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Chicago physicians honored for teamwork by American Academy of Dermatology

ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 15, 2019) —Dermatologist and sleep neurologist lead multidisciplinary clinic treating patients with eczema

The American Academy of Dermatology has honored dermatologist Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAD, and sleep neurologist Hrayr Attarian, MD, as Patient Care Heroes for teaming up to provide coordinated, multidisciplinary care to patients with eczema. Both physicians practice medicine at the Northwestern Medicine Multidisciplinary Eczema Center in Chicago, which Dr. Silverberg formed in 2013.

Dr. Silverberg had considerable experience treating patients with eczema prior to launching the clinic, but recognized that uncoordinated care was a major obstacle to providing patients with the best possible care. People with eczema experience an array of symptoms that cross medical specialties, including difficulty sleeping due to itchiness, creating a vicious cycle of poor sleep and increased inflammation. Because itch affects both eczema and insomnia, treatment often requires a multidisciplinary approach involving allergists, neurologists, sleep specialists, and dermatologists. Dr. Silverberg recognized that outcomes would improve if specialists consulted together, rather than relying on patients to coordinate their own care.

“I had patients who were seeing me for their skin disease, someone else for their allergies, and someone else for primary care,” Dr. Silverberg said. “There was no coordination between us, and as a result there were a lot of mixed messages.”

To improve coordination, Drs. Silverberg and Attarian now offer patients a single, comprehensive, two-to-three hour appointment. This allows physicians across different specialties to confer in real time, ultimately creating a comprehensive treatment plan and providing a better experience for patients.

“It is incredibly rewarding as a physician to work as part of a team, and to see how this coordination improves the care we provide to our patients,” Dr. Attarian said. “For one eczema patient who was having difficulty sleeping, we used a combination of light therapy and melatonin to naturally adjust her sleep cycle, which reduced her inflammation and itching.”

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

“Diseases don’t neatly align with individual medical specialties. They require care from multiple clinicians, and it’s crucial that our care reflects that,” said George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD. “The approach practiced by Drs. Silverberg and Attarian is more efficient for physicians, and most importantly, more effective for patients.”

Learn more about how Drs. Silverberg and Attarian worked together. 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. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).