Ronald G. Wheeland, M.D., is a private practitioner in Tucson, Ariz. He is former president of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and a long-standing
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Dermatology Times, we asked our Editorial Advisory Board members to reflect on the publication and how the practice of dermatology has changed over the past 40 years. In this article, Dr. Wheeland reviews his years of involvement with the Dermatology Times and what has happened in the dermatologic surgery world over those same years.
For the July issue, Norm Levine and I have been asked by the Content Channel Director for Dermatology Times (DT), Heather Onorati, to provide some reflections on the publication for its 40th Anniversary from our many years on the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB). My plan is to review my personal involvement with DT and couple that with a brief summary of what was happening in the dermatologic surgery world over those same years.
Just after having finished my Mohs Surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, I was approached to join the EAB by one of my patients who, at the time, was the Managing Editor for DT, which was - and still is - located in North Olmsted, Ohio, a small suburb of Cleveland.
He asked me if I would be interested in helping to oversee a new dermatology publication by suggesting additional assistant editors, review content, and write editorials. He vowed to produce a high-quality dermatologic publication with practical analysis of recent studies, regulatory updates, articles on new techniques and devices, as well as business solutions to practical problems in the dermatologic office. I was one of several dermatologists asked to be involved, including Norm Levine, a medically oriented dermatologist at the University of Arizona, and Larry Schachner, a pediatric dermatologist at the University of Miami.
My appointment at the Cleveland Clinic put me in close proximity to the DT headquarters, so I got to work closely with the team and was impressed with staff and the effort they were making to live up to the goals as they were originally stated to me.
To give a reference point as to what was happening in dermatologic surgery at that time, the Cleveland Clinic had three full-time Mohs surgeons and also had the two most current lasers, the argon and CO2, at our disposal. Cosmetically, we were performing hair transplants which had been around for a while but also the newer scalp reduction procedure. The only filler agent at that time was purified bovine collagen, Zyderm and its more concentrated cousin, Zyplast.
In 1984, the Managing Editor at that time, Dean Celia, asked the three physician editors to review each issue prior to publication for accuracy and quality. We probably did full reviews on only three issues before we all agreed that we couldn’t keep pace with the publishing process in a timely fashion. We switched to a post-publication review for a few additional months before deciding the staff was doing such a good job that our suggestions were only minimal and didn’t provide a substantial improvement over what had been produced.
One of my favorite personal stories from that time involved the Managing Editor, Dean Celia. Dean was an avid fan of the Cleveland Indians and would occasionally fly to their spring training in Tucson Arizona, meeting Norm Levine for a game or two and dinner. It is that kind of relationship the physician editors have always had with the DT staff, including getting together annually at the AAD where freelance writers were also in attendance to gather the latest insights for publication in DT. That probably is the single most important aspect of what I appreciate about being affiliated with the publication - they sent their reporters and freelancers to many scientific dermatology meetings, including AAD, ASDS, PDA, EADV, and ASLMS, to obtain the latest information, techniques and devices for publication in the magazine.
By 1987, the surgical world had seen a number of major advances. Not only have new and more precise lasers been added to our treatment options, including the argon-dye laser, pulsed dye laser, Q-switched ruby laser and ultrapulsed CO2 laser, but also soft tissue fillers like Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra and Radiesse had become available. All of these devices and materials were being reported in DT to keep the readers informed.
In parallel to all of these advances, DT has added expertise to its contributing staff. At present there are four physician editorial advisors and a number of contributing physician board members and columnists. Topics covered now span our subspecialty focal areas and include: clinical dermatology, cutaneous oncology, business solutions, pediatric dermatology, aesthetics, the ongoing Legal Eagle column by dermatologist Dr. David Goldberg, J.D., as well as topics like psychodermatology and alternative therapies.
Over the ensuing years surgical and cosmetic dermatology has seen tremendous growth in lasers (diode, Fraxel resurfacing laser and photodynamic therapy), aesthetics (liposuction, ultrasound, CoolSculpting, chemical peels, Botox, and fillers), dressings, oncology and topical anesthetics. Right there by our side there has been a similar growth in a high-quality, unbiased, timely publication - Dermatology Times, a publication that I have been fortunate enough to work closely with since early in its development.
Here is my honest tribute to their first forty years and for continued success in the future. Â