Dermatology Residency

Program Overview

The Dermatology Residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a three-year, ACGME-accredited program that accepts four residents per year.

Program Details

Our accredited Dermatology Residency was started in 1982 and accepts four residents each year in the general dermatology track.

We utilize an advanced program that begins in the PGY-2 year after one year of prerequisite training in internal medicine, general surgery, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics or emergency medicine. The prerequisite year can be done at Penn State College of Medicine or any ACGME-approved program. For these preliminary disciplines, you will be required to submit a separate ERAS application in addition to the specialty application.

An ABD-approved physician-scientist training track, added in 2011, is open to accepted residents in the latter part of their first year of residency and incorporates an additional year of basic and translational research following the PGY-4 (third year of residency).

“… the only things real in any residency program are the people functioning within it, and the relationships they have with each other.”
– David C. Leach, MD

Our residents come from a wide variety of medical schools in the U.S. and internationally. After completing their training at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, our residents have done fellowships in dermatopathology, procedural dermatology and pediatric dermatology. They have entered private practice and academic dermatology as general dermatologists or sub-specialists within dermatology. See details on current residents and past residents.

We have a fantastic environment to support health services, translational and basic science research. A variety of teaching conferences are held each week, and clinical training is closely supervised. In addition, we ask that each of our residents participate in some type of investigative project during their three years with us.

At Penn State Health Dermatology, we strive to have the best faculty and best residents learning in a challenging, yet nurturing environment.

Again, we thank you for your interest in our program. We look forward to receiving your application.

Our Team

Physician Scientist Track

Since 2011, we have offered a physician-scientist residency training track. This is a training opportunity available to any resident who desires exceptional training in clinical dermatology and research to prepare residents for a successful career in investigative dermatology. Interested residents select the physician scientist training track the latter part of the first year of dermatology residency training.

Our department is known for its focus on mentorship and career development of our trainees. Penn State is among the leading academic centers because of its multimillion dollar Clinical and Translational Sciences Award to fund Penn State’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Dr. Thiboutot, in our department, is the Director of Clinical and Translational Research Education and Training for the CTSI and in this role, she is poised to assist our residents on the physician scientist track with mentorship and guidance in selection of research mentors.

Trainees will:

  • Follow same goals and objectives for first and second year residency as outlined
  • Explore potential opportunities and mentors during their weekly professional day given to all residents
  • Identify a research mentor in the College of Medicine or at our University Park campus by the 6th month of dermatology residency with the intent of drafting an application for an NIH F32 postdoctoral training award
  • Follow goals and objectives of the residency program for the first three months of the third year. Resident will then begin investigative studies for the remaining nine months
  • Have limited clinical responsibilities during their third year
  • Attendance in clinic
  • Consults
  • Continuity clinic
  • Become an instructor during their fourth (PGY-5) year

Penn State University is one of the top NIH-research-funded universities in the nation. Dr. Diane Thiboutot, lead basic scientist in the department, has more than two decades of successful external funding from foundations, NIH, and industry. She is the director of the educational portion of the prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Institute for Penn State University and has successfully mentored PhD and MD/PhD students.

We have a highly successful dermatology residency program that repeatedly receives five-year approvals with no deficiencies. Our residents have gone on to be faculty in dermatology departments such as University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, University of California-Davis, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University, Penn State, etc.

There are internationally known researchers/mentors at Hershey and University Park. Our department has a culture that values basic and translational research and strongly supports our educational and research missions.

Goals and Objectives

The aim of the Dermatology Residency Program is to produce excellent clinical dermatologists. This is accomplished in a milieu that encourages personal growth, scientific discovery, and enrichment of patient care abilities. Basic dermatologic surgery skills with expertise to manage complications are taught. Critical analytical skills for the acquisition of new medical information are developed. Dermatopathology interpretive knowledge will be acquired. A comprehensive fund of knowledge should be acquired for the diagnosis and management of common and rare clinical dermatologic problems and also for passing the certifying examination.

To accomplish this, a faculty dedicated to patient care, teaching, research, and intellectual curiosity will provide the infrastructure for the resident learning experience. The resident will be expected to be self-motivated, responsive to guidance, invest the time and effort necessary for self learning, and be dedicated to patient care.

