Global Dermatology Contributions from WCD 2023 Ambassadors
Collection of articles about dermatology from all over the world. Dermatology beyond borders.
Prof. Carmen Rodriguez-Cerdeira
Chair, Vithas Hospital in Vigo, Spain, & University of Vigo, Vigo.
Spain & Ambassador for WCD 2023 Singapore.
Hello, Greetings from Spain!
I am the chairperson of the European Women Dermatological and Venereological Society. It will bring us great pleasure to participate in the 25th World Congress of Dermatology, Singapore.
As a representative of European female dermatologists, I would reflect briefly on the role of female dermatologists within their speciality in my country, Spain.
Initially, I will discuss the feminisation of medicine because it is an objective reality in Spain. In 2017, it was the first time in Spain’s history that the number of collegiate women exceeded that of men and continues today. Thus, according to the Statistics of Professional Medical Health Members of 2020, published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in June 2021, women account for 144,290 members, compared to 131,901 male members (1).
Material and methods
The data was obtained from the surveys of the National Institute of Statistics, Spain, and other scientific academy societies.
In 2021, the percentage of female doctors reached 64%, compared to 46% in men. It was a notable difference, considering that in 1980, there were 71,178 men compared to 15,075 women.
Madrid, Catalonia, and the Valencian Community are autonomous communities where women have more weight in medicine (2).
The same happens in the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (SADV), where the number of female dermatologists has increased progressively in recent years. Currently, the academy has about 60% female members (3).
Several others have praised and criticised this phenomenon called the ‘feminisation’ of medicine or medical practice. Is it an offensive term? Will it be a compliment? I believe equality of conditions and dignity is inherent to any human being, regardless of gender.
I want to outline the situation considering its impact on my leadership and academy.
The new Board of Directors of the SADV brought new challenges and projects along with some qualitative changes. Thus, two women held the position of vice-presidents for the first time.
Nevertheless, female presence in management positions in Spanish scientific societies remains a pending issue. Currently, six out of ten residents are women. The lower representation of women in medical societies contrasts with the exponential growth in the percentage of female doctors in Spain, and it is estimated to increase until it becomes the majority (4).
Discussion and reflections
A journey through time and the universe reveals how much this panorama has changed since that initial incursion that had obstacles and difficulties, to the current statistics showing more than 50% of medical students, almost worldwide, are women (5).
However, women dermatologists continue facing challenges in accessing leadership positions in both clinical and academic fields because they do not advance as quickly or get rewards equivalent to their equally educated male colleagues (6).
Academic life remains a goal for women in medicine because, despite an increasing number of women practising medicine, they do not always reach high academic ranks or serve on the editorial committees of journals (7, 8).
However, my current students do not appear too concerned that women only had access to medical training at the end of the 19th century. Given their current circumstances, they are unlikely to reflect on this subject until they are faced with a lack of opportunities, discrimination, or mobbing within the labour field.
A harsh example for this reflection is the case of the pioneer Pilar Tauregui. She was one of the first women in Spain to access the Faculty of Medicine in 1881. However, she was stoned by her male classmates because they considered her to discredit medical studies. Moreover, she was not awarded a degree on finishing her studies, rather a certificate that did not allow her to practice the profession (9).
In the last third of the 20th century, middle-class women began to study medicine, but medicine continued developing through gendered professional identities (10).
It is vital to remind the new generations that female participation in the academic field of medicine and biomedical engineering must continue improving while being linked to the development of our speciality, Dermatology. The active participation of female dermatologists can benefit institutions not only because they are doctors trained like men but also because their leadership style provides complementary advantages in a work team (11).
To mitigate this inequality to a certain extent, institutions must design and implement improvements that translate into less disparity between opportunities for health and academic performance in the field of medicine. It can ultimately benefit institutions, having a strong impact on their productivity and motivation (12).
- National Institute of Statistics Spain. Number of registered doctors by year and sex. Available online: https://www.ine.es/jaxi/Tabla.htm?tpx=48995&L=0; 2021 [accessed on 10 January 2022].
