By C. William Hanke, MD, MPH, FAAD
Improving people’s lives is a passion for our members, and one that can extend well beyond the doors of the dermatologist’s office. In my time as president of the AAD, I enjoyed a unique opportunity to experience the wide range of philanthropic programs that the Academy has to offer. Such programs help dermatologists to extend their positive impact beyond day-to-day patient care, advancing the specialty and bettering their communities.
One of the highlights of my tenure was a visit to Camp Discovery. This unique program enables children with chronic skin conditions to enjoy swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and other summer camp fun with the assistance of volunteer dermatologists. It was truly inspiring to see first-hand the wonderful experiences these children are afforded by the generosity of our members. The children pay nothing for this amazing opportunity—the cost is covered by donations from academy members, many of whom also volunteer their time for the program.
Though amazing, Camp Discovery is just one of the Academy’s many philanthropic offerings. Every year, thousands of our members quietly volunteer their time to AAD programs that benefit communities both in the United States and abroad. Some of our members provide free screenings through the academy’s national Skin Cancer Screening Program. Other members serve as referring dermatologists for our Shade Structure Grants, which provide funds to install permanent shade structures at school playgrounds, pools, and other recreational spaces. Still more AAD members volunteer to provide medical services overseas.
The Academy remains deeply committed to fostering a culture of philanthropy—one that enables our members to develop their own giving philosophy throughout their careers and recognizes all that they give in terms of both of time and resources. There are so many ways to support the Academy and its programs. Members can make annual gifts to the Academy, or they may join our new Friends of AAD Giving Society, enabling them to make monthly gifts throughout the year. A number of our members have chosen to make a planned gift, becoming members of the 1938 Legacy Society. These are a few of the giving options available, and the AAD employs a knowledgeable philanthropic staff to help members customize a giving strategy that is right for them.
The commitment of our members to philanthropy and volunteerism serves as the foundation for all of the academy’s endeavors. It provides the resources to launch new programs, to further excellence in patient care, and to train the next generation of dermatologists. By engaging in volunteer work and supporting the Academy financially, we also further the public’s understanding of good skin health and the dangers of skin cancer.Through personal engagement in a culture of philanthropy, we can advance the specialty and its members and ensure that the legacy of the academy remains relevant and strong far into the future.
C. William Hanke, MD, MPH, is clinical professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, and chair of the Academy’s Development Committee and chair of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Office-Based Surgery. He is a past president of the AAD.
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