“Brown Dermatology: Celebrating the beauty of diversity and welcoming people of all backgrounds”

Department Overview

The Brown Department of Dermatology has a history steeped in inclusivity and diversity. Charles J. McDonald, MD, the founder of the department, was among the first African-Americans to chair a dermatology department in the USHe began his dermatology journey in Rhode Island in 1969 and remained committed to training minority students for over 40 years. As a model of inter-institutional cooperation in the delivery of medical services and in medical education, our Department of Dermatology thrives by drawing from the combined resources of Brown University, the Brown affiliated hospitals, and the local community. Teaching, learning, and clinical activities take place at all of the affiliated hospitals described here on the website. Brown is proud to have a Diversity Committee. For more about our Commitment to Diversity, please click here

The dermatology residency training program continues to serve a culturally and socioeconomically rich community and to advance diversity and inclusion within the healthcare field. The program warmly welcomes applicants from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, including sexual and gender minorities. For more information about diversity initiatives, please see our Commitment to Diversity tab. Of special note is the broad demographic and ethnic diversity of our patient population (drawing from throughout Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut) which enriches both the clinical and personal experience of learning here.

Since the program’s beginning, over one hundred and fifty dermatologists have completed training here and practice or teach in locations throughout the United States. Virtually all are available to you should you wish to speak with them about their Brown educational experience.

Wellness within the department, and for residents, is a top priority at Brown Dermatology.  Our academic culture is well-known for being a positive, collegial, and supportive environment. In addition, we have an annual wellness-focused resident retreat and keep residents updated on health and wellness opportunities available through Lifespan GME, Coastline Employee Assistance Program, and the Rhode Island Medical Society.  Program Director John Kawaoka, MD keeps an open-door policy for any resident concerns or challenges, and we select an annual resident Wellness Liaison.

Message from the Chair

We welcome your interest and hope to provide you with answers to your specific questions, as well as, offer a comprehensive sense of the character of our program.

The primary goal of our Department is to provide residents in training and Brown Medical Students a superior educational and service experience in the discipline of Dermatology.

Our faculty is committed to helping each trainee develop lifelong learning skills to achieve individual excellence in patient care, education, and research. As an integral part of our approach to your professional and personal growth, we place particular emphasis on upholding the qualities of respect, integrity, intellectual curiosity, good judgment, and patient sensitivity and advocacy - all to assure you are ready to confidently face the challenges that may appear long after your training is complete. The department currently has 12 residents led by the program director, Dr. John Kawaoka, and the dermatology education and residency coordinator, Karen Medici.

The Department of Dermatology is dedicated to maintaining exceptional academic programs in which residents, fellows, students, and faculty work closely together, promoting the best possible care of patients while preserving an optimal educational environment.


Abrar A. Qureshi, MD, MPH

Chair, Department of Dermatology, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University





Charles J. McDonald, MD

Chair Emeritus, Department of Dermatology, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University