By Ronald L. Moy, MD, AAD President, February 01, 2011
It’s truly an honor to be the Academy’s new president. This is a position that represents all dermatologists — past, present, and future — and I’m humbled by the opportunity you have given me to serve the specialty we all love so much.
Friends have asked what I am going to do as president. From my perspective, the time for personal “presidential” initiatives is past. Instead, it is a time of change during which we need to prioritize what the AAD needs to accomplish. It is crucial for all of us not to emphasize “I,” but instead to focus on how “we” can work together toward a common goal. This organization is made of the smartest physicians and a dedicated staff who can accomplish any goals.
I share similar professional experiences with you. I have worn multiple hats during my career and have experienced our specialty from a number of different vantage points. I have served in academics at the University of Pittsburgh and UCLA, been a principal investigator with VA Merit and NIH RO-1 grants, and practiced medical dermatology and dermatologic surgery in academics and in private practice in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. I know from firsthand experience the funding issues that face academic and research dermatologists. Universities are trimming their budgets, and it’s harder than ever to secure research grants and to fund residency positions.
As a private practitioner, I face the same challenges that you all confront, such as rising overhead, declining reimbursements, and increased government regulation. I know it’s not easy to see a day’s worth of patients, take care of all your paperwork, return phone calls and e-mails, and still have a personal life. I also know what it’s like to deal with private insurers who pay less and expect more, and to worry about your livelihood and the possibility of being sued. I know what it’s like to see non-dermatologists pretending to be dermatologists and competing with us for patients.
As your president, I will be mindful of all these issues every day, and I will work hard to ensure the Academy provides the services you need to be successful. Our emphasis will be on pursuing our new strategic plan, which includes identifying your needs and the changing issues as you strive to deliver the highest quality patient care.
Since the Academy was founded in 1938, it has helped dermatologists weather some tough times — and has helped dermatology become a successful and highly desirable specialty. We have had success in research, treatments, and patient care, and the Academy has played a critical role in our education and public education.
The Academy must continue to improve at educating the public and lawmakers about the value of dermatology, to advocate on our behalf on Capitol Hill and in state capitals, and to provide continuing education opportunities for us to enhance our expertise and help us comply with maintenance of certification standards.
The Academy gives us the tools we need to cope with increased regulatory requirements and other practice-management challenges. It must continue and do better at supporting dermatologic research.
We’re confident that demand for high-quality dermatologic care will increase, and that dermatologists will continue to be seen as the specialists of choice for skin, hair, and nail conditions. But we expect multifaceted challenges, with regulations related to health system reform and issues such as electronic health records and Medicare payments demanding close attention.
Despite the changes and challenges ahead, I’m confident the Academy’s successes will continue. We will ensure that the Academy’s expert leaders, talented staff, and member volunteers are working hard on our behalf every day, doing everything possible to foster quality patient care, provide the public with sound health information, and advocate for the interests of dermatologists.
To help dermatologists succeed in today’s dynamic health care environment, the Academy leadership has developed a detailed plan, including strategic priorities aligned with our members’ top concerns. We have just established a staff work group to identify and address challenges and opportunities that emerge as we work through the impending health care revolution.
If you feel the sense of urgency I do, the impending change, and the love of dermatology, then I hope you will all get involved by supplying new ideas, volunteering, and contributing to the AAD Sustaining Fund and SkinPAC. Over the course of my year as president, I look forward to reporting to you more about the many ways the Academy is working to serve us and our specialty — and working alongside you to ensure our continued success.