Didactics at Brown Dermatology

What makes Brown’s dermatology program unique?

Our program is centered in Providence, the capital city of Rhode Island, which is known as the Ocean State due to its abundant and beautiful shorelines. Providence offers many cultural opportunities, including great food, theater and art, all at affordable prices.

While Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, it is home to an incredibly diverse population, which serves as the source of the patients we see in various public and private outpatient clinics at multiple hospitals, including Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital, the Providence VA Medical Center, and The Miriam Hospital. This diverse population and the variety of clinical settings provide us with a strong balance of general adult dermatology, pediatric dermatology, dermatologic surgery, dermatopathology, and cosmetic dermatology.

Our program values volunteerism and community service. We work with the Rhode Island Department of Health to offer free skin cancer screenings and free evening clinics.

We value diversity. Our program attracts a diverse group of residents coming from all over the world.

Our learning experience is nurtured by friendly and approachable faculty who create a balance among teaching, attending supervision, and resident autonomy. Weekly academic sessions include either Kodachromes or journal club, and two half-days are set aside for dermatopathology and academics. Academic sessions are made up of lectures by our full-time academic attendings, numerous community attendings and residents. Book review is held weekly and is run by one of the senior residents. We also have Clinical Conference/Grand Rounds once per month.

How would you describe a typical day?

A typical day in our program varies depending on our level of training and our specific rotation. Most of our training takes place in outpatient general dermatology settings, although as second year residents we also handle the inpatient consultation services at the various hospitals. As we move through the program we spend increasing amounts of time doing procedural dermatology.

As first year residents, we spend most of our busy days caring for a diverse group of patients in various public and private outpatient settings. Clinic assignments are distributed such that we all gain a strong foundation in adult and pediatric dermatology. Specific rotations include pediatric dermatology, basic surgery, and phototherapy, small yet key components of the first year experience designed to enhance our knowledge base in these dermatologic subspecialties. We also begin to develop our surgical skills by way of closely supervised surgery rotations at Rhode Island Hospital and the Providence VA Medical Center.

As second year residents we continue to spend the majority of our time in adult and pediatric clinics.  We are responsible for inpatient consultations at Rhode Island Hospital, Women and Infant's Hospital, and Hasbro Children's Hospital, and running various clinics where we interact with and help supervise medical students and residents from the departments of internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, Ob-Gyn, and pediatrics. At the end of each day we conduct bedside rounds as a team with various attending physicians who staff the consultation services.  Our surgical skills continue to improve during this year, as we tackle more challenging cases during our VA rotation, and spend two months as a key member of the Mohs surgery team. We read pathology specimens from some of the clinics under the supervision of our highly dedicated dermatopathologists. Second year residents begin exposure to specialty clinics, such as contact dermatitis, pigmented lesions, hair clinic, and dermatology-rheumatology clinics.

As senior residents, our time is divided among four specific 3-month rotations.  During our Mohs surgery month we gain more extensive surgical experience, participating in hundreds of cases, many of which involve complex repairs, flaps, and grafts. The dermatopathology rotation affords residents a chance to ‘sign-out' and to review unknown slides and benefit from one-on-one teaching by our dermatopathology attendings. In our exclusive and unique senior cosmetics clinic, we fine-tune our skills in the use of botox, fillers, and lasers, and gain exposure to other common cosmetic procedures such as sclerotherapy. During the specialty rotation, residents take part in electives, contact dermatitis, derm-rheum clinic, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma clinic, and interdisciplinary pigmented lesions clinic. One of the senior residents serves as chief resident assisting the program director with the coordination of schedules, vacations, resident matters, and overseeing didactics and teaching.

Residents have two 1 hour morning sessions and two full afternoons of protected time each week devoted to didactic sessions. These activities include dermatopathology lectures, viewing known and unknown dermatopathology slides, lectures in contact dermatitis and topics in dermatologic surgery, nail disease, pediatric dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and practice management.

Didactics are 70% faculty-led. Residents also have self-directed review of standard dermatology and dermatopharmacology textbooks. 

There are also periodic seminars in "Dermatoethics", immunology rounds, and research meetings.

Clinical conferences ("grand rounds") are held on the second Friday of the month. On the second Friday, which is held in the afternoon, the department hosts a visiting professor who delivers a lecture to the entire group and then meets separately with the residents. The senior residents each present a talk to the entire department on a topic of special interest to them.

Residents are all encouraged to present at national and regional meetings. All residents attend the annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting as well as the regional New England Dermatological Society meetings. Every third year, the Department of Dermatology at Brown hosts this New England meeting where the residents organize the content and case presentations.

All residents attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology and the regional meetings of the New England Dermatological Society and Rhode Island Dermatology Society

Residents who are presenting educational material may also be able to attend meetings such as the Society of Investigative Dermatology, the American College of Mohs Surgery, the American Society of Dermatopathology, the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and others. In addition, we present a list of the many organizations that the residents have worked with below.