- National Institute of Statistics, Spain. Number of registered doctors by communities, autonomous cities and provinces, age, and sex. Available online:
- https://www.ine.es/jaxi/Tabla.htm?tpx=48552&L=0; 2021 [accessed on 10 January 2022].
- Guerra A, Del Carmen Rodríguez-Cerdeira M, González-Guerra E. Women dermatologists and the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (SADV).J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2005; 19 (6): 696-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2005.01272.x.PMID: 16268873.
- Guerra A, Rodríguez-Cerdeira MC, González-Guerra E. Study of the significance of female dermatologists in the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2005; 96 (5): 291-4. doi: 10.1016/s0001-7310(05)75056-0. PMID: 16476389.
- Silver JK, Ghalib R, Poorman JA, Al-Assi D et al.Analysis of Gender Equity in Leadership of Physician-Focused Medical Specialty Societies, 2008-2017. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179 (3):433-5. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5303. PMID: 30615072; PMCID: PMC6439704.
- Kural E, Roccia MG, França K, Lotti T, Tirant M, Fioranelli M. The history of women in dermatology. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2017 ;167 (Suppl 1): 52-3. doi: 10.1007/s10354-017-0543-9. PMID: 28220372.
- Geagea A, Mehta S. Advancing women in academic medicine: ten strategies to use every day. Can J Anaesth. 2020; 67 (1): 9-12. doi: 10.1007/s12630-019-01447-z. 23. PMID: 31338809.
- Lobl M, Grinnell M, Higgins S, Yost K, Grimes P, Wysong A. Representation of women as editors in Dermatology journals: A comprehensive review. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2019 12; 6 (1): 20-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijwd.2019.09.002. PMID: 32025556; PMCID: PMC6997825.
- Anderson B, Zinsser J. Historia de las mujeres. Una historia propia.1st ed.
- Barcelona: Crítica; 1991.
- Ortiz Gómez T, Delgado Sánchez A, Távora A. Trabajo, género y medicina. Actividad profesional de las médicas españolas en la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Madrid: MTAS; 1999.
- Nocco SE, Larson AR. Promotion of Women Physicians in Academic Medicine. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2021; 30 (6): 864-71. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2019.7992. PMID: 32407186.
- Carr PL, Gunn C, Raj A, Kaplan S, Freund KM. Recruitment, promotion, and retention of women in Academic Medicine: How institutions are addressing gender disparities. Women’s Health Issues. 2017; 27 (3):374-81. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2016.11.003. PMID: 28063849; PMCID: PMC5435548.
Bruce H. Thiers, MD
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
The world congress of dermatology, New York and Singapore, then and now
Dermatology is truly an international community. Although dermatologists represent only a small percentage of all physicians, we have strong family ties with our colleagues from other nations. We welcome them as members of our societies and invite them to participate in our meetings. For example, international fellows comprise approximately 17% of physician members of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and an even higher percentage attends our annual meetings. Similarly, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) has nearly 1500 active international members. I personally have been honored to speak in a variety of international destinations during my career, including many European countries, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and have been warmly welcomed and made many good friends along the way. With the pandemic hopefully coming to a close, we are all looking forward to seeing our international colleagues when the next World Congress of Dermatology convenes in Singapore in 2023.
I attended my first World Congress in 1992 in New York City and have gone to most of them ever since. The 1992 Congress was especially memorable for me in that my wife’s family lived in an apartment very close to the Convention Center (much closer than the hotels) so I had easy access to all the events. More than 7,000 people attended the meeting.
John S. Strauss, MD (Figure 1), served as president and Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD (Figure 2), served as secretary-general. Organizational support was provided by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the American Dermatological Association, the American Society of Dermatopathology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the Association of Professors of Dermatology, and the
International Committee of Dermatology.
