Robert T. Brodell, MD, FAAD, is an American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Patient Care Hero for working with colleagues at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Oxford to open a dermatology clinic in the Delta — an area of the state that previously did not have a dermatologist for nearly 100 miles.

Dr. Brodell and his colleagues in the department of dermatology collaborated with an existing medical clinic in a Delta high school classroom to offer dermatology services once a month, with 12 dermatologists each serving once a year. Another dermatologist augments the clinic by providing care at a university-run urgent care center in the Delta once a month; dates are staggered with the classroom clinic to ensure that dermatologic care is available every two weeks.

“When we realized the trouble Delta residents faced in accessing dermatology care, we knew we had to do something,” Dr. Brodell says in a news release. “Having a dozen dermatologists take this on together made it manageable for us to ensure consistent staffing, and we are happy to work together to meet this need.”

The clinic has provided needed dermatology care in the Delta, including melanoma diagnosis and treatment.

“After I noticed suspicious spots on my skin, I was able to make an appointment at the clinic immediately,” said one Cary, Mississippi-based resident, whose melanoma was diagnosed by a dermatologists at the clinic. “If the clinic didn’t exist, I may never have had those spots examined by a dermatologist.”

Other departments at the University of Mississippi Medical Center are also exploring ways to extend health care services to underserved communities.

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.

“Everyone should be able to get the care they need, but seeing a specialist can be a real challenge in rural areas,” says George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD, president of the AAD. “This clinic is an innovative and collaborative solution to ensure Delta residents have access to board-certified dermatologists’ expertise.”

To learn more about how Dr. Brodell and his colleagues are working with patients in the Delta, visit: https://www.aad.org/about/skinserious/carolyn-newhof.