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Setting the tone: Incoming AAD president stresses leadership


In an address to the American Academy of Dermatology, 2008 president C. William Hanke touts the value of leadership, and encourages dermatologists to become involved in the political process.

Key Points

San Antonio - The new president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) encourages his colleagues to give of their time, expertise and knowledge, which "are the essence of strong leadership."

William Hanke, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.D., addressed the plenary session of the academy's 66th annual meeting here in February, saying, "Dermatology is fortunate to have an amazing pool of leadership talent."

The Indianapolis dermatologist will serve as the academy's president for one year and will hold the same position for the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Dr. Hanke began his address by warmly remembering a man who he says was a great example of leadership and a model for his own presidency - the kind of man who challenges "the rest of us to do more."

Cleve J. Francoeur Jr., M.D., 45, a former resident under Dr. Hanke who practiced in Columbus, Ind., died last year in an early-morning auto accident.

Reflecting on his colleague's contributions to the field of dermatology, Dr. Hanke says Dr. Francoeur "exemplified what I believe is the best in our specialty."

Dr. Francoeur was a busy private practitioner and an avid family man and outdoorsman, yet he had also "served countless hours in petition of legislation for the Indiana state medical association," Dr. Hanke tells Dermatology Times.

"I want Cleve's example of leadership and unselfish service to the specialty to unite us to do more," he says.

"Dermatology is and should be a specialty of leaders."

Vision for AAD

The academy, he says, "has some strong programs in place, but there is room for expansion."

For example, Dr. Hanke hopes for programs that tap into the wisdom of older, more experienced doctors, who have time to give back to the specialty - programs that will help younger, early-career dermatologists.

Also, "Safety is a big issue," Dr. Hanke says.

He urges the AAD to appoint a patient safety advocate "to develop a strategic plan for patient safety, to serve the academy, our patients and the public."

Political involvement

Dr. Hanke encourages his colleagues to become involved in the political process, to help get dermatological issues into congressional offices.

"The more people involved, the stronger the message will be," he says.

Dr. Hanke says he believes that activism is "exciting, engaging and rewarding."

He is confident that this message will not fall on deaf ears.

"Our elected officials want to see us; they want to hear from us about issues of which we have firsthand knowledge," he says.

Dermatologists must exercise this leadership, Dr. Hanke says, because, "As healthcare entities, we are a source of support to our communities."

In addition, Dr. Hanke suggests contributing to humanitarian support, as well as to organizations such as Skinpac, the political action committee of the AAD, and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The year ahead

Because of the vast opportunities for leadership, Dr. Hanke will spend the coming year working with staff "to develop our potential in this area."

As president of the AAD, Dr. Hanke promises to "continue to give the specialty's core issues the 'full-court press.'"

According to Dr. Hanke, "these issues include reimbursement, tort reform, enhanced research support and continued educational excellence, as well as pateint safety."

In closing, Dr. Hanke quoted Stephen P. Stone, M.D., AAD past president, of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine: "We are poised to take our specialty to the next level, but only if we do the right things."

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