By Mark Lebwohl, MD
President, American Academy of Dermatology
I look forward to greeting you at the 74th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. I’m particularly proud to be at the helm when our eyes are focused on the largest dermatology meeting of the year.
I’m no stranger to Washington. Last July, I had the privilege to travel to Capitol Hill with our colleague and fellow dermatologist, Steve Katz, MD, the director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). In our meetings with key U.S. senators and representatives, we educated these leaders about the importance of funding medical research and the role this research has played in developing treatments and cures for so many of our patients.
I made this the AAD/A’s “Year of the Patient,” and a substantial part of that has involved strengthening our relationships with patient organizations during this year. I’ve been encouraged that so many of the patient organizations have partnered with us in our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. The importance of patient organizations in forwarding our goals cannot be overstated as they offer the real-life perspectives that are so critically important in helping show that our advocacy efforts are not so much about us, but about our patients. So I want to take this opportunity to again thank the patients groups for supporting our efforts.
Our AAD/A Washington office has been a strong resource — in coalition with other powerful groups like the AMA — to help secure numerous federal and state policy victories this year, including: permanent repeal of Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth formula (SGR), preservation of global periods, a delay in ICD-10 penalties, the introduction of narrow networks legislation, and advancements in patient access to treatments. We all owe our D.C. office a great debt of thanks, and I think it’s fitting that we are having our Annual Meeting on their home turf.
The meeting will be preceded on Thursday by an International Day dedicated to hearing from invited speakers from around the world. We expect them to leave us with valuable pearls of knowledge from their home countries. I’m pleased, as I know you will be, with the contents of the scientific program, and this is in no small part due to the wonderful and resourceful efforts of Ilona Frieden, MD, planning the scientific program. She and the Scientific Assembly Committee have provided a program that is comprehensive in scope and designed to meet the needs of all those individuals who associate themselves with the superb specialty of dermatology. I appreciate the opportunity to have served as your president. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and look forward to the many exciting things the Academy has set as goals for the future.