Dear Future Dermatologists, 

Whether you are a first year medical student considering the field of dermatology, a third year working through clinical rotations or a fourth year student in the midst of the dermatology application process, we hope to provide you with useful information through this DIGA newsletter. 


The DIGA officers are currently coming to the end of our terms. We are looking for medical students to take over our current positions. There are several officer openings within the DIGA group. If you are interested in applying please click here.

Connect with us
Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming events, current dermatology news, and opportunities to get involved in research. Visit our webpage for even more information, including advice on applying to dermatology residency. Connect with us on LinkedIn to grow your professional network. Follow us on Instagram.

Please visit us at our new and improved webpage and check out all the information it has to offer!

Stay Informed
Keep up with the latest dermatology news by subscribing to Dermatology Times! Every week you will receive a newsletter detailing trending articles, diagnostic quizzes and the latest news in the field. Sign up here.
Special Feature: Research Year
Many medical students pursuing dermatology find it helpful to take a research year before applying. According to the NRMP’s 2018 Charting Outcomes in the Match (, published statistics exemplify that research experience is essential for a successful match into the field of dermatology.

For example:
Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications of US allopathic seniors: Matched=14.7; Unmatched=8.6 (p. 12).

Given the impact of research on matching into dermatology, there has been a push toward incorporating a research year into an applicant’s medical education. This article will seek to answer some questions students may have regarding taking a research year, and whether or not a research year is right for him or her.
What are the pros and cons of taking a research year?
A research year is not for everyone. For individuals that have substantial research from their undergraduate career, or for those who have achieved a significant number of research experiences during medical school, a research year is unlikely to improve an individual’s application significantly. However, for those students whose home school does not have a dermatology department or whose home school’s dermatology department does not have many research opportunities, a research year can be particularly beneficial. Other benefits of a research year include:

•    The opportunity to network and have “face time” at a potential residency site.
•    The ability to build strong relationships with academic faculty, with increased opportunity for mentorship and letters of recommendation.
•    A chance to learn more about research and clinical trials, which is particularly relevant for those considering a career in academic medicine or interested in continuing research.
•    Valuable training in the procedures of research projects, including working with Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), drafting research protocols, participating in clinical trials, and writing up research and academic articles.

Again, research years are not for every applicant. There are many burdens of a research year; for example: leaving your original classmates, added cost of living for one additional year without loan eligibility or salary, extending the time it takes to achieve your medical degree, costs and process of relocation, etc. When determining if you are going to take a research year, it is prudent to consider the potential benefits and costs of the year and make sure there is an appropriate balance.
When should I complete my research year?
Students typically take a research year in between their second and third, or third and fourth, years of medical school. Taking the year between your second and third year allows you to finish your Step 1 exam and subsequently spend a year working only on research. Then, you can return to complete your clinical years in one block. However, taking the year between your third and fourth years requires disrupting your clinical experience.
Generally speaking, students prefer to take the year in between their third and fourth years. This way, you can apply the knowledge you were tested on in Step 1 immediately after for your third-year clinical rotations, before focusing exclusively on dermatology for your research year. Then, after a year of dermatology experience, you are well prepared for any away rotations/externships you plan to complete at potential residency options. You also have lots to talk about during your fourth-year residency interviews.
How do I apply for a research year?
If you decide you are going to take a research year, the next question is: how do I apply? Unlike applying for medical school or residency, there is no unified application service for a research year. While there are some sites where research years are listed (for example, on the DIGA website), some schools do not advertise their research years. Instead, it is necessary to reach out to specific faculty or research professors to learn more about opportunities for a research fellowship. An excellent place to start is the institution’s website. Google: "XYZ Department of Dermatology Residency.” From there, you can often access links about the research happening in the department, and opportunities for research fellows. If you are unable to find anything published on the website, consider reaching out the program coordinator or possibly the program director. You can also research faculty and their projects, and directly reach out to those with projects that interest you specifically.
Where should I do my research year?
This is another crucial question and is very subjective. When considering where to complete a research year, some important thoughts to consider include:

•    Where – geographically – am I able to spend this year?
•    Am I willing to move somewhere to work with a specific research advisor or physician, or am I only willing to look at places close to home?
•    Does the place where I spend my year typically take research fellows in their residency?
•    Does the place where I spend my year have a clinical trials unit/research department, or will I be working independently with my project advisor?
•    Is there support staff to help with projects, or will all responsibilities fall on me?
•    Do research fellows typically have many papers published / projects completed by the end of their research year?