First-Year Goals and Objectives

Goal: To provide continuity of care in a university-based outpatient setting.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Formulate a plan of care in concert with the attending dermatologist and support staff.
    2. Educate the patient and provide rationale for treatment options.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Develop competency in performing a clinical history and physical exam.
    2. Demonstrate knowledge about a broad array of dermatologic conditions and applicable treatments.
    3. Generate broad differential diagnoses.
    4. Display technical proficiency in basic clinical procedures such as: skin biopsies, skin scrapings, comedone extraction, and irrigation and debridement.
    5. Appropriately follow and manage patients on high risk medications.
    6. Coordinate clinical and pathologic findings to secure a diagnosis.
    7. Develop proficiency in performing a dermatology consult and act as liaison to the consulting services.
  • Problem-based learning:
    1. Weekly review of dermatologic literature and discussion of applicability.
    2. Perform literature searches for complex patients.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills with patients and patients’ families both in clinic and on the telephone.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display professional responsibilities including: respect, truthfulness and sensitivity to diversity.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Learn the costs and billing procedures associated with general dermatology.
    2. Work effectively with assistants and colleagues to coordinate comprehensive care.

Goal: To provide an organized educational experience for residents encompassing a broad range of dermatologic surgical techniques.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Understand the role of surgical and cosmetic procedures in dermatology as they pertain to the overall care of the patient.
    2. Develop and carry out surgical and procedural plans in coordination with attending dermatologists.
    3. Educate patients on risks, benefits and expected outcomes of procedures.
    4. Educate patients regarding post-operative course and ensure appropriate follow-up.
    5. Provide surgical care that is compassionate and effective for the promotion of general health.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of normal skin anatomy.
    2. Become proficient with basic surgical skills: anesthesia, electro surgery, cryosurgery, laser surgery, nail surgery, biopsy techniques, excisional surgery including basic flaps and grafts, sclerotherapy, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, and Botulinum toxin injections.
    3. Gain familiarity with Mohs micrographic surgery techniques.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Appraise and assimilate scientific evidence from current dermatologic surgery and general dermatologic literature.
    2. Analyze knowledge base and technical proficiency in the full range of common dermatologic surgery procedures; identify areas for potential improvement.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills with patients, patients’ families, and professional associates.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect, truthfulness and sensitivity to diversity.
    2. Adhere to ethical principles.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Learn the costs and billing procedures associated with dermatologic surgery.
    2. Work effectively with other surgical colleagues to coordinate comprehensive surgical care.

Goal: To educate residents in the subspecialty of dermatopathology.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Understand the role of dermatopathology in the diagnosis of disease and in the overall care of patients.
    2. Learn to optimize biopsy techniques by selecting appropriate biopsy sites, obtaining adequate tissue depth, and minimizing scarring.
    3. Apply histopathologic findings to clinical care.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Learn basic skin histology.
    2. Become familiar with special stains.
    3. Become familiar with direct and indirect immunofluorescence.
    4. Recognize different patterns of inflammatory disease.
    5. Become familiar with common neoplasms.
    6. Generate differential diagnoses based on histological features.
    7. Understand clinical-pathological correlations.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Utilize evidence for dermatopathology literature to interpret both histologic specimens and pathology reports.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Work with dermatopathologists to correlate clinical and pathological findings.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect for patients and dermatopathology colleagues while working for a common goal.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Understand the role of dermatopathology in the health care system.
    2. Learn the costs of dermatopathology services.

