Current Editors: Renat Ahatov, Michael Phan, and Andrea Francis

(Please email editors if there is blog-worthy news that you would like to see shared)

Past Editors: Elise Weisert, Michael Ryan, Keith Wagner, Tim Allen, Kristyna Gleghorn, Dung Mac, Alex Acosta, William Tausend, Sheila Jalalat, Rebecca Philips, Chelsea Altinger, Lindsey Hunter, Alison Wiesenthal, Leslie Scroggins, Mara Dacso, Ashley Group, Fadi Constantine, Emily Fridlington, Joslyn Witherspoon, Tasneem Poonawalla.

Monday, September 30, 2013

American Board of Dermatology 2013 Board Certification Test Passing Rate

The American Board of Dermatology (ABD) reported to the Association of Professors in Dermatology (APD) at their 2013 annual fall meeting in Chicago that of the 446 applicants taking the one day examination during July, 435 passed (97.5%). However, the pass rate was higher for first time test takers (99.8%).

2013 NRMP Dermatology Analysis

Attendees at the annual fall Association of Professors of dermatology (APD) look forward to annual presentations by Dr. Alexa Kimball, the Senior Vice President of Mass General Physicians Organization and Vice Chair of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School. In the 2013 match, matching senior US medical students received a median of 10 interviews, while those who failed to match received 5. Independent dermatology applicants (those who were not US MS4s) received fewer interviews than US MS4s, and those matching were offered a median of 6, while those that did not match were only offered 1 interview. Only 50% of independent applicants matched last year, which may indicate that it is becoming more difficult for independent dermatology applicants to obtain a dermatology residency position. Last year, dermatology programs only needed to rank three applicants to fill each position that they offered in the NRMP.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Approach to Dermatology Residency Interview at Loma Linda University

A presentation at the September 2013 Dermatology Teachers Exchange Group meeting in Chicago detailed a novel approach to dermatology interviews for residency positions at Loma Linda University (Leong T, Pugliese S, Torres A. A Unique Interview Requirement) over the past 7 years. Those invited to interview are required to present a brief PowerPoint presentation about themselves to those interviewing resident applicants. The authors thought that this interview requirement provided additional information about applicants related to success in residency, including skill in public speaking and social interactions.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dermatology Interest Group Association (DIGA) Officer Positions

The Dermatology Interest Group Association (DIGA) is a student run, non-profit corporation committed to providing volunteering, networking, and research opportunities to students interested in dermatology. I am a previous Dermatology Interest Group Association (DIGA) board member who will now be assisting the president this year. Due to transitioning issues, DIGA started the 2013-2014 academic year slower than in previous years. We are currently seeking medical students interested in a dermatology career to serve as a DIGA officer in the positions of: Vice President, Public Relations/Fundraising, Midwestern Regional Director, and Western Regional Director. A brief summary of each positions' roles is provided below. If you are interested in applying to one of these positions, please complete and send DIGA's Officer Application with a copy of your CV to 4griffijlg@gmail.com. Applications will be reviewed and candidates selected on a rolling application basis.

To receive the application, please send an email to utmbdig@gmail.com

Brief Statement of Duties:

Vice President - This person will learn how to perform the duties of the President through assisting the President and Webmaster in the management of the organization and selection of next year's officers. Requirement: 1st to 3rd year medical student. 

Public Relations/Fundraising: The position's primary responsibility is continuing and starting new fundraising initiatives. He/she will also assist the Secretary in the management of DIGA's facebook page/twitter account and creation of semi-annual newsletters/emails to Dermatology Interest Groups (DIGs). These newsletters will include DIGA's activities, affiliated DIGs initiatives, and relevant/interesting updates in the field of dermatology. 

Regional Directors: Officers for each respective region of the country are responsible for collecting DIGs contact information. In addition, he/she will assist the Interview Database Director in contacting regional dermatology residencies to inquire about the program's participation in the Residency Interview Database this year. Participating programs will complete a brief (less than 1 minute) online survey as to the date of their interviews, pre-interview dinner requirements, etc.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me via email.


James L. Griffith, MD
DIGA Board Member
Email: 4griffijlg@gmail.com

Friday, September 27, 2013

UTMB Medical Student Presents Research At Dermatology Teachers Exchange Group

Sheila Jalalat, UTMB MS4 and DIG President presented podium and poster educational research at the September 2013 meeting of the Dermatology Teachers Exchange Group in Chicago. Her presentation was titled, “University of Texas Medical Branch Department of Dermatology Procedural and Surgical Skills Workshop.” Her coauthors on the presentation were Drs. Julie Martin and Richard Wagner. Dr. Martin is currently in private dermatology practice in Austin, Texas and Dr. Wagner is the Edgar B. Smith Professor of Dermatology and UTMB Dermatology Program Director.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Notes from DIG Meeting with Dr. Wagner on 9/17/13

UTMB DIG would like to thank Dr. Wagner for his very informative Q&A session on Dermatology residency and other related topics such as research, fellowships and electives. Below is a summary of the items Dr. Wagner discussed with the Dermatology Interest Group on 917/13.

1. Residency/Applicant Information:
a.   Dermatology is an extremely competitive field. Applicants who match into dermatology often have many publications, research experiences, volunteer activities, superior USMLE Step 1 scores, and belong to the AOA Medical Honor Society.  Many schools have USMLE Step1 cutoff to decrease the application pool. Of note, the dermatology department at UTMB interviews all of their fourth year medical student applicants. Overall, UTMB interviews around 30 applicants per year. In addition, UTMB is one of the few schools that offer the opportunity to do an Acting Internship in Dermatology as well as other courses such as Dermatology in the Cinema.

