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6 Things I learned at A+MD

Article-6 Things I learned at A+MD

It's always exciting to hear about the development of a new industry meeting. Wm. Philip Werschler, M.D., a Spokane, Wash., dermatologist and his colleagues, recently hosted The Aesthetic + Medical Dermatology Symposia May 14 to 17, 2015 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Dr. Werschler is a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Washington, Spokane, and served as conference chairman.

The meeting was designed to “to bring the latest aesthetic-dermatology thought leaders’ knowledge, skills, products and technologies together in an interactive, hands-on educational format, the outcome of which is enhanced procedural knowledge, patient safety and satisfaction, psychological well-being considerations and aesthetic-dermatology team interaction,” according to the A+MD’s statement of need. How successfully did the meeting meet its goals? We asked Dr. Werschler to give our readers an inside perspective on the unmet need, his inspiration for the meeting, what attendees had to say and what he himselearned. This is what he had to say:

In This Article

Addressing an Unmet Need

How the A+MD Was Inspired

What Participants Had to Say

6 Things Dr. Werschler Learned


Addressing an Unmet Need

CST: What were the unmet needs that the A+MD was designed to address? 

Dr. Werschler: Our statement of need identified that there was a lack of regularly scheduled dermatology education in the Northwest, especially the combination of aesthetic plus medical derm education. We wanted to address this need as well as the lack of education on the psychological aspects of dermatology, again both medical and aesthetic. By developing a regular annual meeting, we can be in place to educate on these needs, as well as any others that arise in the future. 

CST: Did the meeting fulfill its purpose? Did it meet those needs? 

Dr. Werschler: Well, I believe it was quite successful. We had numerous lectures on the subject of patients’ psychological needs in both cosmetic and medical dermatology, from the perspectives of patient care, marketing, staff training and business management. Perhaps the best lecture was delivered by my wife Pam [Pam Schell Werschler, ARNP, Psy.D.],  who spoke on the psychological testing done on derm patients, again both medical and cosmetic, in her presentation, “Survey of Assessment Tools in Dermatology Practice.” 

Related Content: Psychological assessment tools

Also, the meeting delivered American Academy of Dermatology-quality lectures on medical derm, lasers, injectables, psoriasis, urticaria, acne, complexion disorders, etc. We also had a multi-specialty faculty with rheumatologists, allergists, family and cosmetic physicians and Pam, the psychologist. 

How the A+MD Was Inspired


How the A+MD Was Inspired

CST: What was the inspiration for the A+MD Symposia? When did you begin working on it, and who else was involved? 

Dr. Werschler: We started in February 2013. In part, the inspiration came from a desire to deliver superior education in dermatology in the Pacific Northwest, in part to educate on psychodermatology, and in part to diversify faculty who participate in co-management of dermatology patients. 

I was inspired by [Kihei, Hawaii, dermatologist] George Martin and Maui Derm. He has put together a world-class meeting with his annual Maui Derm. I wanted to offer that quality of education on a consistent basis in the Northwest. George has been a huge inspiration and help in advising, coaching and, of course, participating in the inaugural A+MD meeting. My other partner is Jose Mena, who also manages the administrative aspects of Maui Derm. Jose and his staff have a wealth of experience in managing logistics, hotels, travel, exhibits, audio-visual, essentially all of these things that make a meeting work beyond the scientific program and speakers. 

I also have to thank the faculty of A+MD, who so graciously agreed to take a weekend out their lives and travel to Idaho. Everyone I asked to help said yes. They were a great group who all pitched in and helped spread the word. I look forward to seeing them all back next year for the second annual A+MD meeting. 

Finally, I would send special thanks to our industry partners, who all pitched in and, with blind faith in its success, supported an unknown meeting. 

What Participants Had to Say


What Participants Had to Say

CST: What sort of feedback are you getting about the meeting from attendees? How many made the trip? 

Dr. Werschler: Based on feedback, the meeting was an unbridled success. We had 157 registered attendees, mostly from the Pacific Northwest, especially Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Utah. And we also had attendees from as far away as Hawaii, New York, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada. We had a great audience, fabulous faculty, wonderful weather, great social events and the venue was perfect. Many attendees had never been to Idaho before, and they loved the stunning scenic beauty and the hotel. They wanted to know if there would be a second meeting, and when they found out there would be, some pre-registered for it. 

We also had an optional filler/toxin/energy-device day held prior to the scientific sessions. It was sold out — we actually had to turn people away who hadn’t pre-registered. There were limits to the number of live-injection and energy-device models we had, and we were determined to keep the program as hands-on and intimate as possible to maximize the experience. We will have to add models and space to next year’s program 

CST: What is the future value of the meeting for aesthetic and medical dermatology practitioners? 

Dr. Werschler: As with this first meeting, relevant and exciting derm education in the Northwest, with a focus on both sides of the dermatology coin: aesthetic and medical. There will again be a special focus on psychodermatology, as well as great interaction with world-renowned faculty in a relaxing, informal setting of natural beauty. 

6 Things I Learned


6 Things I Learned

CST: Tell us five things you learned at the meeting. 

Dr. Werschler: How about six?

  1. Did you know that the average person loses between 1 and 3 cubic centimeters of volume in the face each year after age 40? That means that at a minimum, just to keep up, the average person needs at least one syringe of dermal filler each year. Amazing. 
  2. Management of chronic urticaria has really progressed in the world of allergy and immunology. Newly developed treatment protocols were specified and reviewed at A+MD by an internationally recognized allergist/immunologist. 
  3. Energy devices have continued to improve, especially in the areas of fractionated radio frequency and micro-focused ultrasound. Skin tightening, tone, texture, pigment and quality are all conditions that can be successfully treated with energy in most clinical situations. 
  4. We got a rheumatologist’s perspective on the co-management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. New data on our psoriasis patients shows the prevalence of psoriatic arthritis and the dermatologist’s need to recognize and document joint involvement. 
  5. Deep-plane facelifts, surgical neck rejuvenation and eyelid surgeries were all detailed as dermatologic-surgeon procedures by a UCLA-trained dermatoplastic surgeon. 
  6. Photography as an essential clinical, research and education tool for both disease and desire patients in dermatology was thoroughly reviewed, and many helpful hints were passed along. 

The Aesthetic + Medical Dermatology Symposia will return to Idaho May 20 to 23, 2016, again in Coeur d’Alene, for its second annual meeting. 

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