Second-Year Goals and Objectives

Goal: To provide continuity of patient care in a university based out-patient setting that adheres to the principles of service excellence.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Formulate a plan of care prior to presenting to attending dermatologist.
    2. Educate the patient and family.
    3. Develop with increased independence rationale for treatment options.
    4. Demonstrate effective time management skills because of increased patient volume.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Develop efficiency in history and physical exam.
    2. Generate differential diagnoses that are clinically relevant.
    3. Display technical proficiency in basic clinical procedures such as: skin biopsies, skin scrapings, comedone extraction.
    4. Appropriately follow and manage patients on high risk medications.
    5. Coordinate clinical and pathologic findings to secure a diagnosis.
    6. Teach medical students and house staff in clinic.
    7. Recruit and organize cases for monthly Grand Rounds meetings.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Weekly review of dermatologic literature and discussion of applicability.
    2. Perform literature searches for complex patients.
    3. Attend monthly clinic meetings to address clinic management issues.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills with patients, patients’ families, and fellow staff members via phone, email, spoken word, and hand-written notes.
    2. Develop effective leadership skills, especially in relationship to first year residents.
    3. Maintain healthy interactions with support staff that promotes team spirit.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect, truthfulness, and sensitivity to diversity.
    2. Demonstrate sensitivity to psychosocial aspects of patient care.
    3. Focus on the primary agenda in clinic: patient care.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Learn the costs and billing procedures associated with medical dermatology.
    2. Work effectively with assistants and colleagues to coordinate comprehensive care.

Goal: To provide an organized educational experience for residents in broad range of dermatologic surgical techniques.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Understand the role of surgical and cosmetic procedures in dermatology as they pertain to the overall care of the patient.
    2. Develop a surgical and procedural plan prior to presenting to attending dermatologists.
    3. Educate patients of risks, benefits and expected outcomes of procedures.
    4. Educate patients regarding post-operative course and ensure appropriate follow-up.
    5. Provide surgical care that is compassionate and effective for the promotion of general health.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of normal skin anatomy.
    2. Become proficient with basic surgical skills: anesthesia, electro surgery, cryosurgery, laser surgery, nail surgery, biopsy techniques, excisional surgery including basic flaps and grafts, sclerotherapy, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, and Botulinum toxin injections.
    3. If career interest is in Procedural Dermatology, including Mohs and Cosmetics, then demonstrate a more advanced scholarly pursuit in these areas (i.e. dedicate academic time to more clinical exposure or develop research projects).
    4. Gain increased familiarity with Mohs micrographic surgery during Mohs rotation.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Appraise and assimilate scientific evidence from current dermatologic surgery and general dermatologic literature.
    2. Analyze knowledge base and technical proficiency in the full range of common dermatologic surgery procedures; identify areas for potential improvement.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills with patients, patients’ families, and professional associates.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect, truthfulness and sensitivity to diversity.
    2. Adhere to ethical principles.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Learn the costs and billing procedures associated with dermatologic surgery.
    2. Work effectively with other surgical colleagues to coordinate comprehensive surgical care.

Goal: To educate residents in the subspecialty of dermatopathology.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Understand the role of dermatopathology in the diagnosis of disease and in the overall care of patients.
    2. Optimize biopsy techniques by selecting appropriate biopsy sites, obtaining adequate tissue depth, and minimizing scarring.
    3. Apply histopathologic findings to clinical care.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Become proficient in basic skin histology.
    2. Develop a more thorough understanding of special stains.
    3. Know and interpret direct and indirect immunofluorescence patterns.
    4. Know the different patterns of inflammatory disease.
    5. Know the patterns of common neoplasms.
    6. Know the histology of rarer skin disease.
    7. Generate differential diagnoses based on histological features.
    8. Understand clinical-pathological correlations.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Utilize evidence for dermatopathology literature to interpret both histologic specimens and pathology reports.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Work with dermatopathologists to correlate clinical and pathological findings.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect for patients and dermatopathology colleagues while working for a common goal.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Understand the role of dermatopathology in the health care system.
    2. Learn the costs of dermatopathology services.

