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Brooklyn dermatologist bridges digital divide to help patients at safety-net hospital


American Academy of Dermatology honors Dr. Shoshana Marmon as National “Patient Care Hero"

ROSEMONT, Ill. (Nov. 16, 2021) — Brooklyn board-certified dermatologist Shoshana Marmon, MD, PhD, FAAD, was honored as an American Academy of Dermatology Patient Care Hero for providing safe, accessible care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early in the lockdown in New York City, Dr. Marmon and her colleagues launched text message-based virtual visits at their safety-net hospitals so patients without a computer, email address, or broadband service were able to stay connected to their dermatologists. This approach was so effective that the entire hospital system is now using this technique to help patients participate in telemedicine.

“This user-friendly approach to telehealth breaks down barriers so more patients can access the care they need, when they need it,” said Dr. Marmon, director of dermatology at the Cumberland Diagnostic and Treatment Center and assistant professor and director of clinical research in the dermatology department at New York Medical College. “A text message-based option allowed our public safety-net hospital dermatologists to continue to connect with patients and safely provide care at the height of the pandemic.”

Approximately 27% of all adults in households earning less than $30,000 per year rely exclusively on their smart-phones for internet access. Using simple, secure text message-based applications, patients with limited English language proficiency and minimal technological ability can equally participate in telemedicine.

Patient Alana Nicholas spent several hours traveling to Brooklyn twice a month for appointments before the pandemic. Using text-based visits, Dr. Marmon virtually managed Alana’s treatment for severe acne and ensured Alana did not have to risk a potential COVID-19 exposure.

“The text message-based visits kept me connected to my doctor so I could seamlessly continue my treatment plan,” said Nicholas. “I’m grateful to Dr. Marmon that I didn’t have to choose between my skin and my safety during the pandemic.”

Dr. Marmon’s research on the use of text message-enabled video in the public safety-net setting and its effect on no-show rates is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telehealth offers an opportunity to reduce costs and improve access to care, especially for underserved populations and residents in rural areas.

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

“Telemedicine has reimagined how physicians care for their patients in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ken Tomecki, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Dermatologists are not only skin experts, but innovative thinkers who find sensible answers like text message-based visits that improves patient access and care.”

Learn more about Dr. Marmon’s work.

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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).