Journal of Dermatology for Physician Assistants

The official journal of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants

SDPA Annual Summer Conference 2021 – A Hybrid Experience

The Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) returned to the in-person continuing medical education conference scene this past summer, hosting the SDPA Annual Summer Dermatology Conference 2021 on July 22-25, 2021, at Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois. The conference marked the society’s first ever hybrid conference, which offered attendees the choice to participate in-person (live), virtually (live streamed), or on-demand following the event. Despite the ongoing pandemic and news of the delta variant just emerging, live conference participants—attendees, faculty, leadership, staff, and industry partners—exuded a collective excitement to be “back;” and the city of Chicago, seasonably warm and bustling with tourists, seemed to welcome everyone with equal enthusiasm.

Integrative Dermatology. Peter Lio, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and physician at Medical Dermatology Associates of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, served as Summer Conference Medical Director. Dr. Lio, a Chicago native, could be seen on stage delivering multiple presentations and around the conference venue making new connections. He gave back-to-back sessions on two unique, connected topics—Integrative Dermatology and Cannabinoids in Dermatology. He shared evidence behind integrative approaches in dermatology for a variety of common conditions, including psoriasis, warts, and acne, as well as insight into why many patients seek integrative or alternative therapies. Several case descriptions revealed that patients are often “phobic” of Western treatments like steroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, antibiotics, and anything containing preservatives (e.g., parabens), or chemicals. Some alternative therapies discussed included the following:

• Psoriasis: fish oil and indigo
• Acne: tea tree oil, spearmint tea, vitamins (niacinamide, Pantothenic acid [vitamin B5]), and physical modalities (e.g., PDT, blue light/red light alone, chemical peels, extractions, other lasers and light sources)
• Warts: propolis, zinc, and garlic
• Atopic Dermatitis: acupuncture, acupressure, coconut oil, topical B12, black tea compresses, hempseed oil

Transgender Medicine. Tiffany Pierce, PA-C, began her presentation with a simple slide stating, “Transgender Medicine, The Dermatology Version” and a bulleted list of credentials: transgender PA, special forces medic, laser guru (self-designated), state and national medical conference dermatology presenter/speaker, and lecturer/speaker on dermatology at PA programs. Ms. Pierce, provided a basic overview of gender dysphoria, inter-sex conditions, sexual minorities, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Her talk illustrated the significant positive impact dermatology can have for transgender patients.

Perils of Penile Pathology. SDPA Founder and past president Joe Monroe, MPAS, PA-C, covered common and not-so-common penile conditions and lesions, in a two-part series designed especially for providers who seldom see this part of the male anatomy. Featuring photos from his own 35-year collection, Mr. Monroe approached the topic with expertise and a little humor. He engaged the audience with question-and-answer slides on various penile conditions. One important take-home message from these lectures was that yeast infections of the penis or surrounding areas are “quite uncommon and vastly over diagnosed,” therefore, dermatology clinicians should consider the differential diagnoses first.

Bright Lights! Big City!
SDPA was delighted to have been joined by 700+ dermatology PAs and professionals in person and virtually from around the country. For those onsite, SDPA Annual Summer Conference was as entertaining as it was educational. Onsite attendees quickly caught on to the popular Where’s Sherman? contest, arriving early to search the lobby and ballroom for Sherman the snake, the flashy reptile who escaped his spot on the SDPA logo. Attendees who found Sherman, a plush stuffed animal hidden each day of the conference, traded him in for a DermLite Dermatoscope.

There were also plenty of opportunities to socialize and network. One memorable event was The Last Speakeasy hosted at the Chicago InterContinental. Everyone embraced the Roaring 1920s-theme with style and had a blast learning the Charleston.

SDPA Annual Summer Conference 2021
Conference abstracts are available in both print and online versions of Journal of Dermatology
for Physician Assistants (JDPA), Summer 2021 issue. Visit to access today!

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