Dr. Torres reflects on accomplishments during his term as president

Abel Torres, MD, JD, MBA

AAD President Abel Torres, MD, JD, MBA, introduced a new public relations campaign that is designed to improve the image of dermatologists and the specialty, during his President’s Address at the Sunday Plenary.

“As you know, the reality of what we do as dermatologists does not match the perception of our specialty in the eyes of many patients, fellow specialties, insurers, and government,” Dr. Torres said. “Today begins our image campaign to turn that around.”

The launch included a video that features patients discussing how their skin conditions affected them and their families, focusing on the important role dermatologists played in their lives.

“We are going to be using this video in conjunction with various media, public service announcements, and events as a first step in narrowing the gap between perception and reality in today’s world of dermatology,” Dr. Torres said.

Dr. Torres cited the growth of the DataDermTM clinical data registry and the launch of the Practice Management Center as other Academy achievements during his term. DataDerm currently has information on more than 6 million patient visits and about 3 million unique patients, provided from more than 1,800 providers and using more than 40 electronic health record systems.

“DataDerm, along with the work of the Practice Management Center, allows us to get help with prior authorization, access to medications, and treatments, and — so important for so many — address the nagging problem of those unrealistic narrow networks,” Dr. Torres said.

In a closing appropriate for a meeting near the Magic Kingdom, Dr. Torres’ chief resident, Angela Funovits, MD, helped by performing a magic trick in which a bowling ball fell to the floor from her drawing of a ball.

“My challenge to you — us — is to re-assess how our perceptions often misdirect our actions and our judgment in treating our patients,” Dr. Torres said. “The point is how easily we can be led by our perceptions to go along with certain ideas that we naturally accept as being true.

“Just a few details can guide the way that we think and lead us to misjudgments. When we don’t look beyond our pre-established judgments and biases, we can fail to see the bigger and more important picture. What I encourage all of us to do is to take a closer look at the viewpoints we hold and the viewpoints of those around us. We might find that they hold more weight than we realize.”

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