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On March 28, 2024, Dr. Mona Sadeghpour volunteered her evening to meet with YoungMD connect members. The virtual gathering, attended by residents and medical students alike, provided an up-close opportunity to learn from a practicing professional in the field in a relaxed “Ask Me Anything” setting. Dr. Sadeghpour is a board-certified dermatologist and is fellowship-trained in laser and cosmetic surgery. She is the co-founder of SkinMed institute and has experience in both academics and private practice.

The evening began with introductions. Dr. Sadeghpour shared her story of her non-linear journey through her career, including difficult times during the pandemic and how that experience ultimately led to her opening her own practice.

There was an interest in all areas of her expertise. An early question that arose was about pitfalls that a young dermatologist should avoid, to which she responded, “don’t put too much pressure on yourself for your first job.” She discussed how many people (herself included), do not stay in their first job and that this is okay and actually very common, highlighting the importance of giving oneself leigh way during transition periods. It is not always easy to tell what the culture of a practice may be during an interview. Dr. Sadeghpour urged the viewers to talk to the people that may have left the practice in addition to those who are still there. She also suggested taking a locum tenens position with a practice before signing on full time will truly show if it is a practice you want to be at. She noted how important it is to work for good people and have adequate support staff, as these can have a strong impact your overall quality of life and job satisfaction.

The discussion transitioned to fellowships, and specifically cosmetic fellowship. Dr. Sadeghpour noted that she herself has always been an avid learner who enjoys diving deeply into different topics; this curiosity led to her fellowship journey into the “why” and “how” on what she was doing with lasers and other procedures. For insight into what being a fellow is like, she said that cosmetic fellowships often end up being “observerships,” given these are often elective procedures completed by the attending dermatologist. Fellows can still use these experiences which gives these “observerships” a strong educational component. Additionally, the publications, conferences, networking, and clinical trials exposure that came with being a fellow can further launch or enhance one’s career. Dr. Sadeghpour also touched on the different types of laser/cosmetic fellowships and the importance of knowing what training you are looking for and finding a program that aligns with those goals (whether it be laser-focus, injectable focus, surgical focus, etc.). Importantly, she recommended in-person preceptorships and joining different dermatologic societies, especially those who looking into fellowship.

Finally, the evening turned to questions regarding owning a private practice. A key phrase that Dr. Sadeghpour believes in is that you must “know your own biology,” meaning you know the type of person you are, what your limitations are, what your range is, and what your desires may be. Opening a private practice, she reiterated, is difficult, especially since many of the needed skill sets for operating a business aren’t taught in school A substantial amount of effort and even risk can be involved (Dr. Sadeghpour gave the example of not taking any salary for her first year). To operate a successful private practice, she said one just learn to balance tech capital (ie, automated systems), labor capital (ie, managing people), and money capital (ie, financial costs of starting a business). Importantly, she ended by recommending looking closely at the state where you will be working, focusing specifically on scope of practice laws and employee/employer laws.

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