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Special Communication
August 2013

Dermatologic Relationships Between the United States and German-Speaking Countries: Part I—Before 1933

Author Affiliations
  • 1Retired
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(8):966-969. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4915

The interactions between dermatology in the United States and German-speaking Europe have shifted dramatically over time and played important roles in the evolution of the specialty in both regions. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, American physicians wishing to become dermatologists were highly dependent on training in European centers of excellence. Many spent time in German-speaking cities, primarily in Vienna, Berlin, or Hamburg. The career paths of the founders of the major US dermatologic organizations, such as the New York Dermatological Society, American Dermatological Association, American Board of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, and American Academy of Dermatology, point to the lasting impact of study in Europe on American dermatology. The European roots of James C. White, Louis Adolphus Duhring, Sigmund Pollitzer, and Marion B. Sulzberger among others are considered prototypes of the dominance of German-trained dermatologists on the specialty in the US that persisted until the 1930s and thereafter.

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