Third-Year Goals and Objectives

Goal: To provide continuity of patient care in a university based out-patient setting that adheres to the principles of service excellence.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Formulate an increasingly independent plan of care in concert with the attending dermatologist and support staff.
    2. Educate patients and families utilizing a variety of techniques: handouts/teach from posters/web-based instruction.
    3. Develop in depth understanding of medications, including mechanism of action, medication interactions, and adverse effects.
    4. Demonstrate effective time management skills because of increased volume of patients scheduled in clinic.
  • Medical and Surgical knowledge:
    1. Develop efficient history and physical exam skills.
    2. Generate clinically-relevant differential diagnoses.
    3. Appropriately follow and manage patients on high risk medications.
    4. Coordinate clinical and pathologic findings to secure a diagnosis.
    5. Develop best practices for teaching house staff and medical students and co-residents.
    6. Develop administrative responsibilities as a chief resident for 4 months.
    7. Explore career, fellowship, or other academic opportunities during 1 month of elective.
    8. Continue to present at national meetings.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Significantly contribute to weekly review of dermatologic literature and discussion of applicability.
    2. Perform literature searches for complex patients.
    3. Attend monthly clinic meetings to address clinic management issues.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills with patients, patients’ families, and fellow staff members via phone, email, spoken word, and hand-written notes.
    2. Develop leadership skills in the clinic by setting the tone for other residents to follow.
    3. Maintain healthy interactions with support staff that promotes team spirit.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect, truthfulness and sensitivity to diversity.
    2. Demonstrate sensitivity to psychosocial aspects of patient care.
    3. Focus on the primary agenda in clinic: patient care.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Learn the costs and billing procedures associated with medical dermatology.
    2. Work effectively with assistants and colleagues to coordinate comprehensive care.

Goal: To provide an organized educational experience for residents in broad range of dermatologic surgical techniques.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Understand the role of surgical and cosmetic procedures in dermatology as they pertain to the overall care of the patient.
    2. Develop independently a surgical and procedural plan prior to presenting to attending dermatologists.
    3. Educate patients of risks, benefits and expected outcomes of procedures.
    4. Educate patients regarding post-operative course and ensure appropriate follow-up.
    5. Provide surgical care that is compassionate and effective for the promotion of general health.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of normal skin anatomy and ability to convey that knowledge to other residents and rotators.
    2. Demonstrate competence with basic surgical skills: anesthesia, electro surgery, cryosurgery, laser surgery, nail surgery, biopsy techniques, excisional surgery including basic flaps and grafts, sclerotherapy, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, and Botulinum toxin injections.
    3. If career interest is in Procedural Dermatology, including Mohs and Cosmetics, then demonstrate a more advanced scholarly pursuit in these areas (i.e. dedicate academic time to more clinical exposure or develop research projects).
    4. Understand the integration of Mohs surgery into your future dermatology surgery practice.
  • Problem-based learning and improvement:
    1. Appraise and assimilate scientific evidence from current dermatologic surgery and general dermatologic literature.
    2. Analyze knowledge base and technical proficiency in the full range of common dermatologic surgery procedures; identify areas for potential improvement.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills with patients, patients’ families, and professional associates.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect, truthfulness and sensitivity to diversity.
    2. Adhere to ethical principles.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Learn the costs and billing procedures associated with dermatologic surgery.
    2. Work effectively with other surgical colleagues to coordinate comprehensive surgical care.

Goal: To educate residents in the subspecialty of dermatopathology.

Objectives:

  • Patient care:
    1. Understand the role of dermatopathology in the diagnosis of disease and in the overall care of patients.
    2. Demonstrate independence in selection of biopsy techniques by determining appropriate biopsy sites, obtaining adequate tissue depth, and minimizing scarring.
    3. Apply histopathologic findings to clinical care.
  • Medical knowledge:
    1. Be able to teach fellow residents basic skin histology.
    2. Know special stains and teach fellow residents about these stains.
    3. Know and interpret direct and indirect immunofluorescence patterns.
    4. Know the different patterns of inflammatory disease.
    5. Know the patterns of common neoplasms.
    6. Know the histology of rarer skin disease.
    7. Independently present to the dermatopathologist a reasonable diagnosis for an unknown slide.
    8. Generate differential diagnoses based on histological features.
    9. Understand clinical-pathological correlations.
  • Practice-based learning and improvement:
    1. Utilize evidence for dermatopathology literature to interpret both histologic specimens and pathology reports.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills:
    1. Work with dermatopathologists to correlate clinical and pathological findings.
  • Professionalism:
    1. Display respect for patients and dermatopathology colleagues while working for a common goal.
  • Systems-based practice:
    1. Understand the role of dermatopathology in the health care system.
    2. Learn the costs of dermatopathology services.

