beverly hills

Although many children follow their parents’ paths to medical school, the specialty of dermatology seems to have distinctive family appeal. Here, we feature Ronald Moy, MD, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif., and his daughter Lauren Moy, MD, who practices with him. Both are experts in facial plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, and Mohs surgery.

Practical Dermatology: What inspired you to pursue a career in dermatology?  

Dr. Ronald Moy, MD: I was inspired to pursue a career in dermatology because of my love of surgery and procedures and for the research opportunities dermatology presented.  

PD: How much, if at all, did you encourage your daughter to pursue a medical career in general and dermatology in particular?

RM: I neither pushed, nor encouraged Lauren into dermatology, and when she was in medical school, I encouraged her to explore all the medical specialties. I think she saw that I love what I do as a facial cosmetic and Mohs surgeon. Once in high school, she said “Dad, you do not work that hard, you just joke around with your friends and patients all day.” I love that she now loves what she does as a facial plastic and Mohs surgeon. She is a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery and boarded by the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery.It is a pleasure seeing her perform neck lifts, facelifts, blepharoplasty and Mohs surgeries.She is definitely the most skillful surgeon I ever worked with. We review pre- and post-op photos together, and her results are superb. I am very proud of her professional accomplishments.

PD: What do you think are some of the notable developments in dermatology training and practice since the time you began your career to when your daughter entered the field?

RM: The new technology we have for skin tightening and resurfacing did not exist when I began in practice. It was an exciting time to experience the beginning of the laser procedures and to hear Roy Geronemus’ and Rox Anderson’s initial fractional carbonic dioxide laser lectures. The advancements of face-lifting surgery and the cosmetic options are wonderful tools for cosmetic surgeons that give our patients a much more natural result than was achievable when I began my medical career. The ability to perform eye lift surgeries along with the improvements in tightening and resurfacing procedures offer higher patient satisfaction than the old procedures of simply pulling the skin. We also can prevent skin cancers with laser resurfacing. Today, dermatologists can offer patients ways to improve skin health with a sophisticated medical menu of newer technology, new creams and oral supplements.

PD: What aspects of dermatology training and practice have stayed the same?

RM: The differential diagnosis of skin diseases is the same in training and in practice. There are newer treatments for psoriasis and eczema.

PD: Did you advise your daughter on any pearls and pitfalls of practicing dermatology?

RM: Since we practice in the competitive city of Beverly Hills, we have to be more accessible to our patient population. My philosophy, which Lauren also shares, is that we are available for patient direct communications.She is not only a skillful surgeon, but she is well-liked and respected by our staff and patients.

As for pitfalls, all of us in dermatology need to ensure that we offer patients realistic medical outcomes.

PD: What do you enjoy most about your daughter following in your footsteps and also share your practice?

RM: It is a pleasure seeing her flourish in dermatology on a daily basis.I also share an office with her where we can discuss medical cases throughout the day. This year, I also will share the American Academy of Dermatology podium with Lauren as we present lectures on neck lifts and facial plastic surgery.

On the personal side, I get to see short videos of my grandson during my lunchtime.

Dr. Lauren Moy shares how early exposure to the “magic” of Mohs surgical repairs through her father’s practice inspired her to follow in his footsteps.

PD: As a child, and as a teenager, what did you think about your father’s job?Did that impact your decision to choose a medical career?

Dr. Lauren Moy: As a child I saw how my father had such passion for his job and I grew up watching his surgery videos. It was almost magical how some of the flaps and repairs after Mohs surgery worked, and I loved seeing the results. I think watching him enjoy what he does influenced me to pursue medicine at an early age. So, in high school I decided to apply to a medical program where you are accepted into college and medical school simultaneously.

PD: Did you know on entering medical school that you wanted to pursue dermatology? Why or why not?

LM: I actually did not have a specific plan to enter dermatology at the start. I kept an open mind in medical school during rotations. I knew I loved procedures, but I also wanted to talk to patients and develop long-lasting relationships. During summers, I conducted research at Harbor UCLA and the University of Southern California, where I was exposed to the basic science and rare genetic and infectious diseases within dermatology. This work fascinated me, and opened up a larger concept of dermatology and how to help people.

These experiences also showed me the multifaceted nature of dermatology. Our specialty is unique because it integrates so much of medicine--infectious disease, autoimmune/autoinflammatory disease, and surgery--with some of the nicest and grateful patients and the best colleagues.

PD: What are some differences about your dermatology training/medical school experience compared to your father’s experience?

LM: I think that my dermatology training at Chicago was special because of my mentor and program director at the time Rebecca Tung. She was so supportive, and her knowledge and passion for dermatology inspired me to love everything about my residency. We worked at a large VA and academic hospital with amazing surgical/Mohs training, as well as injectable training to help HIV patients with lipodystrophy. My program also had a strong cosmetic clinic that allowed us to see many different providers with different injecting styles and multiple lasers that provided hands-on experience at the residency level that was not available when my father entered the field.

Training in the east coast and Midwest also are different experiences than the west coast, in my opinion. I think learning in a more formal and structured environment found in many east coast settings has helped me to be very methodical and structured in how I practice day to day.

PD: How have these evolutions in training informed how you practice? How do you think your practice style is similar to your father’s? How is it different?

LM: I think being a woman gives me an innately different perspective and aesthetic. I also love newer techniques such as integrating PRP/PRF as well. However, my father and I are similar in our belief that less is more and a provides more natural look. We also both love data and science, so we’re very evidence-based in our practice and avoid jumping on the bandwagon with the latest trends, but I also love tuning in to assess the newest medications, technologies and techniques.

PD: What are some of the benefits (expected and unexpected) about having a parent in dermatology and working with your father in practice?

LM: So far, sharing a practice with my father has been both educational and fun, especially operating and doing surgeries together. I also really enjoy when longtime patients of his come to the office and we can see them together. We have always enjoyed competing in tennis, and now we have a new way to push each other to do our best.I think my father also enjoys when I drive him to work, but sometimes he eats all my snacks!

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