75th anniversary of American Academy of Dermatology spotlights growth of specialty, commitment to education

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (March 1, 2013) —

As the world’s largest dermatologic association — the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) — celebrates 75 years of dedication to skin, hair and nail health, dermatologists are reminded how much the field of dermatology and the Academy have changed during this time. From its humble beginnings in 1938, the Academy has thrived and now is a leader in advocating for patients, its members and the specialty. 

“The tremendous growth of our membership over the last 75 years is a testament to the outstanding services the Academy has to offer,” said Daniel M. Siegel, MD, FAAD, president of the Academy. “As a long-standing member of the Academy, I am particularly proud to see how our humanitarian programs have expanded and flourished and have been embraced by so many members whose efforts make a difference in the lives of children and adults with skin, hair, and nail disorders.”

A few of the Academy’s most notable achievements include: 
  • Growth in membership. In 1938, 574 dermatologists became proud members of the American Academy of Dermatology and Syphilology (the word syphilology was later dropped in 1961) and its inaugural annual meeting in St. Louis attracted 283 members. Today, the Academy boasts more than 18,000 members worldwide (94 percent of whom are board-certified dermatologists in the United States) and the annual scientific meetings continue to break attendance records. In 2012, the Academy hosted the world’s largest dermatology meeting in San Diego, with more than 19,400 attendees.
  • Education matters. Educating physicians about the many facets of dermatologic conditions and providing educational activities that assist members in fulfilling their maintenance of certification and maintenance of licensure requirements are important aspects of the Academy’s commitment to quality dermatologic care for patients. Today’s Academy also has programs that educate government, patients, and the general public about skin, hair, and nail conditions. In addition, for more than seven decades, Academy members have been the leaders in medical research for dermatologic conditions and disease. In fact, dermatologists are credited with developing many common treatments and technologies widely used in patient care today, from cortisone and antifungal creams to harnessing the power of the laser for skin resurfacing and tattoo removal. 
  • Launch of humanitarian programs. Members of the Academy recognize the value of humanitarian services by volunteering their expertise and time and by providing financial support to help enrich the lives of people around the world. The Academy’s humanitarian programs include: Camp Discovery (a camp for kids with chronic skin conditions); the SPOT Skin Cancer™ initiative, which includes the National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Screening Program (providing more than 2.3 million free skin cancer screenings since 1985) and the Academy’s Shade Structure Program that has funded more than 260 shade structures across the country; and international programs, such as SkinCare for Developing Countries, which provides medical assistance in developing countries.
  • Investment in advocacy. Part of what sets the Academy apart is its ability to adapt to an ever-changing health care environment. Academy leaders realized early on the value of advocacy activities in giving dermatologists a strong voice in issues ranging from practice management to ensuring quality patient care, and in 2000, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) was formed to enable a comprehensive government relations program. The Washington office of the Academy is a driving force in advocating for dermatology with Congress, the White House, federal and state governmental regulatory agencies, and state legislatures and private payers, and serves as an invaluable resource for all Academy members. 
As the Academy commemorates its 75th anniversary throughout the year, one of the highlights includes an interactive timeline on its website (www.aad.org/75th) showcasing the changes that have taken place since its founding. In addition to the timeline, the 75th Anniversary Web page also provides the Academy’s history showcase videos, presidential tributes for each Academy president, and more information about special anniversary events and products.

Celebrating 75 years of advocating for dermatologic research and quality patient care.
The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), 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 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy 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. For more information, contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376) or visit www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).

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