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Wisconsin physicians honored for cross specialty collaboration to advance skin cancer treatment


Doctors at the University of Wisconsin implemented a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to skin cancer treatment

ROSEMONT, Ill. (Sept. 18, 2019) —The American Academy of Dermatology has honored dermatologist Gloria Xu, MD, PhD, FAAD, and oncologist Mark Albertini, MD, as Patient Care Heroes for their leadership in launching a melanoma tumor board to optimize care for melanoma patients at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The board brings together a range of specialists who collaborate to determine diagnoses, treatment recommendations and follow-up care for patients diagnosed with melanoma—the most serious type of skin cancer. The group, consisting of oncologists, pathologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists and dermatologists, meets twice a month to discuss complex cases for which coordination between specialists is essential to enhance patient care.

Dr. Xu, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in skin cancer treatment, identified and organized the areas of expertise needed to better coordinate melanoma care. Her close interactions with and ability to engage different specialties have been key for the tumor board’s success.

“The melanoma tumor board provides a forum for all the specialties to meet and put our heads together and debate the best course of action for a particular patient,” Dr. Xu said. “Patient care—including accurate diagnosis, appropriate timing of surgery, consideration of medical oncology treatment options and follow-up care—benefits from our interdisciplinary coordination.”

Dr. Albertini, an oncologist and melanoma researcher, serves on the melanoma tumor board with Dr. Xu. According to Dr. Albertini, the initiative benefits both physicians and patients.

“Without the tumor board, these robust discussions between physicians wouldn’t happen given complex schedules, competing demands and other factors that are extremely complicated to coordinate,” Dr. Albertini said. “Dr. Xu was relentless in her effort to launch the melanoma tumor board and keep it running.”

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.

“When treating patients for melanoma, real-time coordination between specialists vastly improves the care we can provide, which translates to improved patient outcomes,” said board-certified dermatologist George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD. “The melanoma tumor board is a great example of what physicians from different backgrounds can accomplish when we break down silos and collaborate.”

Learn more about how Drs. Xu and Albertini worked together.

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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).