The meeting was successful beyond expectations. With $1.3 million in income remaining after expenses were paid, the organizers established a fund to be administered by the AAD’s World Congress Fund Review Task Force, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in conjunction with the meeting in Singapore. Interest earned on the profits from the 1992 meeting has been used to support the attendance of young dermatologists from the United States and Canada at future World Congresses. Income from the fund is also used to allow young dermatologists from developing countries to attend future AAD Annual Meetings (Figure 3). Information on World Congress Fund scholarship opportunities to support attendance at the next World Congress, copied from the AAD’s website (https://www.aad.org/member/career/awards/world-congress), can be found below:
The Academy’s World Congress Fund Review Task Force offers a limited number of scholarships to U.S. and Canadian dermatology residents, fellows, or young dermatologists within five years of dermatology residency to attend the 25th World Congress of Dermatology in Suntec City, Singapore, on July 3-8, 2023.
This scholarship program is supported by funds from the 18th World Congress of Dermatology held in New York in 1992, and includes complimentary registration and a $1,500 scholarship as partial support for meeting attendance.
- Applicants must be within five years of completion of
dermatology residency training at the time of the meeting
- The Academy must receive a letter of recommendation,
preferably from the applicant’s present or former training director
- Previous scholarship recipients are not eligible
- Must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada
Applications will open in April 2022.
I look forward to seeing you in Singapore!
Tran Hau Khang
President, Vietnamese Sociaty of Dermatology and Venereology
WCD Ambassador from Vietnam
Research on leprosy in vietnam
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost nation on the Indochinese Peninsula. In the past, leprosy was a major public health problem in Vietnam not only because of disability sequelae but also the terrible social stigma attached to the disease. In order to change the situation of the disease, in 1982 the National Leprosy Control Program (NLCP) was established, and Multidrug Therapy (MDT) was implemented one year later (1983).
The National Leprosy Control system has been integrated into health care system. With strong network, all activities of leprosy control program were systemically developed in the whole country including the field of research. The most important achievements of research in Vietnam were the development of better treatments and implementation of special projects in reducing the prevalence rate and burden of the disease. As a result, the prevalence rate of the disease reduced to less than 1/10,000 population in 1995 and Vietnam attained the goal of elimination of leprosy as a public health problem.
For leprosy, early detection is crucial to avoid serious complications. GPAT (Gelatin Particle Agglutination test) was applied for detection of Mycobacterium leprae infection prior to the onset of clinical disease. Research in immunology of leprosy were also developed and implemented in Dermatology and Venereology centers. PCR (Polymerase Chain reaction), ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay), histopathology and immunofluorescence were applied in the investigation of the disease.
Regarding management, multidrug therapy (MDT) is a major advance in leprosy control which has been conducted in Vietnam since 1983 in all provinces. Besides, in 1992, new therapy of leprosy with ofloxacin-containing combined drug regimens were studied in some provinces with follow-up time up to 15 years.
Important projects such as SAPEL (special action projects for elimination of leprosy) and LEC (leprosy elimination campaign) were implemented in the high prevalence areas. Also, activities of prevention of disability (POD) and rehabilitation are very important for patients and people affected by leprosy (PAL). Many surveys of the level, grade of deformities of patients and PAL were conducted in leprosy centers, leprosy villages. Research about physiotherapy and reconstructive surgery in people with severe disabilities were carried out and the results have been applied to community- based rehabilitation (CBR).
Despite important achievements mentioned above, the prevalence and incident rates remain significant in some rural areas. Vietnam continues to sustain all activities of the leprosy control program in order to reach the final goal of leprosy eradication.
Message from Dr Pravit Asawanonda, Ambassador from Thailand
It is so exciting that Singapore will host the 2023 World Congress! Thailand fully supports this wonderful opportunity for dermatologists and healthcare professionals from all over the world to enjoy Southeast Asian cultures and share experience, innovations, as well as just getting to make new friends.
With seven training centers, 6 in Bangkok and the suburbs, and one most recent in the North, 30 board-certified dermatologists are produced each year. Most of these trained derms return to their hometown or other Government-run hospitals to serve their countrymen in the rural areas. These training centers also welcome visiting residents and medical students from all geo-locations.
The decades-long, close ties among the Societies in ASEAN are deeply rooted. The collaborations among these countries allow sharing of knowledge, research, and unified clinical guidelines. Despite the pandemic, this “unitedness” is never lost.
We wish Singapore a great success in the 2023 World Congress of Dermatology!