Four dermatologists received The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD) Leaders of Distinction Awards at the January 15 to 18 Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference in Orlando, Fla. The awards honor dermatologists, residents, companies and organizations for their contributions to the specialty.
Recognized in the category of “Outstanding Leadership in Dermatology Education and Research”: Ron G. Wheeland, M.D. A member of Dermatology Times’ editorial advisory board, Dr. Wheeland was honored for his contributions in laser technology, as well as clinical research in the areas of chronic wounds, vascular conditions, skin cancer and excess hair. Named one of the country's "Best Doctors" annually since 1992, Dr. Wheeland has more than 230 publications, including eight textbooks. Among many other professional accomplishments, Dr. Wheeland has chaired three university dermatology departments and was president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and the Pacific Dermatology Association.
More from Dr. Wheeland: Paying it forward through mentoring
Dr. Wheeland told Dermatology Times that to receive this JDD Leader of Distinction Award for Achievement in Education and Research is a huge honor, made possible by having the opportunity to work with medical students, dermatology residents, fellows, Ph.D. colleagues in physics, engineering and cell biology, as well as many memorable patients.
"Each of these individuals has provided me with encouragement, stimulation, understanding, amazement and a desire to improve patient care,” Dr. Wheeland said. “While I have many interests in dermatology, the field of laser and light therapy has probably brought me the greatest scientific satisfaction. One of my earliest laser patients was a 42-year-old woman with a large facial port wine stain that she felt was disfiguring. I treated her with the argon laser, which was the only vascular laser available at the time. After many long painful laser treatments over a period of two years, I was finally able to provide her with a satisfactory level of lightening. [Imagine] my surprise, when following the last treatment, she reached out and gave me a big hug and a huge kiss on the cheek, telling me that I had changed her entire life."
Dr. Wheeland said that another important area of his academic career comes from having taught and mentored students and physicians, at all levels.
"The 630 invited lectures I have given have provided me with the opportunity to meet dermatologists from all over the United States and abroad. In many cases, I truly believe I learned more from the audience than they did from me. It also provided me with many lifelong friends around the globe,” he said. “I’ve found that there is a huge emotional reward when someone comes up to me years after they attended a course or lecture I’d given to tell me that I was responsible for getting them to understand a difficult scientific concept, improving their surgical technique or helping them advance their professional career."
Brett Coldiron, M.D., honored for “Outstanding Leadership in Promoting the Field of Dermatology,” was recognized for his leadership as past president of the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as for his extensive research and knowledge. Dr. Coldiron has published more than 63 peer-reviewed articles and four book chapters. In private practice, today, Dr. Coldiron is clinical associate professor at the University of Cincinnati. His current research interests are patient safety and the epidemiology of skin cancer.
More from Dr. Coldiron: Derms urged to be step a head of evolving regulatory environment
Jill S. Waibel, M.D., presented with the “Humanitarian Award,” earned the honor for having gone above and beyond by donating her time and services to improve patient outcomes. Specifically, Dr. Waibel was recognized for her work in using lasers to treat patients with traumatic burn injuries. The dermatologist was featured on the national news for using the latest advancements in lasers to help heal the scars of Kim Phuc, 52, who as a child was severely burned by napalm during the Vietnam War. Her experience was captured in an iconic photo. Dr. Waibel, who focuses on using state-of-the-art laser technologies to treat scars, is credited with developing industry-leading procedures and techniques with lasers. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to medicine and published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and several textbook chapters. She was named “Person of the Week” on ABC World News Tonight.
More from Dr. Waibel: Examining current trends in scar treatment
Robin Lewallen, M.D., recognized as the JDD Leaders of Distinction “Resident of the Year,” was voted her program's Resident Teacher of the Year for every year of her residency. Dr. Lewallen is co-editor of a book on contact dermatitis and is co-authoring the book, Illustrated Clinical Cases: Dermatology. She has presented at conferences, including the American Academy of Dermatology; volunteers at a free clinic and community health fairs; and serves on the resident quality improvement council, according to press materials from the Orlando Dermatology conference.
The awards ceremony also recognized Genentech, Allergan/ KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals for these companies’ contributions to dermatology.