Teaching and mentorship are one of the most important and rewarding parts of what we do at SkinCare Physicians, along with superb patient care and clinical research. Since the founding of SkinCare Physicians 15 years ago, we have been involved in helping to further train dermatologists. Each year there are three fellows who work along with us helping to take care of patients, participating in research studies, and being involved with other academic studies or projects. We’ve had the opportunity to train over 50 fellows at SkinCare Physicians who are now practicing dermatology around the country and overseas.
Prior to their fellowship, all these physicians will have completed three years of residency training at a university teaching hospital and taken and completed their Board Examinations. In other words, they have finished with all of their formal years of education and are ready to start their careers, whether it be in a practice setting, in an independent or hospital related health care system, or doing research.
So why would they choose to spend yet another year as a fellow? It would be easiest to simply “get a job” somewhere and start on a new phase of their life.
There are certainly obstacles if a further year of training is contemplated. These include delaying the start of a career, putting off financial rewards in the face of substantial loans to repay for their medical education, receiving a modest salary, potential moving and living costs, and social issues with spouses or significant others about relocating or long distance relationships.
On the other hand, the skills and relationships gained with a fellowship are irreplaceable and highly rewarding and are a one-time opportunity. And the advanced training one receives in these early years will define the rest of one’s career. SkinCare Physicians fellows spend the year working closely with multiple experienced leaders in the fields of dermatologic, aesthetic, laser and oncologic surgery; they conduct clinical research, write papers for publication and often present results of their research from the podium at national and international meetings. They become highly educated in basic and advanced science and the delivery of care in all areas and themselves become experts, acquiring skills which will allow them to craft careers and derive greater professional satisfaction than it would otherwise have been possible. And because of the mentorship qualities of the training, they develop lifetime relationships with the physicians and staff of SkinCare Physicians.
There are two organizations with oversight and strict regulations of such training. One fellowship is credentialed through the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology. This fellow becomes particularly expert in oncologic and Mohs Surgery, under the direction of Dr. Tom Rohrer and, as well, participates in cosmetic, laser and other dermatologic surgery training and patient care. All of the three fellows, who all participate in all clinical and research activities, are also accredited through the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery-Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgery Fellowship. This latter fellowship, co-directed by Drs. Jeffrey Dover, Kenneth Arndt and Michael Kaminer, also has exposure to oncologic and Mohs surgery but its focus is laser and cosmetic surgical procedures.
The fellowships start each year on August 1 and end July 31 the following year. We sadly bid adieu to the three wonderful fellows who have just finished, Drs. Shraddha Desai, Laura Kruter and Heidi Prather – we will miss them very much. At the same time, we welcome three new fellows.
Shilpi Khetarpal, MD is a native of Ohio. She completed the 7 year combined BS/MD program at Northeast Ohio Medical University and was the last resident to complete the University’s 5 year research track program. She then went on to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for her dermatology residency, where she was actively involved in numerous research projects. Her primary focus was on cutaneous oncology in patients who had received organ transplants. Dr. Khetarpal started the Cleveland Clinic’s dermatology transplant database that now includes over 1,000 post-transplant patients. Shilpi is actively involved in several dermatologic organizations including the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS), and the American Academy for Dermatology (AAD). She currently serves on the Bylaws Committee of the WDS and the Sun Safety Task Force of the AAD. Shilpi was part of the Cleveland Clinic House staff Association for 4 years and served as its president for one of those years.
Brian Raphael, MD grew up in Syracuse, NY with an older brother and sister. He graduated with honors in economics at the University of Pennsylvania. During his undergraduate time at University of Pennsylvania, Brian was also a member of the Sprint Football team and was a four time letter winner as a varsity athlete. After completing his post-baccalaureate at Bryn Mawr College, he received his medical degree from The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Brian completed his internship in internal medicine at Lankenau Medical Center in Philadelphia. He recently completed his dermatology residency at Emory University in Atlanta where he served as chief resident in his final year. He has special interest in healthcare legislation and has conducted research on a variety of topics regarding healthcare policy. In his free time, Brian enjoys following sports, specifically collegiate athletics. He also loves to travel and has an interest in politics.
Mara Weinstein Velez, MD received her bachelors’ degree from Princeton University and completed her medical education at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. She trained at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) for her Internship and dermatology residency where she served as the Social Chair and Vice President of the CCF House Staff Association. Dr. Weinstein was an active member of the Dermatology Department during residency serving as the Skin Cancer Screening Chair and Cosmetic Representative for the residents. She is also serves on the Public Education committee the American Academy of Dermatology and the Academic and Service Committees for the Women’s Dermatologic Society. Dr. Weinstein enjoys public speaking, research, community service, traveling and spending time with her family.
Co-authored by Dr. Jeffrey Dover
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