2016 In Review

January 03, 2017

Gary S. Wood, MD, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology

Dermatology faculty, residents, and advanced practice providers, September 2016.

New Faces, New Roles

This has been a very busy year for us in terms of recruiting, leadership, and new staff. Four new faculty joined us in 2016—Lisa Arkin, Hao Chang, Tom Keenan, and Stefan Schieke—and two more—physicians Rachel Kornik and Alex Means—will be coming onboard in 2017. Associate Professor Molly Hinshaw, who has been a part-time faculty member with us for many years, joined the Department full-time in July; she continues to run her nail subspecialty clinic, and is now committing a significant portion of her efforts to the Dermatopathology lab.

Several faculty members stepped into new roles, with Margo Reeder continuing her efforts to ensure quality care at Dermatology as the new Director of Quality Improvement, and Lisa Arkin accepting the position of Director of Pediatric Dermatology. Nihal Ahmad, PhD has stepped up to the new role of Associate Vice Chair for Research, and Dan Bennett, MD has taken over from Eric Berg, MD as the new Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs.

Dr. Wood presents Dr. Berg with a plaque commemorating his many years of service as head of clinical affairs for Dermatology. Photo by Jonathan Bartnik.

Dr. Berg has served in his leadership role for many years, guiding our clinical efforts through three major transformations: the Physicians Plus-UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) merger in the late 1990s; the reorganization of the division of Dermatology as a stand-alone Department in 2002; and finally the merger of UW Hospitals and Clinics with the UWMF just last year. We all owe Dr. Berg a debt of gratitude for his excellent service to the Department over the years. 

We also welcomed many new staff members to our team, including a new PA, Megan Grow, and a new Clinics Manager, Shawnee Parens. Jodie Cook, who has served UWMF for many years, and Dermatology specifically as our Clinics Manager for at least ten, retired at the beginning of December. She has been an excellent asset to the department, and we look forward to working with her successor. In addition to Megan and Shawnee, we added several new administrative staff and researchers, and many new schedulers, receptionists, CNAs, and RNs at our clinics.

Expanding in Madison

As we expand our faculty and staff, we continue to grow our physical and financial assets. Our endowments are now worth $14 million, which supports seven professorships and two lectureships. I heartily thank all of our donors and clinicians for the financial support they give to our program.

We opened a new clinic at 20 South Park, which also houses faculty offices and a clinical research unit. Tom Keenan, MD, has already started practicing there; we expect Rachel Kornik, MD, to begin seeing patients at the new clinic in February 2017, and hope to have four full-time providers there by next fall.

We now have one to three attending physicians at the William S. Middleton VA Memorial Hospital for at least eight half-days per week, including three Mohs sessions. This is an astounding presence for a department of our size, and means that we continue to be a model department in terms of our relationship with the Veterans’ Administration.

Additionally, thanks to the efforts of Anne Rosin, MD, and Justin Endo, MD, we now do telederm consults for VA patients, and are also expanding eVisits and eConsults for UW patients, all as part of our evolving teledermatology program.

Committed to Education

In 2016, we graduated four residents, one Mohs fellow, two post-doctoral researchers, four PhD students, and one MS student. In total, we had six post-doctoral fellows and 11 PhD students this year. We probably award more PhDs than any other Derm program in the country. Our clinical trainees work in some twenty states, with a quarter of them in academics, including four residency program directors. Our research trainees are in academics and industry positions throughout the world. We also welcomed four new residents, a new Mohs fellow, and four post-doctoral research fellows to our department. 

Under Vice Chair for Education Will Aughenbaugh’s leadership, our Med/Derm training program is phasing out, but we will now have 12 categorical dermatology residents (four per year), plus one Mohs fellow—more than twice the clinical trainees we had in 2001, before we became a department. As always, we are indebted to the efforts of our Education Coordinator Jennifer Hanser.

Breaking Ground in Research

During 2016, Dermatology faculty secured funding for multiple new awards totaling $2 million from the NIH, the VA, and several foundations. We currently have $5 million pending review right now—including some of the $11 million in applications we submitted this fall. In addition to funding for faculty members Nihal Ahmad, Jack Longley, Gloria Xu, and Stefan Schieke, scientist Jean Christopher Chamcheu won a grant from the American Skin Association. Three of our PIs rank in the top third nationally for NIH funding. In clinical and translational research, we have 17 projects underway, and are actively building our tissue bank, thanks to the efforts of Diane Bock and Mike Hetzer.

Hasan Mukhtar, PhD, and Gloria Xu, MD, PhD, sit on either side of Angela Christiano, PhD, of Columbia University, the keynote speaker at the UW SDRC’s 2016 Retreat. Photo by Megan Maguire.

Our NIH-funded Skin Disease Research Center (SDRC), now finishing its second year, built on the successes of its inaugural year. Membership grew to 57 faculty across 20 departments in six schools and seven institutes of the University. We awarded $240,000 in pilot funding to eight projects, added 3D culture services to the Cell Culture Core, and the Experimental Cutaneous Pathology Core began collaborating with the TRIP lab to offer 6-color slide staining. Hannah Strelchenko, SDRC coordinator, and Megan Maguire, our research administrator, organized the SDRC’s first retreat, with a poster session, oral presentations from our core directors and pilot project awardees, and a keynote speech from leading skin and hair disorder researcher Angela Christiano, PhD.

Looking Forward to 2017

It’s been another very good year. But even more important is our long-term progress. We are clearly among the best Dermatology programs, and are widely recognized as such by our peers. I am very proud of the efforts of all of our faculty and staff, and wish all of them continued success in 2017.