AAD 2019 in D.C.: rapid evolution, changing education

By Bob Brodell, MD, chair of AAD Scientific Assembly Committee

The science of dermatology continues to evolve rapidly. Education is also changing. We live in a world where a significant percentage of medical students eschew the classroom in favor of digital content! The Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology is adjusting to these new realities. You will see more “hands-on” coursework, self-assessment sessions, and presentations featuring creative topics and innovative techniques. Still, some things will not change! The Annual Meeting will always have a large number of people getting together under one roof to renew friendships, share knowledge, and learn. The Scientific Assembly Committee understands the importance of the Annual Meeting as the preeminent event for the delivery of continuing education in dermatology. Of course, it is also important to our patients. We must ensure that each patient receives the best care that science has to offer. That’s what we did in 1938, that’s what we do today, and that’s what we will be doing 50 years from now.

Bob Brodell, MD

So, hold on to your hats, as the 2019 AAD Annual Meeting will be a whirlwind of educational offerings with updates on the latest advancements from across the specialty. One of the most sought-after events — the Plenary — will feature several of dermatology’s leading experts presenting topics that focus on the needs of clinicians. Crystal L. Mackall, MD, will dive into the topic of cellular therapeutics for the Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award lecture entitled, “Engineering T Cells for Cancer Therapy.” Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH, will examine the role of dermatologists who, aside from being health care providers, assume a variety of roles in the community. Using his experience in academics, as well as a U.S. Public Health Service officer, and as Deputy and Acting U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Lushniak will focus on “lessons learned.” Diane Thiboutot, MD, in her lecture “In Search of the Next Isotretinoin,” will provide a beacon of light for attendees. In his lecture “Less Toxic, More Effective: A Win-Win for Merkel Cell Carcinoma,” Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD, will discuss the rapidly increasing incidence of one of the most lethal skin cancers, Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

You will also be educated and entertained by our guest speaker, Robin Farmanfarmaian, whose lecture is titled, “Patient Empowerment in the Digital Age.” Robin is an entrepreneur and investor in cutting-edge technology companies. She is currently the vice president of Actavalon, a biotech company developing small molecule therapeutics. A lifelong philanthropist and sought-after mentor, she is the author of an Amazon number one best seller, “The Patient as CEO: How Technology Empowers the Healthcare Consumer.” Just perhaps, something you learn at this meeting will lead you to try a different hat on for size as you plan your future!

I look forward to seeing you at the AAD’s 2019 Annual Meeting. Don’t hesitate to contact me via email, or just “grab me” in the hallway onsite if you have ideas that will help us improve our Annual Meeting!