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Boston doctors honored for pediatric cancer teamwork


ROSEMONT, Ill. (May. 20, 2019) —Dermatologist and oncologist collaborate in the care of pediatric stem cell transplant patients

The American Academy of Dermatology has honored oncologist Jennifer Whangbo, MD, PhD, and dermatologist Jennifer Huang, MD, FAAD, as Patient Care Heroes for their collaboration in caring for pediatric stem cell transplant patients.

Coordinated between Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Whangbo and Dr. Huang, along with other pediatric subspecialists, care for children with graft-versus-host disease in a multidisciplinary setting. Drs. Whangbo and Huang note that coordinated care for patients with conditions involving multiple organs improves not only the quality of medical care for children, but also the patient and family experience.

Dr. Huang described a 12-year-old boy who was initially diagnosed with eczema. After not responding to treatment, he was referred to dermatology for evaluation. Dr. Huang recognized signs on his skin of early, but serious, sclerotic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which occurs when the donor cells attack the patient’s cells. She connected with his oncologist and together they promptly treated his condition.

“If he wasn’t diagnosed so quickly, the outcome may have been much worse,” said Dr. Huang. “Our clinic helps ensure patients are treated quickly and effectively, with one coordinated and comprehensive care plan.”

Skin problems are common in stem cell transplant patients, including rashes from their treatment in preparation for transplant, skin infections, GVHD, and skin cancer.

“It’s important to have dermatologists as part of the oncology team to diagnose, treat, and manage skin conditions, which can be common among patients undergoing cancer care,” said Dr. Whangbo. “Some patients find the dermatologic side effects worse than chemotherapy. Our collaboration helps to ease what is a difficult time in patients’ lives.”

The AAD created the Patient Care Heroes program to recognize physicians who improve patients’ lives by utilizing their expertise and collaborating with other physicians to treat serious skin disease.

George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD, honored the pair’s effort. “We’re in an era of team-based care, and we know patient care is best when specialists work together,” he said. “Drs. Huang and Whangbo show how collaboration helps everyone, especially the patients.”

To learn more about how the doctors coordinate oncology and dermatologic care, visit: /about/skinserious/jennifer-huang

About SkinSerious

SkinSerious is a campaign by the American Academy of Dermatology that highlights dermatologists’ role as partners in the health care system, providing expert care for serious conditions. To learn more, visit SkinSerious.org.

About the AAD
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to excellence in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of skin disease; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology and dermatopathology; and supporting and enhancing patient care to reduce the burden of disease. For more information, contact the Academy at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1) and YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).