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Message from the Chairman

We are ready for the 21st Century!

Dr. Gaspari in Lab

Our core mission is to improve the quality of life of patients with skin disease. We attempt to achieve this important goal with a number of different approaches. We are dedicated to this central tenet, and are continually searching to identify novel and improved methods to deliver healthcare, teach residents, and research mechanisms of skin diseases and its treatments.

Our teaching mission is to train dermatologists that will be leaders in the health care field, make clinical and scientific contributions in our field, and be an outstanding member of the community at large. Our central goal is to train skilled, compassionate clinicians who put forth their best efforts in caring for patients with skin disease. Our department is comprised of dedicated full-time, part-time and volunteer faculty. Our faculty, when teaching either Dermatology residents, primary care residents, medical students or other health care professionals interested in skin disease, is to communicate our mastery the art and science of the Dermatology. We stress competence in the clinical and basic sciences of the specialty of Dermatology. Humanism, ethics, handling conflict, and above all the importance of the physician-patient interaction are key components beyond the didactics of our specialty. Socioeconomic issues of medicine such as managed care, third party reimbursement for physician services, state and national legislation that affects medical practice, malpractice insurance, and the need for tort reform are also discussed regularly during faculty-resident interactions. Our faculty are also involved in medical organizations at a national level. We are involved in the Association of the Professors of Dermatology, the American Contact Dermatitis Society, American Society of Dermatologic Surgeons and the American Academy of Dermatology.

Our leadership in these important national societies renders our department more visible at a national level, and allows us to keep abreast of developments in these societies that can influence our Department. It also provides us with networking opportunities, which are useful for directing our resident graduates as they move ahead with their career aspirations.

Dermatology Researcher

Teaching conferences are held regularly. For example, there are the two meetings of the Maryland Dermatologic Society held in the Spring and Fall every year. During these meetings, patients with skin diseases are presented, and a lecture is provided by an expert in some particular aspect of Dermatology. There are weekly Grand Rounds meetings, in which guest speakers such as local faculty, students and residents, as well as visiting professors provide educational lectures in their area.

Our residency training program emphasizes a balanced approach to Dermatology, in which both medical and surgical Dermatology are taught. Additionally, some limited teaching is provided regarding cosmetic procedures such as Botulinum toxin injections, the use of filler substances, injection of sclerosing agents, chemical resurfacing of the skin. We also utilize lasers in the treatment of specific skin conditions, such as the removal of excessive body hair, or the treatment of unsightly vascular lesions, or the treatment of photoaging. In addition to medical students and residents, we do provide teaching to health care expanders. We teach Dermatology to Nurse Practitioners in our practice because they are part of the Dermatology Health Care team.

Research is an important component of our program. Our research is energetic, and occurs at a number of different levels. At the faculty level, we have NIH supported research grants related to the molecular mechanisms of allergic skin diseases. There are also focused programs related to tumor immunology. There is also a robust clinical research program that includes the study of skin cancer in organ transplantation patients, as well as Dermatopathology research studies. Our Department has also participated in clinical trials sponsored by Pharmaceutical companies, most recently, the use of a topical immune modulator, tacrolimus in the form of a topical gel to treat skin lesions of psoriasis. One of our long-term goals is to develop a clinical trials unit in order to systematically study new treatments for skin diseases in our cohort of patients with both common and uncommon skin disorders.

At the resident and medical student levels, research is achieved with their preparation of scholarly reports, either for local presentation within the department, or for a presentation at a national meeting, or for a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. We strongly encourage research in our department by our trainees, because they become an expert in the area. It also provides them with a sense of accomplishment that they will carry forward throughout their entire career.

Our Department is strategically located in Downtown Baltimore, in close proximity to the Inner Harbor, and the athletic complex. The majority of our practice is in an outpatient setting. We practice in the University setting at 419 W. Redwood St., a site where we see patients of different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, and a variety of skin diseases. We see consultantions at the University of Maryland Medical System in the hospital; we also admit patients with severe skin disease to this hospital for outstanding Dermatologic care. We also practice at the Baltimore VAMC, in which we take care of veterans with Dermatologic diseases in an outpatient setting. This facility allows our resident trainees greater autonomy in the care of patients with skin disease. Our satellite practices are in the Millersville, MD area, at Shipley’s Choice as well as Baltimore Washington Medical Center, whereby we provide Dermatologic surgery to patients in this community.

Two Dermatology Researchers

In addition to the growing research facilities at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, we are in close proximity to other renowned research institutes such as Johns Hopkins Medical Institute located in East Baltimore, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and the University of Maryland in College park as well as well as research institutes in the Philadelphia area. Because of the internet, and the highly interactive nature of the research endeavor, our researchers have contact with other investigators at far-reaching medical institutes across the United States, and even world-wide.

Technology is changing the way we are teaching Dermatology to residents and medical students. It is changing the way we are studying. It is changing our approach to medical information, with our medical library now being a clearing house for on-line journal subscriptions, and information technology. It is now less of a storehouse for books and bound journals. Lasers, digital photography, telemedicine, teleconferencing, PDA, use of the internet to access the explosive growth of biomedical research. We have digitalized our slide library. We have a digitalized case log from grand rounds, and digitalized dermatopathology laboratory. It is certain that information technology will continue to evolve, and exert its beneficial influence on our specialty, as well as medicine as a whole. We embrace these changes, and by keeping abreast with the latest hardware and software developments, we are prepared to accept and utilize these developments in our practice and academic settings.

This is an exciting time for medicine at University of Maryland Baltimore. We are experiencing explosive growth of the Baltimore campus, with steady increases in NIH funding whereby we are now a top 20 medical school for NIH funding. A number of centers on campus are doing cutting edge research, such as the Center for Vaccine Development, Biotechnology institute, Institute for Viral diseases. Dermatology is poised for continued growth in our clinical, education and research operations. We are a currently a mid-tier Department of Dermatology, and we have the potential to be a top-tier Department. Many of the milestones describe above will be achieved in the next 5 years. The best is yet to come!