Leadership Curriculum

Our residents have the unique opportunity to learn an enriching set of skills during their three years at Penn State Dermatology.

Objective

Develop lifelong leadership skills to enrich your dermatology practice in any setting.

Rationale

Current residency curricula elsewhere have carefully focused on creating knowledgeable and skilled physicians but generally have not emphasized training their residents in leadership skills. We propose that leadership skills are important and can be taught and cultivated. This ensures that our residents are capable of leading the dermatology department wherever their future setting may be!

Topics Covered by Diverse Learning Experiences

  • Leadership
  • Team-building
  • Enabling and embracing change
  • Quality
  • Conflict management
  • Effective communication
  • How to run productive meetings
  • Mentoring
  • Cultural competency
  • Curriculum

Approach

Our leadership curriculum develops our residents’ leadership knowledge and skills using a wide variety of teaching methods and resources. Leadership is taught formally in didactic sessions and workshops, as well as informally through our staff meetings and participation in departmental, institutional and national committees. We use a variety of resources to teach including texts, videos and case discussions, including:

  • Fish, Stephen C. Lundin, PhD, Harry Paul and John Christensen, Hyperion, 2000
  • Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni, Jossey-Bass, 2002
  • Fish video
  • Give Them the Pickle video

Teaching Approach

The teaching approach in the Dermatology Residency includes weekly, monthly and elective activities.

Weekly Schedule

Every day begins with an 8 a.m. lecture, more than 95 percent of which are given by the attending physicians. We cover a broad range of topics that range in general and subspecialty dermatology. Wednesday morning lecture is an at-scope lecture lead by one of the dermatopathologists.

The typical week is split into 10 half-day segments. Six half-day clinics are general dermatology clinics. One half-day is reserved for pediatric dermatology and surgery. Most are continuity clinics, which allows the resident to follow their own patients and enrich their educational experience. A single electronic medical record (EMR) across all outpatient sites as well as the inpatient hospital makes for efficient and effective patient care.

The remaining two half-days are reserved academic time, which can be used for studying, research, or pursuit of further education at any clinic in the hospital.

All clinics are continuity clinics.

Each resident spends one day (two half-days) at a either the Nyes Road or Camp Hill satellite clinics. This allows residents to experience different patient populations and office management styles.

Upon starting their residency, each resident receives:

  • Contact Dermatitis Textbook: Marks
  • Dermatopathology Textbook: Weedon
  • Dermatoscope
  • General Dermatology Textbook: Bolognia
  • Pediatric Dermatology Textbook: Hurwitz

Monthly Schedule

Penn State hosts nine grand rounds a year, with patients both from our hospital-based clinic as well as community dermatology clinics. We attend monthly grand rounds hosted by Geisinger’s dermatology department and three grand rounds presented by the Philadelphia Dermatological Society.

Elective Schedule

First-Year Residents

  • Two weeks of dermatopathology
  • One week of Mohs

Second-Year Residents

  • Three weeks of dermatopathology
  • Three weeks of Mohs
  • One week to attend Camp Discovery

Third-Year Residents

  • Two weeks of dermatopathology
  • Two weeks of Mohs
  • Three weeks of away elective time

During these elective periods, residents will continue to have half-day continuity clinic as well as Open Access Clinic. During their elective time, residents can take it upon themselves to arrange exposure to cosmetic procedures, plastics, etc.

Responsibilities

The following are the responsibilities of the fellows in each year.

First-Year Resident

  • Outpatient clinic: Nine patients per clinic (one every 15 minutes). Eight half-day clinics per week, including a half-day of Surgery Clinic and a half-day of acute care clinic every week.
  • Inpatient consult service: one month.
  • Prepare summary of inpatient consult cases for the month to present to faculty and residents.
  • Attend all dermatology teaching conferences.
  • Prepare conference room for Grand Rounds.
  • Give one basic science lecture.
  • Cover for fellow first-years on vacation, elective, etc.
  • Educating medical students and rotating residents in clinic.
  • Arrange and conduct two ethics article reviews.
  • Six to seven weeks on call. Rotate on call for weeknights and weekends with other residents.
  • Two weeks of dermatopathology elective time
  • One week of Mohs elective time
  • Evaluate and manage inpatient consultations

