What does it mean to you to be a dermatologist? How has the specialty evolved over the years?
Dr. Crutchfield: As a physician, I take great pride in specializing in the anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, and treatment of skin. Many great dermatologists came before me, maintaining the integrity of and advancing the specialty of dermatology. Nothing has been more fulfilling than my time as a graduate student in molecular biology at the Mayo Clinic, where I studied immunologic receptors, PCR manipulation, and many other molecules that that I now use such as biologic agents, botulinum, growth factors, and others to treat my patients. It is truly a story of working one's way from the bench to the bedside.
In a recent newspaper interview I was asked why aesthetic medicine is so popular today. I responded, “It's Simple. We now have treatments that work, providing significant results for our patients who want improvement in their health and appearance.” Knowing all the alternatives to where I may have ended up, and knowing the support it took from my family, including my parents, who are both physicians, I feel so privileged to be a dermatologist able to help and serve the patients that come to me for their care.
Since you are known for your comprehensive branding strategies, can you talk about the significance of molding one's brand in private practice and finding the right messages to offer patients?
Dr. Crutchfield: The key to branding medical care is to provide the highest quality treatment for your patients and to market your services honestly and consistently. I always endeavor to structure our marketing materials in a very simple, elegant, and effective manner. All of our marketing must answer these three questions from the patient's perspective, in this exact order: 1.) What can you do for me? 2.) Why should I trust you? and 3.) How do I make an appointment?
I use consistent marketing across all media, including our website, print marketing, telecast, radio, and all varieties of social media. A recent development is that many of the most prominent and well-trained physicians in the country are concerned that some activities by physicians and non-physicians alike appear to be acting to dilute the integrity of our profession. I am working with this group of world-class medical doctors in an organization called Doctors for the Practice of Safe and Ethical Aesthetic Medicine (SafeandEthicalDoctors.org), which is dedicated to the highest standards in aesthetic dermatology.
What is the most satisfying aspect of being a dermatologist?
Dr. Crutchfield: I derive satisfaction from being a dermatologist in six critical areas rather than from a single aspect. Those areas are:
1. Variety. I see patients of all ages with all kinds of medical
needs. My practice is 80 percent medical dermatology, 20 percent
2. Certainty. I use treatment programs for my patients shown to produce consistent, successful results.
3. Significance. As a board-certified dermatologist, I feel important and needed. The Mayo Clinic recently published that the top reason for doctor visits are skin concerns, yet as specialists, dermatologists comprise only one percent of all physicians in America.
4. Growth. With the rapid advance of medical treatments and aesthetic procedures, I am constantly able to expand my understanding, knowledge, and ability to help my patients improve and even prolong their lives.
5. Connection. I feel a great sense of connection to both my staff and to our patients. I value our staff and try to make the working environment as pleasant and productive as possible, in fact, we were selected by Minnesota Business Magazine as one of “The Top 100 Companies to Work for 2013”. I look forward to going to work every day, which is a true blessing.
6. Contribution. I cannot measure the immense sense of satisfaction I get from serving others. As a clinical professor of dermatology for the University of Minnesota, I enjoy teaching medical students and residents. The educational process I engage in as a professor makes me a better doctor. As a physician, I am humbled and truly privileged to help provide solutions to the needs of my patients. As a colleague I have co-authored a textbook of dermatology (Clinical Atlas of 101 Common Skin Diseases) and as a parent I have co-authored a book on sun protection for children (Little Charles Hits a Home Run). As a member of the community, I am honored to be able to contribute to my community's health by authoring a weekly newspaper health care information column and supporting important charitable organizations and causes. I am fortunate enough to have a career that is immensely fun and makes a real difference.