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Across health care, increasing attention on disparities is leading to new opportunities to improve and expand patient care. In dermatology, several industry leaders have launched programs intended to increase equity and recognize previously under-represented groups.

Among the latest programs to launch is ProofPilot’s call for individuals from Black, Latinx, AAPI, and Native communities (BIPOC) to submit research ideas that focus on issues concerning BIPOC communities (

ProofPilot is a Software as a Service (SaaS) clinical trial research platform. The Open Invitation for Research is rolled out in partnership with the nonprofit group, Greater Gift.

The winner will receive training and access to perform their chosen research project on the ProofPilot platform completely free of charge, and, and in partnership with Greater Gift, will receive a minimum of $2,500 to support their research.

Aveeno has completed the second installment of its Skin Health Accelerator Startup, in partnership with ESSENCE. The program aims to help create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable skincare industry, and recognizes the power of Black female-identifying entrepreneurs in offering new solutions for all skin and hair types. (Read more about the winners on p. 30.)

VisualDx marked the one-year anniversary of Project IMPACT (Improving Medicine’s Power to Address Care and Treatment), a global effort to reduce disparities in medicine, highlight ways to bridge gaps of knowledge, and improve health care outcomes for patients of color ( Since its launch in March 2021, Project IMPACT has reached 1.5 million health care professionals and students globally. Inaugural members include the Skin of Color Society (SOCS) and New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Group. In all, Project IMPACT has eight collaborating organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Women’s Association, and the Student National Medical Association.

Dark skin comprises an average of just 4.5% of images in medical textbooks. Consequently, clinicians of all licensures and specialties are often insufficiently trained to recognize disease patterns in patients of color. “Project IMPACT was borne out of the concept that health care providers who diagnose and treat dermatologic conditions must be able to recognize disease in all skin colors,” says Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and Director of Clinical Impact at VisualDx.

VisualDx encourages students, educators, clinicians, and patients working toward greater health equity to “Take the Pledge” to commit to making an impact and share their stories on social media using the hashtag #ProjectIMPACT.

VISIBLE, launched by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, is a first-of-its-kind, large-scale prospective clinical study dedicated to people of color living with moderate to severe plaque and/or scalp psoriasis (PsO).

Mattel, the parent company for Barbie, has introduced a Ken doll with vitiligo as part of its 2022 Fashionistas line.

The Barbie Fashionistas line includes Barbie dolls with more variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities, and fashions. Barbie with vitiligo was one of the top five Fashionistas best sellers in the US when it was introduced into the Fashionistas line in 2020.

VISIBLE will further evaluate the efficacy and safety of Tremfya (guselkumab) in people of color to generate additional data and provide valuable information about disease burden and the psoriatic disease patient journey in this population. The VISIBLE study is designed to help promote more diverse, equitable and inclusive clinical research in PsO through new approaches to enrollment and retention, broader community engagement and new data components, the company says.

Janssen says it is partnering with community health centers, retail clinics, and local and national organizations to support communities in raising disease awareness and reducing potential obstacles to clinical study enrollment.

Additionally, Janssen is supporting Determi-Nation, a health movement featuring a diverse group of individuals working alongside Janssen to create solutions that will address the gaps in diagnosis and care that people of care with psoriatic disease experience (

Determi-Nation is new type of health movement that aims to raise awareness of psoriatic disease and to really correct the inequities that exist in diagnosis and in treatment for people of color. We are a diverse group of dermatologists, rheumatologists, patient advocates, nurse practitioners, and researchers who are working alongside Janssen to create solutions that will address these challenges,” says Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, FAAD, Associate Professor and Adjunct Professor of Dermatology at Howard University College of Medicine. “Currently, we are developing resources and tools that will help shorten the time to diagnosis and provide better access to care for people of color with plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.”

AbbVie donated CDN $3M to establish one of the first positions of its kind in the world—an AbbVie Chair in Ethnodermatology at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine. The Chair will drive collaborative academic research, provide advanced training to the next generation of dermatological practitioners, and lead outreach programs to better inform equitable, diverse and inclusive dermatological care in Canada and around the world.

Pathways Seeks to Increase Representation Among Dermatologists

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson has launching “Pathways: Inclusivity in Dermatology” to increase the number of practicing dermatologists in the US who are from the Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, which are underrepresented minorities (URM) in medicine

The plan is to double representation in next 5 years.

Pathways will work to create a more diverse and inclusive specialty by engaging Black, Latino, and Indigenous students from high school age through medical school in programming that builds the skills, knowledge, and interest to pursue a career in dermatology.

Through scholarship offerings, skills workshops, mentorship programs and leadership training, the initiative aims to increase the number of dermatology residents from Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities from approximately 100 residents to 250, or by more than 50 percent, by 2027. Dermatology is one of the more competitive medical specialties, and historically it has not drawn a large number of applicants from URM groups. According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2020, just 65 of the 796 applicants for dermatology residencies were Black or African American, and only 39 were Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin.

“In a field that focuses on skin, dermatology has a particular responsibility to identify and address racial inequities that influence health outcomes,” says Dr. Patricia Houston, Temerty Medicine’s Acting Dean and Vice-Dean, Medical Education, in a news release.”

Neutrogena’s Heroes of Skin Health Equity initiative publicly recognizes the work of individuals who are striving to make the world of skincare more equitable, partnering with them to help further their efforts and effectively close the “skin health equity gap” faced by many in the BIPOC community. Neutrogena says more than 68 million BIPOC Americans face disparities in skin health education, access to expertise and product for all skin types and tones.

Allergan Aesthetics, an AbbVie company, and Skinbetter Science have launched a new long-term, educational initiative—DREAM: Driving Racial Equity in Aesthetic Medicine—to further the principles of racial and ethnic diversity, inclusion, respect and understanding in the fields of dermatology and plastic surgery. They hope to start to bridge this gap in dermatology and plastic surgery with The National Racial Equity Medical Residency Curriculum.

The DREAM Initiative plans to convene Forces of Beauty Summits to help identify different perceptions of beauty among racial and ethnic groups, so that media, aesthetic providers, and corporations can better understand and meet the aesthetic needs of all patients.

The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance founded by Dove, National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty and Color of Change successfully advocated for the US House of Representatives to the CROWN Act of 2022, which protects against hair discrimination in workplaces and schools. The CROWN Act legislation (H.R. 2116) provides legal protection from hair discrimination based on the texture of natural hair or hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists, bantu knots and Afros. The bill would require that discrimination on this basis be treated as if it were race or national origin discrimination under Titles VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and certain other Federal civil rights laws.

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