Dermatology in the next century is unlikely to be practiced in the manner of the last few decades. For this reason, it is essential and urgent that we develop long-range strategies to deal with all possibilities, ranging from the demise of dermatology as a distinct discipline (which is unacceptable) to continuation of the status quo (which is impossible). More likely scenarios range from dermatology as a consultant specialty similar to that in the United Kingdom to excessive numbers of patients because of capitation arrangements that permit direct access. In the April issue of the Archives,1 Stanton expressed concern about dermatology in the future. Not all of us share his pessimism.
The Academy's leadership has been extremely active regarding the threat of health care system reform to the future of our specialty, its practitioners, and the Academy itself. Our Section on Health Policy and Practice, currently chaired by Cliff Lober, MD, and formerly chaired by such forward-looking leaders as Paul Russell, MD, Peyton Weary, MD, Richard Odom, MD, and Irwin Freedberg, MD, has worked tirelessly for many years to educate legislators and the public of the value and importance of dermatology. Over a third of the current Academy budget is spent in the socioeconomic area. Throughout the process, the Academy
Sams WM. Health Care System Reform and the American Academy of Dermatology. Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(5):586. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890290128020