Monday, July 9, 2018

Practice Management Classes at Summer Academy #PACPearls

The Practice Advisory Committee doesn't want you to miss these practice management courses at the AAD Summer Academy:
F013 – Trends in the Practice of dermatology: Consolidation and the Role of Private Equity
F016 – Coding and Documentation
U020 – MACRA,MIPS, and Advanced APMs

Also stop by the AAD Resource Center to check out Digital Derm Coding Consult Pro and the new 2019 coding resources.

Check out the full list of session here:

Monday, June 25, 2018

Spotlight on Esteemed WDS Member, Dr. Amy Paller

Spotlight on Esteemed WDS Member, Dr. Amy Paller
By Kate Oberlin, MD

Dr. Amy Paller is the Walter J. Hamlin Professor and Chair, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Skin Disease Research Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brown University and her medical degree from Stanford University.  Dr. Paller completed residency training in both Pediatrics and Dermatology at Northwestern University and her postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina.  She is an author of more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and serves on the Council for the National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.  Her NIH-funded laboratory focuses on the use of nanotechnology for topically applied gene regulation in treating skin disorders and on the role of glycolipids in the impaired wound healing and cutaneous innervation of diabetes. She runs a large clinical trials unit focused on pediatric dermatology.  She has been President of several national and international dermatologic societies, including the WDS. Dr. Paller is an eminent leader in pediatric dermatology and has been bestowed with multiple honors, including the Rothman Award from the SID, the Clarence S. Livingood, MD Memorial Award from the AAD, the Mentor of the Year Award/ Rose Hirschler Award/ Wilma Bergfield, MD Visioning and Leadership Award from the WDS, and the Founder’s Award from the Chicago Dermatological Society.

What motivates you? I’m driven by a passion to make a difference, whether in the lives of my patients, in the future careers of my incredibly enthusiastic trainees, or in adding to our understanding of how the skin works. I particularly like to work collaboratively – and learn so much from doing so. Dermatology is such an exciting field right now – with discoveries in the clinic and in the lab leading to such an array of novel approaches therapeutically. I love being part of this journey.

Who has influenced you the most?  I am influenced daily by everyone with whom I work from my fellow dermatologists and researchers to our trainees and my administrative support. When just starting in dermatology, my mentors (such as Nan Esterly, Ruth Freinkel, Al Briggaman, and Fred Malkinson) really helped to steer me in directions that could leverage my interest and my passion – and I am eternally grateful.  Mentorship never stops – and I continue to learn more from my colleagues than I could possibly offer to them.

Which leadership skills were the most difficult for you to develop?  I have been fortunate to have been in leadership roles since shortly after I finished fellowship, first as a chief of dermatology at our Children’s hospital/Dept of pediatrics and for almost 15 years now as a department chair of dermatology. Along the way, it’s been a pleasure to serve as a leader for many of our national and international organizations. My desire to get things done in an efficient way has been a great help in moving organizations and programs forward. However, an early lesson learned (and still a challenge at times) is the need to delegate and wait patiently for others to come through, even if that requires some prodding and tips along the way.  This approach, though, engages a group in “owning” projects, pulls in a lot of creative ideas, and tends to lead to the best possible endpoint with broad acceptance – even if it takes longer.

What advice do you have for young dermatologists about reaching their career goals? 1) Figure out what you are passionate about and focus on making this a large part of your career so you’ll truly enjoy your work; 2) Build a team of mentors – and take the time to engage them in decision-making and skill-building; 3) Be entrepreneurial and take advantage of the best of your environment to grow personally and professionally; and 4) Make sure to save time for family and friends.

How do you manage an appropriate work-life balance?  I have a wonderful husband who from the beginning has been supportive and shared with me throughout the past almost 35 years the joys of raising my 3 sons, but also insisted that we save time on weekends to be together alone. I have always been a “juggler”, and am able to stop and start projects easily – which helped me to spend time with family and others – and then easily get back where I left off. I think it is also important to “say no”, not just to unnecessary projects, but to life tasks that just are not important.  For example, having someone help with cleaning – and even with grocery shopping and chopping vegetables for salads and meals – let me have more time with my children and my husband throughout the years. Looking for ways to increase “quality time” while saving overall time has been key.

Do you have a favorite book? I love to read (although it’s hard to find time). I was recently catching up on my “want to read” list and enjoyed The Nightingale (although it’s been out for a few years).

What do you like to do for fun?  We’re lovers of theatre – and see wonderful plays in the Chicago area once or twice a month. We love walks around our area and seeing our sons, including more recently traveling to Dallas to see our now 8 month old first granddaughter!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pearls for the First Year out of Residency #PACPearls

The Practice Advisory Committee has put together a list of pearls
to keep in mind your first year out of residency.

Pearls from Dr. Sarah Jackson 

Many of us had no formal business training, yet we run successful businesses now. If you are starting your own practice, you must seek out the advice of experts, just as you would for a tough medical case. Throw yourself into learning about business, and utilize courses, mentors, and experts outside of our specialty. You will reap the rewards throughout your days of private practice!

Pearls from Dr. Monica Li 

Do not let patients pressure you into providing an intervention that you are not comfortable with.

When in doubt, go back to the basics and be systematic.

Always be nice to your support staff - they can be so helpful in ways known and unknown to you!

Pearls from Dr. Elizabeth Long 

Learn from failure. When patients express dissatisfaction from a treatment, a drug price, an interaction with staff, etc... always contemplate how that could have been avoided. For example, maybe they didn’t understand the diagnosis is a chronic problem that will require some degree of attention, intermittently, forever. To improve the experience, give patients a clear diagnosis and prognosis in addition to a flare and maintenance treatment plan or let them know it may take a couple of visits to determine the diagnosis and treatment plan. Setting clear attainable expectations can make a huge difference.

