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ASDSA Alerts Nation’s Governors to New Trend in Anti-transgender Legislation

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) sent a letter to all 50 state governors along with legislative leaders, alerting them to the increase in anti-transgender legislation that is proliferating in state legislatures across the country.

After Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, ASDSA felt the need to voice its concern, as procedural dermatology is an important aspect of gender affirmation treatment.

Although some of the bills moving through state legislatures seek to protect the transgender community, many of them are similar to the new law in Arkansas. “This type of legislation takes away physician and patient autonomy to choose treatment options, emboldens other states to pass similar laws and does permanent damage to the gender diverse population since we know lack of access to quality health care is directly linked to the high rate of suicide in this population,” says ASDSA President Mathew Avram, MD, JD, in a news release.

Mona Gohara, MD, chair of the ASDS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Work Group, echoes these concerns. “It is the opinion of organized medicine that denying gender affirming care to transgender people can cause devastating, life-changing outcomes and mental health crises, which could result in suicide. Governors must do everything they can to protect their transgender citizens, which includes vetoing any of these dangerous and medically unfounded bills that come across their desk.”

In November 2020, the ASDS/ASDSA Board of Directors approved the organization’s DEI position statement, which includes pledging to support policies that ensure nondiscrimination and are sensitive to the health and well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ)/Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) individuals and enhance the health of LGBTQ/SGM people.

ASDSA will continue to monitor state legislation that impacts the health of the LGBTQ/SGM population and how dermatologic surgeons and their patients may be impacted.

Dermatological Advocates Present Dr. Adam Friedman with Advocacy Leadership Award

The Derma Care Access Network (DCAN), a national non-profit coalition advocating for patient access to optimal dermatological care, is recognizing Adam Friedman, MD with its inaugural Advocacy Leadership Award for his work as a passionate advocate and innovator in the field of dermatology for more than 10 years. The award, which will be presented at a live award ceremony later this year, recognizes his contributions and leadership in advocating for better patient-centered care, access, and education in the field of dermatology.

The DCAN Advocacy Leadership Award is awarded to someone who demonstrates relentless dedication and commitment to DCAN’s mission to promote better skin health through advocacy and public policies. These include:

  • Encouraging the advancement of dermatological science and innovation
  • Supporting the education of patients, health care providers, and other stakeholders
  • Promoting the development of improved means of preventing and treating skin disease
  • Furthering access to appropriate prevention and treatment options for all patients.

“The Derma Care Access Network has been an incredible vehicle for working with colleagues both in dermatology and industry to achieve a unified goal: Ensuring that patients can receive the treatments their health care providers prescribe. The struggle is real, one we must fight and invest in daily. I am honored to be recognized for this work,” Dr. Friedman says.

Mike Walsh, DCAN Executive Director adds, “Dr. Friedman is a dedicated advocate who works tirelessly to ensure patients can access the tailored treatment they deserve. His passion and dedication to proactively improving access to patient-centered dermatological care provides the spark that galvanizes the derm community to address policy barriers.”

Dr. Friedman is currently chair of the Dermatology Department at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences and also oversees its residency program. His academic accomplishments also include roles as director of translational research and director of the Supportive Onco-Dermatology Program at George Washington University. He serves as president of the medical advisory board of DCAN and has been involved in the organization’s strategic development since its launch in 2017. He is also a member of Practical Dermatology® magazine’s editorial board.

Survey: Parents Extremely Worried About the Physical and Emotional Toll that Severe Acne Takes on Teens

Parents are very worried about the effects of severe acne on their teens, according to a new survey sponsored by Sun Pharma, in collaboration with the American Acne and Rosacea Society (AARS).

The survey, which polled 250 parents of teenagers with severe nodular or cystic acne, showed that the vast majority of respondents—at least 9 in 10—are worried about their child’s physical, emotional, and social wellness, as well as how these factors affect family dynamics.

Ninety-three percent of respondents worry that severe acne will leave their children’s faces scarred, and 88 percent shared concern about the impact on their child’s social life and mental health. Fifty percent of parents also said they are worried about how their child’s plight might impact the rest of the family, and 70 percent worry about their child’s siblings getting severe acne. Although almost all respondents indicated they had taken their child to a dermatologist, or were planning to do so, more than half believed they should have seen a doctor sooner, and 70 percent said they sometimes feel guilty for not seeking earlier help. The survey was conducted online from October 29 through November 5, 2020 by Regina Corso Consulting.

“These survey results underscore the importance of teenagers with nodular or cystic acne seeing a dermatologist and starting effective treatment as soon as possible, to avoid the possibility of lifelong physical scars and emotional distress,” says Hilary Baldwin, MD, medical director of the Acne Treatment and Research Center in Brooklyn, NY, and past president of the AARS, in a news release.

“As a board-certified dermatologist, and as a parent of two children who have dealt with severe acne, I can honestly say parents cannot fully understand what their teenagers are going through. Timely intervention can help the child who is suffering from this condition, as well as minimize potential negative impact on their whole family,” adds Dr. Baldwin, who is also a clinical associate professor of Dermatology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center.

The survey findings also show how the COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed effect on the lives of teenagers and families affected by severe acne. On the one hand, 67 percent of parents agreed that the cessation of in-school learning has been great for their child, as that has helped them avoid the embarrassment that can result from interacting with peers in person. On the other hand, 53 percent of parents said online instruction was worse for their child because of the way remote learning platforms heighten the focus on participants’ faces. Whereas 32 percent of parents said their child has been bullied in person because of their severe acne, almost one in five said their child has been cyber-bullied.

“These survey results also mean that the severity of a child’s acne is not just based on a clinicians’ assessment but of the patients own perception as well,” says AARS President and Louisville KY-based dermatologist J. Mark Jackson, MD, FAAD. “Early appropriate intervention by dermatologists can prevent long-term sequalae. We are grateful to Sun Pharma for their commitment to patients and for supporting this survey highlighting the importance of taking this condition seriously.”


Historical events and recent developments contribute to some patients’ skepticism of medicine in general and dermatology specifically. A panel of dermatologists and industry executives participated in a roundtable discussion about the best approaches to expand inclusivity in research, clinical trials, and patient care. It will take a concerted effort to overcome challenges and improve representation for all.

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