lifeguard. The job helped to teach her not only what the sun could do to the skin, but also how she could make a positive impact on people's lives just by educating them about sun protection and healthy living. Helping others achieve better health through swimming instruction, and even improved self-esteem, fueled her decision to seek her chosen career.

"Helping others made me feel good and made me want to do more. I thought it would be great to help people achieve the best of both worlds: to feel and look better," she says.

She started in practice in 1994, with an 11-physician group in San Diego. Physicians in the practice, she says, pioneered C02 laser resurfacing and were among the first in the country to offer other laser procedures and sclerotherapy. She was among the physicians in the practice who reaped the media attention, garnering spots on the ABC news show "20/20" and more.

Working with the group - which is where she met her husband - prepared her to meet the demands of San Diego County's high-end clientele. And being a "people person" helps her today to maintain a thriving practice in La Jolla's competitive cosmetic dermatology market.

"I want to help people, and I am confident that I can," she says. "I try to listen to patients and get to know them. I want them to know that I really care and that this is not just my job; it is my livelihood."

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