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April 1, 2008

Staying on Top in Dermatology: Why We Must Act Now to Address the Capacity Challenge

Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(4):541-544. doi:10.1001/archderm.144.4.541

The dermatology profession is currently facing an intriguing problem: business is booming. Dermatologists are in great demand, and although this might not sound like cause for complaint, our capacity to provide care for dermatology patients is now being critically stretched. The surge in demand is no matter of chance but rather the result of changing epidemiology, ethnographic trends, and skilled advertising. Despite recent advances in care, our core clinical conditions remain without curative treatments. Furthermore, old enemies are fighting back; both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer incidences are on the rise. The World Health Organization estimates that half of all cancers in the United States are skin related.1 At the same time, the demographic shift in the US population means that we are caring for an aging population with multiple medical dermatology needs. In addition, a sustained, high-profile advertising campaign by organized dermatology over the past 15 years has fueled demand by educating, or reminding, the public that “there are thousands of reasons to see a dermatologist.”2

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