How Asian Skin Surgeons and Aesthetic Dermatologists Work Together to Provide Periodic Online Education for Practitioners in APAC During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Patrick Po-Han HUANG, MD, FAADVWCD Ambassador from Chinese Taipei
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ever since 2020, international travel for congress has become impossible. Due to time zone differences, it’s also difficult for Asian dermatologists to attend webinars organized by EU or US-based organizations. The importance of having time-zone-friendly online meetings for Asia Pacific regions cannot be overstated. Therefore, I’ve invited seven leading dermatologists in this field to establish CyASIA (Cyber Conference of Aesthetic Dermatology and Skin Surgery in APAC) on May 2, 2020. (Figure 1) They were Dr. Peter CH’NG (Chairperson of Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Medicine Board of Malaysia), Prof. Kee-Yang CHUNG (WCD Ambassador South Korea), Prof. Greg GOODMAN (President, Australian Society of Cosmetic Surgery), Dr. Joyce LIM (Past President of Dermatological Society of Singapore), Prof. Kuniaki OHARA (President of the Japanese Association of Dermatologic Surgery), Dr. Adri Dwi PRASETYO (Skin Surgeon from Indonesia) and Dr. Paisal RUMMANEETHORN (Dean to School of Antiaging and Regenerative Medicine, Mah Fah Luang University, Thailand). It was my honor to be elected as the founding president and supported by my seven colleagues, and friends to lead this new organization. (Figure 2)
(Figure 1) CyASIA was established by eight leading skin surgeons and aesthetic dermatologists on May 2, 2020.
(Figure 2) The 1st board meeting of CyASIA and the schedule of the proposed webinars in the first 2 months.
Since then, we have been organizing webinars twice monthly, totaling up to 24 in the first 1 year. There were more than 50 speakers, mainly from Asia, but including leading experts from Europe and the USA invited to this newly formed online platform where experts can share their knowledge in aesthetic dermatology and skin surgery. Traditional webinar formats were usually much less interactive and was a significantly less attractive option with how stale and boring it could get. It has also become customary for information to be delivered by way of a speaker and a listener. Listeners were independent from the discussion, and much less involved, so to solve this issue we developed a new format for our webinars. These webinars include brief presentations of updated evidence, discussions, and debates. There is no traditional lecturing and instead a focus on panel discussion to encourage critical thinking, conceptual clarifying, and experience sharing. (Figure 3) The duration of each webinar is usually around 60 minutes but can extend up to 90 minutes when the conversations being had are productive. We want to ensure we have a firm grasp on the attendees’ attention to help them absorb the information we provide. We have also found that this has revolutionized webinars everywhere, as there have been more and more international webinars being run in a similar way.
(Figure 3) There was no traditional lecturing but mainly panel discussion for critical thinking, clarifying concepts, and experience sharing on CyASIA.
After the first year, we invited eight more Asian experts to be members of the steering committee. They were Prof. Hirotaka AKITA (Past President of the Japanese Society of Dermatological Surgery), Prof. Krisinda DIM-JAMORA (President of the Philippine Academy of Cutaneous Surgery), Prof. Chee-Leok GOH (Honorary President 25th WCD), Dr. Kwun Cheung HAU (Skin Surgeon from Hong Kong), Prof. Chang-Hun HUH (Seoul National University, South Korea), Dr. Geun Soo LEE (Vice President of the Association of Korean Dermatologists), Prof. Rungsima WANITPHAKDEEDECHA (Professor of Dermatology, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, THAILAND) and Dr. Andreas WIDIANSYAH (Vice-President, Indonesian Society of Dermatology & Venereology). They were in charge of inviting panelists, chairing webinars, giving talks, and facilitating discussions voluntarily. We found that the more leading dermatologists that join CyASIA, the more we are able to raise the standard of clinical practices during the pandemic. (Figure 4)
(Figure 4) The Steering Committee and Special Advisors of CyASIA from 2021.
CyASIA is not only a platform for online education, it also serves as a network for clinical studies. Prof. Rungsima WANITPHAKDEEDECHA from Thailand recently conducted a study using CyASIA as a medium regarding the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on doctors’ decisions to perform dermatologic procedures on patients. (Figure 5) In addition, CyASIA also offers a complimentary 3-month membership to dermatology residency and fellowship trainees to supplement their knowledge and skills in dermatology. The CyASIA platform also makes interactive opportunities with international faculty possible, which was not likely before the birth of CyASIA. The collaboration among Asian countries in trainee and specialist education are getting faster and more efficient during this pandemic.
Although international travel for the purpose of attending congresses is not currently possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we Asian dermatologists (aesthetic dermatologists and skin surgeons) have been working together tirelessly to break the barrier that this pandemic has erected. I appreciate them so much because the goal of the cooperation among leading Asian experts is to provide quality education and interactive debates through streaming for the practicing dermatologists in our time zones. They have been doing it voluntarily. Please give them a big round of applause for their devotion to education and their leadership during the pandemic.
(Figure 5) Prof. Rungsima WANITPHAKDEEDECHA from Thailand conducted a questionnaire study of CyASIA on the impact of COVID-19 vaccination on the decision of doctors to perform dermatologic procedures on patients.