Nanotechnology and Dermatology Education in the United States: Data From a Pilot Survey
September 2011 | Volume 10 | Issue 9 | Original Article | 1037 | Copyright © September 2011
Adam Friedman MDa and Adnan Nasir MDb
aDivision of Dermatology, Albert Einstein University College of Medicine, Bronx, NY bDepartment of Dermatology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing discipline with important implications for consumers, patients, physicians and investigators.
In an era when nanotechnology is being both incorporated into educational requirements for medical fields such as radiology and oncology and vigorously pursued and developed by cosmeceutical companies, dermatology is falling behind. A survey was conducted to ascertain knowledge, attitudes and perception of nanotechnology in dermatology teaching programs.
Methods: To ascertain baseline knowledge, attitudes and preceptions regarding nanotechnology among dermatology trainees, dermatology investigators and dermatology faculty in US academic medical centers, an online survey was sent out to random members of the dermatology community and data analyzed (100 participants, 23% response rate). Participants responded to a questionnaire on a five-point scale ranging from strongly disagree, disagree, uncertain, agree, to strongly agree. Due to the low response rate, strongly disagree/disagree and strongly agree/agree values were combined and compared to uncertain responses.
Results: Approximately equal numbers of faculty vs. chief residents responded to the survery (52% vs. 47.75%, respectively). The majority of respondents had not previously attended any educational activity on nanotechnology (69.57%). The majority of participants agreed that more education on nanotechnology for dermatologists is needed (78.26% agreed vs. 21.74% uncertain) and that it should be incorporated into the residency training curriculum (60.87% agree vs. 13.04% disagree). Participants mostly agreed that nanotechnology research can contribute to better fundamental understanding of skin disease (78.26%), to advances in the diagnosis of skin disease (73.91%) and to therapies (78.26%). Participants mostly agreed that more research is needed (82.60%) and that this research should be funded (78.26%). Not surprisingly, respondents were uncertain with respect to issues of nanotechnology safety both in the pharmaceutical realm (60.87%) and cosmeceutical realm (69.57%). Furthermore, the overwhelming majority responded that research is also needed to evaluate nanomaterial safety (86.96%).
Limitations: Both the populations size and response rate were low, possibly affecting the power and significance of the results in this study.
Conclusion: The survey results indicate a significant gap in dermatology training. Participants indicated a need for more training and education in the area of nanotechnology, and called for more research to evaluate the potential pitfalls associated with nanomaterials as well and to seek new advances in diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(9):1037-1041.