In addition to these program-specific questions, you should also focus some time thinking about your own goals and ambitions. Many research years provide you with opportunities, but they give you what you put into them. Often, within any program, there are multiple fellows, and their successes throughout the year reflect how much time, effort and energy they put into their projects.  In the same way, consider how much time and effort you will put into your projects, and remember that your output will be a reflection of that input.
Taking a research year is a personal decision. However, for many students, this is an enriching year, and most everyone who completes one will endorse that the year was both beneficial and enjoyable. Of course, a research year is not a requirement for a successful match, and many students effectively match into dermatology without the addition of a research year. When considering a research year, be sure to speak with your mentors and faculty advisors as you decide what is best for you as an individual applicant.
Psoriasis Awareness
Psoriasis Section

What a year it's been! This year alone, you've helped DIGA spearhead exponential involvement with the National Psoriasis Foundation, and engage with our DIGA Psoriasis segment on the @derminterest Instagram page. So many of you have shared how helpful it has been, and we thank you for your participation and enthusiasm to promote psoriasis awareness. If you haven't already, please check out our educational Psoriasis series on Instagram. We've worked together to cultivate a helpful series of flash facts about current research, epidemiologies, and therapies on psoriasis, and hope you will continue to find it enriching as we continue to build our community for many years to come here at DIGA. 

Below, I have compiled a list of upcoming events sponsored by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) this upcoming winter and spring. If your local DIG chapter participates in these events, we would love submissions of photos to post on our upcoming newsletter. 

Upcoming NPF events:

  • Team NPF Run Bank of America Chicago - Sunday, October 13, 2019 (7:00 AM - 3:30 PM) Chicago, IL 
  • Team NPF Bingo in Portland -- Saturday, February 23, 2019 (5:30 PM - 9:00 PM) Tualatin Country Club 9145 SW Tualatin Road Tualatin, OR 97062
  • Team NPF Cycle Coronado -- Saturday, May 11, 2019 (6:00 AM - 4:00 PM) Silver Strand State Beach 5000 CA-75 Coronado, CA 92118 

  • Austin Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K-- February 17, 2019 (7:00 AM - 3:00 PM) Congress Avenue & East 2nd Street. Austin, TX 
  • Team NPF Cycle North Texas -- Saturday March 23, 2019 (6:30 AM - 12:00 PM) Southfork Ranch 3700 Hogge Road Parker, TX 75002

Mai-Anh Vu 
The University of Texas Medical Branch, School of Medicine - Galveston 
DIGA Psoriasis Chair
Share your research! Upcoming Conferences and Abstract Submission Deadlines


Society for Investigative Dermatology - 77th Annual Meeting
  • Meeting Date: May 8-11, 2019
  • Meeting Location: Chicago, Illinois
South Beach Symposium and Aesthetic Dermatology
  • Meeting Date: February 7-10th, 2019
  • Meeting Location: Miami Beach, Florida
The next edition of the DIGA newsletter will be in the Spring. For publication in our Spring newsletter, please submit the following by March 31st, 2019 to

> Short articles about your DIG's events and activities, accompanied by photos
> Research opportunities
> Creative writing or reflections
> Opportunities to increase medical student involvement within the dermatology community

We look forward to hearing from you! :) 
DIGA Board
Morgan Murphrey

Vice Presidents
Christina Topham

Krysta Lin

Andrew Armenta

Regional Directors

Fatima Mirza

Jeffrey Dickman

Kayo Robinson

Tyler Marion

Committee Chairs

Diversity in Dermatology Chair
Itisha Jefferson

Melanoma Chair/Sun Protection Chair
Lindsey LePoidevin

Professional Societies Liaison
Jennifer Strunck

Psoriasis Chair
Mai-Anh Vu

Public Relations/Social Media Chair
Meredith Gaufin

Residency Interview Database Director
O. Nefertiti Umeh

Emily Henkel
Upcoming Conferences
Access a complete list of dermatology events by visiting the AAD Calendar.
Medical students interested in dermatology can obtain a free trial of their app by reaching out to Lauren MacDonough, our VisualDx contact. I've included her information below: 

Lauren MacDonough
Community Engagement Coordinator
phone 585-272-2638
address 339 East Ave, Suite 410 Rochester, NY 14604
Copyright © 2019 , All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Dermatology Interest Group Association · 833 Chestnut St · Philadelphia, PA 19143 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp