Graduate Medical Education

Core Curriculum

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Because of the unpredictable nature by which specific skin conditions may be seen in a given clinical setting, a significant portion of our educational approach will focus on formal, faculty-led didactic sessions (including lectures, conferences, seminars, demonstrations, simulations, etc.). This core syllabus will help ensure that the full range of conditions that should be seen in a comprehensive dermatology training program are formally and repeatedly covered over the course of 36 well-structured months.

Specific training attention will be given to the following specialty fields of dermatology:

Medical Dermatology

Our medical dermatologists provide multidisciplinary expertise in the care of patients with complex medical conditions affecting the skin and other internal organs. Working in concert with other St. Luke’s services such as nutrition, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, gastroenterology, physical therapy, and palliative and support services, our dermatologists provide comprehensive systemic care for our most complicated patients. Our physicians utilize advanced diagnostic techniques to provide up to date information for our patients regarding their diagnosis and prognosis and employ all modes of topical and systemic treatment and support. Our clinic operates in the setting of an active research program; consequently, patients are evaluated and, if appropriate, may be given the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials not available to the general public.

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Mohs & Dermatologic Surgery

The Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery curriculum at St. Luke’s provides expert training in skin cancer management, Mohs micrographic surgery and other dermatologic procedures. The educational curriculum features hands-on training with cutting-edge approaches and surgical techniques in basic excisional surgery as well as complex surgical closures such as flaps and grafts. Opportunities for extensive exposure to Mohs micrographic surgery are also provided as part of the surgical program.

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Pediatric Dermatology

St. Luke’s Dermatology is home to the only board-certified pediatric dermatologist in the Lehigh Valley. Children are referred locally for common skin conditions and regionally for complicated and rare skin diseases. The program is internationally recognized for its focus on procedural pediatric dermatology; consequently, the curriculum offers ample exposure to pediatric dermatologic surgery and pediatric laser surgery. Additionally, residents enjoy direct collaboration and training with the region’s only pediatric plastic surgeon through our multidisciplinary Birthmark Clinic. The pediatric dermatology consult resident evaluates and helps to manage pediatric inpatients.

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Dermatopathology

The dermatopathology rotation is a cornerstone rotation in our curriculum and provides comprehensive training through examination, clinical correlation, and interpretation of dermatopathologic specimens. Our residents our expected to recognize the major patterns of inflammatory and neoplastic skin disease, construct a list of differential diagnostic possibilities, and arrive at a final diagnosis. Exposure to ancillary dermatopathology diagnostic techniques, including immunofluorescence, electron microscopy, immunophenotyping, and molecular diagnostics, is also a focus.

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Complex Cutaneous Oncology

St. Luke’s has a longstanding commitment to providing multidisciplinary care for patients with all forms of skin cancers at any stage of disease. This includes close collaboration with St. Luke’s Cancer Center to coordinate care of our melanoma, merkel cell, and advanced squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma patients. Likewise, we offer heightened vigilance for patients at high risk of relapse or development of cutaneous malignancies due to solid organ transplantation and other reasons such as having a history of chronic lymphocytic leukemia or lymphoma, having a history of exposure to an immunosuppressive medication, history of radiation therapy, or having a genetic predisposition to skin cancer. Simultaneously-run clinics in cutaneous, surgical, and medical oncology promote communication among specialists to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary “tumor board” approach for patients across the skin cancer spectrum. Additional medical oncology clinics focusing on novel therapies and clinical trials for patients with advanced melanoma occur throughout the week. St. Luke’s is an active participant in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)-ACRIN melanoma trials and in the melanoma prevention/chemoprevention efforts of the national Melanoma Prevention Working Group.

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Dermato-Oncologic Support

One of the specifics mission of the St. Luke’s Dermatology program is to serve the dermatologic needs of cancer patients. Located at St. Luke’s Cancer Center – Anderson Campus, the clinic runs daily - in parallel with multiple oncology specialty clinics - to deliver timely and efficient access for patients who develop skin conditions while undergoing cancer treatment. Prompt recognition and treatment of cutaneous complications such as radiation dermatitis, chemotherapy-related rashes, skin infections arising in immunocompromised patients, hair and nail changes due to cancer therapy, and graft-versus-host disease-related skin issues are critical in order to minimize skin-related interference to a patient's treatment course and to increase the quality of life of our region cancer patients.

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Laser and Skin Enhancement Procedures

St. Luke’s Dermatology provides laser and skin enhancement procedures including facial resurfacing and rejuvenation, acne scar treatment, botulinum toxin and filler injections, chemical peels, laser hair removal, laser and injectable vein treatments, intense pulsed light therapies, scar revisions, and body contouring procedures. Residents participate in evaluation and treatment of patients seeking these services both in the main dermatology clinics and in their dedicated Resident Continuity Clinics.

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Phototherapy

Our in-clinic phototherapy treatment unit offers a broad range of ultraviolet light services for chronic skin disorders such as psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, and other light-responsive conditions such as contact dermatitis, mycosis fungoides, actinic keratoses and acne. The unit currently offers treatments including narrow-band ultraviolet B light therapy, psoralen plus ultraviolet A light (PUVA), ultraviolet B light (excimer) laser, and photodynamic therapy. Grenz ray therapy is also available through our collaboration with St. Luke’s Cancer Center.

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Inpatient and Consultative Services

Inpatient beds are available for the in-depth evaluation and treatment of dermatology inpatients at St. Luke’s Hospital – Anderson Campus. Dermatology patients are admitted to a specific medical service (usually Internal Medicine) under dermatology’s co-management. PGY3/4 residents assigned inpatient and consultative duties are responsible, with staff supervision, for the day-to-day care of the dermatologic inpatients and for evaluation/treatment of many inpatient consults from other inpatient specialty services. An assigned staff dermatologist is always available to consult, advise, and teach in the inpatient setting.

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“Away” and “Local” Elective Rotations

“Away” electives are completed outside of the St. Luke’s University Health Network in a purposeful effort for our PGY3 residents to gain a broader perspective on topics of particular interest to them. The “Away” elective allows residents to interface with potential employers and fellowship directors outside of the St. Luke’s system, and it permits our training program to obtain invaluable external feedback on our residents’ development as ambassadors to the specialty of dermatology. “Away” electives may be arranged in complex medical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, medical oncology, Mohs/procedural surgery, laser surgery, dermatopathology, or plastic/reconstructive surgery. Residents are also be encouraged to apply for the American Academy of Dermatology’s Resident International Grant to participate in the clinical elective in Botswana. Other specific rotations may be considered but require a proposal explaining how the rotation’s proposed curriculum will enhance the overall Residency in Dermatology training experience.

“Local” elective rotations are available in the PGY4 year. These rotations are intended to be taken within St. Luke’s University Health Network (or affiliated institutions) in an effort for our senior residents to hone specific skills and enhance particular skill sets prior to graduation. Typically, “Local” electives are arranged in advanced plastic/reconstructive surgery, vascular surgery, wound care, or oncology. Other specific rotations may be considered but require a proposal explaining how the rotation’s proposed curriculum will enhance the overall Residency in Dermatology training experience.

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Professional Development

Running a successful dermatology practice while maintaining your own well-being can be a tricky balance. Issues in billing/coding, auditing, insurance contracting, external regulations, changing tax laws, the impact of social media, human resource issues, and adoption of new technologies all factor into the ability to deliver superlative care to one’s patients and community. St. Luke’s Dermatology believes the modern dermatologist must be trained in all of these “non-clinical” issues. Through a collaboration with experts from across the larger St. Luke’s community, our residents receive focused training and professional development.

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