Second-Year Resident

  • Outpatient clinic: Nine patients per clinic (one every 15 minutes).  Eight half-day clinics per week, including a half-day of Surgery Clinic and a half-day of acute care clinic every week.
  • Inpatient consult service: six weeks.
  • Attend all dermatology teaching conferences.
  • Research project formulated and proposal written by end of second year or case report in publishable form.
  • Three weeks of dermatopathology elective time.
  • Three weeks of Mohs surgery elective time.
  • Six weeks on call. Rotate on call for weeknights and weekends with other residents.
  • Clerkship orientation for medical students and rotating residents.
  • Educating medical students and rotating residents in clinic.
  • Attend American Academy of Dermatology Meeting (submit abstract for presentation at Gross and Microscopic Symposium) or attend a sub-specialty meeting.
  • Organize Grand Rounds.
  • Take pictures of Grand Rounds patients. File individual case histories and corresponding patient pictures in Mirror.
  • Give one basic science lecture.
  • Camp Horizon – a camp for children with skin diseases – one-week elective.
  • Cover for fellow second-years on vacation, elective, etc.
  • Arrange and conduct two ethics article reviews.
  • Evaluate and manage inpatient consultations

Third-Year Resident

  • Outpatient clinic: Nine patients per clinic. (One every 15 minutes). Eight half-day clinics per week, including a half-day of Surgery Clinic and a half-day of acute care clinic every week.
  • Share Chief Resident responsibilities.
  • Inpatient consult: one month.
  • Arrange on-call and vacation schedule of residents.
  • Attend all dermatology teaching conferences.
  • Conduct Patient Conference.
  • Give dermatology lectures to other departments and high school students as requested.
  • Two weeks of dermatopathology time
  • Two week of Mohs elective time.
  • Three-week educational elective. The elective can be done at another institution if desired.
  • Five weeks on call. Rotate on call for weeknights and weekends with other residents.
  • Educating medical students and rotating residents in clinic.
  • Teach medical students during their clerkship the basics of dermatology through a series of lectures.
  • Attend American Academy of Dermatology (submit abstract for Gross and Microscopic Symposium) or a sub-specialty meeting. Attend Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology Meeting (one resident presents at Resident’s Forum).
  • Give one basic science lecture.
  • Maintain orderly dermatology library.
  • Cover for fellow third-years on vacation, elective, etc.
  • Edit annual newsletter.
  • Evaluate and manage inpatient consultations

Residents’ Life

This video by Tim Hansen, MD, was recorded during his residency at Penn State. He is now a Mohs surgeon in Iowa.

Learning Environment

Our residents start a continuity clinic beginning on the first day of residency. All of the faculty members share in precepting the continuity clinic. Every new patient seen is then followed by that resident for the duration of residency. Residents spend seven half-days per week in continuity clinic. This experience is excellent preparation for the practice of dermatology.

Each resident has one half-day of surgery every week. There are two half-days per week allotted for academic/research time. The remainder of the week is spent in patient clinics. All residents have clinics at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Residents also have one day per week of continuity clinic. One of these offices is on Nyes Road in Harrisburg, and the other is in Camp Hill. They both have a more of a “private-practice feel” but still offer the same excellent educational experience as our hub at Hershey. Residents see patients in a continuity clinic attended by our core faculty one day per week, but no resident goes to both offices. To ensure that travel to the Nyes Road/Camp Hill satellite clinic is not burdensome, residents have only one day at the satellite office per week. There are no half-day clinics at the satellite office – once you are there, you stay there for the whole day to minimize travel requirements. When at the satellite office, residents are not expected to come back to Hershey at the end of the day, but they are still expected to attend morning conference at Hershey. Adequate travel time is allowed to get to the Nyes Road and the Camp Hill satellite offices after morning conference.

