Derm Residency 2.0

By Denise Mann

Technology is changing the way that medical residents are trained and helping to create more competent and confident dermatologists and dermatologic surgeons in the process.

“Videos on how to do an excision or a flap can play a very big role in exposing residents to a procedure,” says Rebecca Tung, MD a dermatologist and the division director of dermatology at Loyola University Health System in Chicago. “Residents can watch the videos over and over again, and hit stop when they need more time to study a technique.” This way of learning also takes away the fear of asking questions in the operating room, she adds.

“It’s nice to have heard about procedures in lectures, meetings, and in operating rooms, but having the extra visual and audio input can make surgeons more confident and competent,” she says.

Importantly, today’s med students grew up on the Internet watching videos on YouTube so this type of learning really meets them where they are, she says. Today’s textbooks are often digital and downloadable so that they can be more frequently updated to keep pace with changes in medicine.

Despite some of these technological advances, residency education still remains largely siloed. “It would be nice to have broader Grand Rounds where we can share information on patients who are difficult to treat or unusual, and this would foster collaboration and make it easier to connect with colleagues on research or therapy projects.”

Meet the Golden Fleece

Other specialties are starting to do just that. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and ANZU have partnered to break down walls through a new Residency Education & Collaboration Platform slated to launch in July 2016.

“We built this product so it can be used by many different specialties, including dermatology, to cross collaborate with peer groups in real time,” says Barry Fernando, MD, a plastic surgeon in Phoenix, AZ and one of the founders of ANZU.

“Many residency programs still don’t leverage good quality technology,” he says. “They may download a Google drive app or Dropbox to amass information and then share it via email, but there is no interaction between different programs.”

The missing link, he says, is such cross collaboration between institutions.

“This will be the golden fleece.”


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The plan is to sign up at least 20 programs for this new collaborative plastic surgery residency network, he says. The platform provides access to educational resources, an independent Content Management System for each residency program, a networking app for all participating programs, an HTML-based web page builder for residents to generate/share multi-media notes, a “Virtual Journal Club,” and a search engine with specialty specific tagging and filters, among other features.

The network also allows affiliated associations such as ASAPS to reach—and teach—residents early on before they set up their practices or officially launch their careers.

Washington University in St. Louis was among the first to join the new plastic surgery residency network.

“It’s a residency tool of the future and a fantastic supplement to resident education,” says Terence M. Myckatyn, MD, an associate professor of surgery and director of the cosmetic surgery program at Washington University in St. Louis.

“The big benefit is that it synergizes a combination of platforms including peer-reviewed research, expert opinion and procedural videos,” he says. “Textbooks are outdated by the time they are printed and research articles are great, but don’t always put information into context.”

“In St. Louis, we do it our way, but now residents can see how procedures are done at other institutions and once they get out of training, they are able to essentially keep up and study innovation.”

Resident Scholarship Available for AADA Legislative Conference

The 2016 AADA Legislative Conference will take place September 11-13, in Washington, DC at the Willard InterContinental Hotel and offers participants—dermatologists and patient advocates—an opportunity to receive advocacy training sessions taught by health policy experts, discuss dermatology issues with colleagues, and spend a day meeting with US Senators, Representatives, and their staffs.

The AADA awards several scholarships to residents who commit to year-long involvement in AADA grassroots advocacy. Past award-winners have stayed active by participating in grassroots email campaigns, meeting with their district Congressional offices, and actively participating in AADA advocacy-focused teleconferences. Following the Legislative Conference, AADA staff will follow up with award-winners to discuss a checklist of grassroots activities.

Residents are not required to have any political knowledge or experience in order to attend or receive the scholarship. Advocacy trainings will be offered by a panel of health policy experts, which covers all aspects of the legislative process, as well as information about the legislators themselves.

To apply for a dermatology resident scholarship, visit Applications are due by Friday, July 15, 2016. For questions, e-mail Abigail Osborne at