By Ronald L. Moy, MD, AAD President, February 01, 2012
We all know that there are many changes that will occur in our environment that will have dramatic impacts on dermatology. These changes include decreasing Medicare and insurance reimbursements, a decreasing number of trained dermatologists, increasing wait times to see a dermatologist, increasing numbers of non-dermatologists practicing dermatology, increasing numbers of physician assistants and nurse practitioners practicing dermatology, a decrease in dermatology research funding, an increase in other specialists who may try promote themselves and criticize dermatologists, and a decrease in support from industry which will require an increase in financial support by us members. Is our specialty prepared for all these changes?
“Change before you have to,” Jack Welch said. But change is difficult. I am proud to say that our AAD Board of Directors recently voted to consider implementing dramatic changes in communications as well as advocacy and government affairs in anticipation of the harsh realities that are in our future. Can we be more effective in both these areas? We have appointed a Task Force on Transforming Communications chaired by Roger Ceilley, MD, with members including Patricia Farris, MD, Pearl Grimes, MD, Phoebe Rich, MD, Thomas Rohrer, MD, Susan Taylor, MD, and myself; a Task Force on Transforming Advocacy and Government Affairs chaired by Darrell Rigel, MD, with members including Clay J. Cockerell, MD, Lisa A. Garner, MD, David M. Pariser, MD, and Jack S. Resneck Jr., MD; and a Task Force on Office-Based Surgery chaired by C. William Hanke, MD, with members including Bruce Brod, MD, Brett Coldiron, MD, W. Patrick Davey, MD, Zoe D. Draelos, MD, Dirk M. Elston, MD, Lisa A. Garner, MD, Roy C. Grekin, MD, Vincent A. Muscarella, MD, James Spencer, MD, and Michael Zanolli, MD. These three task forces will help determine if we need to update our three-year-old strategic plan to anticipate new changes. Do we need to change how we have been doing things? Are we spending our resources wisely? If we anticipate the coming changes we can shape our specialty’s future.
The Board has already made modest changes in how it functions. We have eliminated some of the perfunctory approvals of reports and information-only items from our meetings so we have time to discuss strategic issues that will affect our specialty. Our new secretary treasurer, Suzanne Olbricht, MD, will be asked to prepare for a future of less industry support by reducing spending that is not supportive of our top priorities.[pagebreak]
We have raised more money for SkinPAC this year than ever before yet we have to increase that amount if we are to educate legislators about dermatology issues. This year we have also strengthened our relationships with other specialty organizations, industry, international dermatology organizations, and the FDA. Our executive director and I are scheduled to meet with the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to discuss common interests and differences between plastic surgery and dermatology. We have visited 15 different companies to discuss our common goals and objectives with them. We have been involved in meetings in China and Europe. We have established an excellent relationship between the AAD and the FDA after our cooperative press announcement regarding broad-spectrum sunscreens in June.
We are going to have another great Annual Meeting in San Diego March 16-20, with new sessions on providing patients with an unforgettably positive office visit, late-breaking dermatology research, dilemmas in dermatology, and a course using head prosections to enhance surgical learning. Dermatology in Action is a new initiative that allows all of us to give back to the cities in which the AAD hosts its scientific meetings. Last year AAD member volunteers helped create an urban garden for a community center in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. This year we will be painting the interior of a residential center for the homeless in San Diego.
It has been a fulfilling experience to be president of the AAD this year. I have been impressed by the skills and talents of our staff and member volunteers. We have members and staff who love our specialty and will work their hardest to complete any project. They represent all of us within organized medicine and attend committee meetings to make our specialty of dermatology better. Speaking of dedicated volunteers, I started working with your next president, Dan Siegel, MD, when we were both 18-year-old students in a six-year medical program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I have worked closely with him again the last several months. The AAD has one of the smartest and prepared presidents ready to take office. Dr. Siegel and I will be available in the AAD’s booth in the exhibit hall in San Diego on March 19 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and I welcome you to stop by and share your thoughts with us.
I would like to thank members of the AAD Executive Office for helping me as president. The person I want to thank the most is my greatest love in the world, my wife Lisa. She allowed me to travel more than 150,000 miles on AAD business and enjoy being your president. Finally, I thank all of you for your contributions to our specialty. Please remember to contribute to the AAD Sustaining Fund and SkinPAC so that our specialty will continue to flourish.