Each year, residents spend time rotating through Mohs surgery and dermatopathology. Third year residents have also have several weeks of available elective time, which may be utilized for dermatopathology, Mohs surgery, research or training in outside institutions. For ease of patient continuity during elective months, one half-day of clinic is incorporated per week during the elective time. Special arrangements can be made for clinic coverage during away electives. Each resident has a minimum of one half-day per week of surgery. Residents are the principal surgeon on the vast majority of cases, supervised by an attending. Emphasis is placed on basic surgical techniques for removal of neoplasms. A Mohs surgery elective is scheduled every year. There are surgical conferences frequently throughout the year. Cosmetic training is available to residents through cosmetic clinics, lectures, on and off campus shadowing of cosmetic procedures, and through elective time during third year.

Although challenging, this program remains friendly, nurturing and collegial — feel free to ask our residents!

Boasting a 100-percent pass rate for the past 10 years, our graduates are well-prepared for their future careers as well as the board exam.

Conferences and Journal Clubs

Weekday conferences are held from 8 to 9 a.m.

Monday is Journal Club, which is held four times per month. The four Journal Clubs are:

  • JAMA Dermatology
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
  • Ancillary dermatology journals (including The Journal of Investigative Dermatology)
  • Ancillary medical journals/ethics conference (i.e. NEJM)

Attending physicians are present and prepared for the lively discussions that ensue in Journal Club.

Wednesday mornings are dermatopathology conferences.

Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings are an opportunity to review various topics – general dermatology, surgery, basic science, Kodachrome unknown sessions, etc., that are lead by attendings. 

Once a month during faculty meeting, the residents have their own didactics, but otherwise, 100 percent of conferences are attending-run.

In addition, each resident is responsible for a basic science lecture each year, formally delivered during Grand Rounds on the topic of their choice/interest.

Second- and third-year residents attend the Annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting. Third-year residents attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology meeting. All Residents attend the State-of-the-Art Issues meeting held every other year when Penn State dermatologist alumni return to campus. Residents are provided with five conference days per year in their second and third years.

Community Service

Every month at least one of our doctors/residents travels to the Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg for a dermatology clinic. This clinic cares for the homeless population of the city. In addition, Penn State Dermatology hosts an annual free skin check clinic each May where all doctors participate. Our second-year residents volunteer at Camp Horizon, which hosts children with severe skin diseases.

Research

Every resident is required to complete at least one research project. This may be a clinical trial, review article or basic science research. There are numerous opportunities to pursue research.

We have a dedicated and busy clinical trials unit with investigator- and industry-sponsored studies. We support our residents’ research using funds made possible by the Residency Gift Fund, a fund supported by the generous alumni of our program. In addition, our residents have received competitive grants to support their research projects

Our attending physicians have varied interests and areas of expertise, including hair loss, contact dermatitis, acne, rosacea, skin cancer, immunology, pediatrics, cutaneous lymphoma, rheumatologic dermatology and pharmacology.

To Apply

All applications must be submitted through ERAS and must include:

  • Common application form (CAF)
  • Personal statements
  • Transcripts
  • MSPE/dean’s letter
  • Letters of recommendation (at least three; maximum of four)
  • USMLE transcripts

We receive well over 400 applicants, interview 35 to 40, and accept four residents per year.

We only utilize the National Residents Matching Program, NRMP, for our match process. Please visit the ERAS web site for further information, or contact them via email at erashelp@aamc.org. The National Residents Matching Program, NRMP, is also a great source of information.

Application Requirements

We interview senior medical students and candidates who have completed their PGY-1 year as well as applicants with training beyond this. In addition to the application and requested letters of recommendation, we also require a copy of your dean’s letter and transcript.

Application Deadline

Your application and supporting materials should be submitted and completed by Oct. 1. Applications or supporting documents by mail will not be accepted.

Interviews

We contact applicants via email to schedule interviews. We request a response within 48 hours prior to concluding non-interest. Our interviews take place in late November and early December each year.

Current Residents

Past Residents

Contact Us

Mailing Address

Department of Dermatology
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
UPC II Suite 4300 MC HU14
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033

General Contact Information

Phone: 717-531-5898

Email: cdowden@pennstatehealth.psu.edu

Penn State College of Medicine is an equal-opportunity employer and accepts all qualified applications regardless of their gender, ethnic origin or religious background.