2. Research
a.   Research is highly encouraged for dermatology applicants and there are many opportunities to get involved in research at UTMB, both within and outside of the dermatology department. The key is to develop a project that matches your interests. There are diverse interests represented in the UTMB dermatology department that you can pursue, such as topics in general adult and pediatric dermatology, dermatopathology, dermatologic surgery and cosmetic dermatology.
b.   It is never too early to start a research project – you can even start during your first year. Working on case reports and reviews is a great way to start learning to research articles and work on writing skills. The UTMB School of Medicine allows you to participate in a summer research elective between 1st and 2nd year. This is a good way to gain a research mentor, compete for various research awards, and perhaps even have the opportunity to get published. You can also participate in the Honors Research Program in Dermatology. The official deadline for the Honors Proposal is 12/31 of the third year, but extensions may be possible with permission from Dr. Simon Lewis. This research is typically completed and presented by April of the fourth year.

3. Step 2:
a.   Some students with lower step1 scores can take advantage of the opportunity of doing very well on step2 and in a sense “make up” for their former standardized test score.
b.   Step 2 scores are not required in order to apply for or to receive interviews from residency programs, but some programs are required to have your step 2 scores in order to rank you.

4. Don’t get in the first time?
a.   If you don't match the first year and dermatology is really your passion, don’t give up. It is very possible to match into Dermatology the second or third time around. There are a number of Dermatology research fellowships in the country that you can pursue after your intern year. The important thing is to be productive throughout the fellowship with multiple publications and the opportunity to become an expert on a particular topic of interest will add to your application. There are also alternative routes to becoming a dermatologist. For example, a pathologist who has completed a dermatopathology fellowship or a pediatrician may be attractive applicants to certain programs.

5   5. Dermatology Fellowships:
     a.   There are a number of fellowships that you can pursue after a dermatology residency, such as Pediatric Dermatology, Dermatopathology, Procedural Dermatology and Immunodermatology.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

California Medical Student Co-authors Goeckerman Regimen DVD

Rishu Gupta has published a 12 minute DVD (“The Goeckerman Regimen for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Psoriasis”) about the Goeckerman Regimen that was co-authored by Drs. John Koo and Wilson Liao from the University of California San Francisco Psoriasis and Skin Treatment Center. This DVD was mailed to dermatology program directors for teaching the Goeckerman Regimen to dermatology residents.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

UTMB Now Charging Visiting Medical Students for Electives

The UTMB DIG has learned that UTMB is now charging visiting U.S. medical students a $50 "course fee" for elective rotations in addition to several other administrative charges ($5 for pager rental and $5 for a UTMB identification badge).

UTMB's Chief Financial Officer Resigns

According to last week's Galveston Daily News (Elder, L. UTMB's CFO Elger resigns: Officials mum about mundane aspects of departure. Galveston Daily News, Friday, September 20, 2013, pages A1, A4). Mr. William Elger started working for UTMB in 2009.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Front Page Story About MD Anderson Faculty in Houston Chronicle

The Thursday, September 19, 2013 edition of the Houston Chronicle  has a front page story by reporters Eric Berger and Todd Ackerman (M.D. Anderson chief under fire from faculty, Houston Chronicle, 9/19/13, pages A1, A14). Results from a new faculty survey that were presented at the 9/18/13 faculty senate meeting indicated that faculty thought current administrative demands for more clinical revenue were compromising  patient safety. In addition, 70% of the faculty responding to the survey indicated they were considering leaving the institution. University of Texas System Chancellor, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, attended the faculty meeting. The updated article is available at: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/M-D-Anderson-president-comes-under-fire-at-4825992.php

Monday, September 16, 2013

REMINDER: Tomorrow is the First DIG Meeting of the Year with Program Director Dr. Wagner!

Join us for a Q&A Session with Dr. Richard Wagner, the UTMB Department of Dermatology Residency Program Director. This session is a great way to get information on topics such as residency applications, matching, research and more!

Where: Dermatology conference room, 4.112 McCullough Building

When: Tuesday, September 17th at 5PM

Have any questions? Email Sheila Jalalat at szjalala@utmb.edu

Common Courtesy Sometimes Lacking by Medical Students

Dr. Alan Rockoff, a dermatologist, related his experience with a dermatology elective student in his September 2013 column (Under My Skin: Inconsideration. Skin & Allergy News, September 2013, page 9). A medical student who was going to specialize in family medicine requested a dermatology elective with Dr. Rockoff. The elective was arranged, but when Dr. Rockoff contacted the student the day before the elective was to start, the student responded that he had found another elective. Dr. Rockoff thought that the student’s behavior was inconsiderate and let the student know. The student apologized.

All of the communications between Dr. Rockoff and this student appear to have been conducted through email. Good communication requires that there is closure on each email. Students should always try to remember to close each loop so that each person understands what is going on. It would have only taken a minute for this student to email Dr. Rockoff when he changed plans for his final elective. That would have been the courteous and professional response.

American Medical News Stops Publication

Subscribers were surprised to receive their last issue of American Medical News (215,000 subscribers) on September 9, 2013. After 55 years of publication and a reduction of publication frequency to biweekly in 2009, this medical newspaper was not able to continue due to finances.


Congratulations to Drs. Mara Dacso, Julie Martin, and Leslie Scroggins for passing the certification examination given by the American Board of Dermatology on their first attempt! Dr. Dacso is currently a dermatopathology fellow and Drs. Martin and Scroggins are now in private dermatology practices.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

First DIG Meeting of the Year with Program Director Dr. Wagner!

Join us for a Q&A Session with Dr. Richard Wagner, the UTMB Department of Dermatology Residency Program Director. This session is a great way to get information on topics such as residency applications, matching, research and more!

Where: Dermatology conference room, 4.112 McCullough Building

When: Tuesday, September 17th at 5PM

Have any questions? Email Sheila Jalalat at szjalala@utmb.edu