Keep an organized patient encounter. To combat a busy clinic with a wide variety of patients and chief complaints, I depend on personal handouts of my top 10-15 diagnoses that explore prognosis and treatment elements. I then review each sheet (and sometimes multiple ones) with the patient with customized recommendations for them based upon needs and budget. I update them annually and add new topics as I find myself handwriting the same instructions over and over.

Become a part of your community. I live in a small town and understanding the relationships between my patients leads to a deeper, more rewarding connection. It also gives you more feedback on both success and failure.

Pearls from Dr. Mark Kaufmann 

You may not have been exposed to coding in your residency, but you’ll likely be doing it for the rest of your career. Find a mentor in coding, buy a manual, and go to courses. Correct coding is vitally important.

Pearls From Dr. Deirdre Hooper 

Pay attention to relationships. When you meet other physicians as well as people in the industry, exchange contact information and stay in touch in the office or at meetings. Respect what that person knows. Your career is long and you never know who will be a mentor, who is someone you can mentor, and who will be a great friend.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Young Physician Spotlight - Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc

Dr. Nada Elbuluk is a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at USC Keck School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Princeton University where she also minored in Gender Studies and African American Studies. She went on to complete her medical degree from the University of Michigan where she graduated with a distinction in research. While there she received an NIH award that allowed her to also obtain a Master of Science in Clinical Research from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health. She completed her dermatology residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Afterwards, she served as a fellow and clinical instructor in the dermatology department at The University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Elbuluk’s clinical and research interests include general and cosmetic dermatology, with a special interest in ethnic skin and pigmentary disorders including vitiligo, melasma, and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. Dr. Elbuluk is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dermatology and holds professional memberships with the American Academy of Dermatology, the Women’s Dermatologic Society, and the Skin of Color Society.

How did you become interested in dermatology and what led you to where you are now?
I had an early fascination with dermatology and the visual nature of the field going into medical school. This was solidified after taking our second year dermatology course. I then had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Lorna Thomas in Detroit and had a wonderful broad exposure to dermatology and a diverse array of patients with different pathologies in her clinic. I decided after my third year of medical school, to gain more experience on the research side of dermatology. I spent a year doing an NIH T32 award program at the University of Michigan where I obtained a Master of Science in Clinical Research and received mentorship for my clinical and translational research from Dr. Sewon Kang. By the end of that year, I'd had experience on both the clinical and research sides of dermatology and knew it was the perfect fit for me. Those experiences also helped solidify my interested in pigmentary disorders and ethnic skin, which I specialize in now. I went on to do my residency at Johns Hopkins where I continued my research in these areas. After residency, I spent a year at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Bill James doing the Clinician Educator fellowship. This year better prepared me for a career in academia by allowing me to further develop my clinical and research niche as well as preparing me for how to best teach and mentor residents and medical students.

What are you working on now?
I currently am an assistant professor of dermatology. I've spent the last four years at NYU and will be moving this summer to start the next chapter of my career at USC. I am currently working on several research projects and papers on vitiligo, skin of color conditions, and procedural dermatology in ethnic skin. I am also active with several organizations. I just finished my term as chair of the WDS Young Physicians Committee and am now serving on the new WDS Integrative Task force committee as well as continuing my term on the Media Committee. Additionally I am on the board of the Skin of Color society where I chair the Research committee, and I also serve on the AAD's Young Physicians Committee. 

What advice do you have for residents and young career dermatologists who want to become more active in reaching the underserved populations?
I'm very passionate about diversity and helping the underserved. I have spent the last few years at NYU as the Diversity Ambassador for the Department and as NYU's Diversity Champion for the AAD's Diversity Task Force. Through these programs, I've had the opportunity to create many great initiatives to help increase diversity in medical schools and dermatology residencies. I'm a strong believer that this process starts early and for that reason have worked on pipeline volunteer programs that start as early as elementary, middle, and high school, where we either go out to the schools or have them come visit us at the hospital and talk to them about career options in medicine and how to pursue this path if interested. I think for anyone interested in doing this kind of work, the AAD Diversity Task Force and the Skin of Color Society both offer many resources on programming and how to get started. For those interested, forming a committee at one's program can help create an organized effort for various programming that helps underserved populations. Lastly, finding a mentor who is doing similar work can also be a tremendous resource. One of my mentors, Dr. Amit Pandya, has been very supportive and helpful in this realm.

How did you decide to pursue a career in academics vs. private practice? Can you speak to the benefits and challenges you face as an academician?
I was fortunate to have exposure to both academics and private practice while I was a medical student. I saw advantages to both but felt for me, I wanted to try having a career in academia. I was attracted to the variety of roles one could have in an academic institution, the ability to do a mix of clinic, research, teaching, and administration, and the opportunity to be part of an institution where I could collaborate with others in and out of my department. I also like the ability to work with medical students and residents. With that said, I have mentors in private practice who have academic affiliations and who have been able to find a similar balance. I think one has to know their personality and try out what they think is the best fit for them. Fortunately, we have lots of options in dermatology to practice in different settings and
to find the right combination of settings in which we can thrive and be happiest.

What advice can you give young physicians on achieving a work-life balance?
This is a challenge that I feel I'm always working on especially after becoming a mother. One thing I try doing is putting aside blocks of time for doing things. I try to compartmentalize as much as I can, so that when I'm at work, I try to be as efficient and productive as possible during the time I have there and when I'm at home, I try to be fully present and engaged with my family and not do work related things. I think having good help also makes a big difference and buying yourself time by outsourcing things that you don't feel are a good use of your time.

What do you do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my family and friends. I enjoy the outdoors, photography, reading, and traveling.