The Skin of Color Society (SOCS), an international professional organization of physicians dedicated to promoting excellence in skin of color dermatology, reports record levels of organizational growth in terms of membership, mentorship, research, educational initiatives and media outreach. At its recent annual business meeting held in conjunction with the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, SOCS President Seemal R. Desai, MD, reviewed 2017-2018 highlights including:
- Professional membership has doubled since 2015, and has grown to 436 members from 29 countries around the world (up from 21 countries in 2017), with a sharp rise in membership among residents and research fellows.
- The SOCS has increased engagement with medical students through the medical school awareness program, helping them secure residencies with a year-by-year guide available on www.skinofcolorsociety.org.
- SOCS has expanded its skin of color dermatology mentorship program to include a record 78 mentors from 10 countries who are available to share their expertise with dermatology residents and young dermatologists.
- SOCS dermatologists participated in a successful inaugural partnership with Procter & Gamble on its Science Behind Symposium, involving mentors Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD and Susan C. Taylor, MD and mentees Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc and Pooja Sodha, MD.
- The 2018 SOCS Research Award was given to Shawn Kwatra, MD Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, for his project: “Molecular Basis of Itch in African Americans.”
- A team of SOCS leaders shared their expertise with NYC-based editors at the Society’s 3rd Annual Media Day, which was moderated by Lee Thomas, Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, author and vitiligo patient advocate. SOCS members who presented expert talks at this exciting, well-attended event included: Drs. Seemal R. Desai; Susan C. Taylor; Valerie Callender; Maritza Perez; and Andrew Alexis. Nada Elbuluk, MD and Babar Rao, MD also participated as supporting experts.
- The SOCS gratefully recognizes outgoing Board of Directors Members: Drs. Gary Brauner, Babar K. Rao and Heather Woolery-Lloyd, and approved new officers: SOCS & SOCS Foundation Board of Directors: Drs. Cheryl Burgess, Maritza Perez, and Valerie M. Harvey, whose terms expire in 2021.
Following the business meeting, the 14th SOCS Annual Scientific Symposium was presented, co-chaired and moderated by Drs. Andrew Alexis and Amy McMichael. Oral presentations were judged by: Drs. Roopal Kundu, Susan C. Taylor and Lynn McKinley-Grant. Six medical students / residents / research fellows presented their original research, including:
- Nahla Shihab, MD – Universitas Indonesia
- Yssra S. Soliman, BA – Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Yemisi Dina, BS – Meharry Medical College
- Divya Seth – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Eseosa Asemota, MD, MPH – Tufts Medical Center
- Andrea Tovar Garza, MD – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
In addition, twenty-four medical students/residents/research fellows displayed research posters. A summary can be viewed by visiting: http://bit.ly/2p8FNeM
Five expert talks were presented during the SOCS Scientific Symposium by invited speakers, including:
- Amit G. Pandya, MD – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “Pigmentary disorder breakthroughs
- Valerie D. Callender, MD – Callender Dermatology & Cosmetic Center, “Update on Hair Loss in Women of Color”
- Hema Sundaram, MD – Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, “Emerging Strategies for Planning and Implementation of Aesthetic Treatments in Skin of Color”
- Steven L. Pruitt – Managing Partner, Watts Partners, “Raising the public policy profile and discussion on the treatment of skin scarring and keloids in patients with skin of color”
- Jonathan Silverberg, MD – Northwestern University, “An update on atopic dermatitis including co-morbidities and treatment breakthroughs”
The SOCS leadership gratefully acknowledges contributions from the following 2017-2018 sponsors whose support helps to advance the SOCS mission: Leo Pharmaceuticals; Merz Aesthetics; Ortho Dermatologics; Pfizer; Sun Pharmaceuticals; Nutrafol/Nutraceutical Wellness; Procter & Gamble; Regeneron Healthcare Solutions; Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc; Dermira; Janssen Biotech, Inc; Global Vitiligo Foundation and many individual donors.
Numerous exciting initiatives are in the works for SOCS in 2018-2019. Visit: www.skinofcolorsociety.org