Skin of Color Society Reaches New Heights in 2021

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The Skin of Color Society (SOCS) has reported record-setting accomplishments this past year.

The SOCS is a professional organization dedicated to advancing skin of color dermatology through research, education, mentorship and advocacy. 

Highlights from the Society's most successful year to date include:

  • The launch of an online learning management system: SOCS Dermatology E-Learning and Equity Platform (DEEP), which enables members to learn straight from leading skin of color dermatology experts at their own pace, and earn continuing medical education (CME) credits through educational webinars and practice management content. 
  • A major Dermatology Research Fellowship program was introduced this year The collaboration with Pfizer Global Medical Grants and the Skin of Color Society Foundation resulted in 14 fellowships awarded to 12 institutions in several regions across the U.S.
  • The SOCS 5th Annual Media Day, held virtually in November 2021, attracted a record number of media attendees, including health, medical, beauty and lifestyle editors, writers and content producers representing top dermatology, medical and consumer news outlets.
  • The 17th Annual Skin of Color Society Virtual Scientific Symposium, held in March 2021, drew in several hundred attendees representing 26 different countries. The well-attended scientific program featured eight invited speakers, who shared presentations and participated in live Q & A panels, six abstract presenters and a Next Generation panel discussion about the future of skin of color dermatology. 
  • Support from OrthoDermatologics and Pfizer, yielded three Skin of Color Society Research Grants awarded to: Courtney Johnson, MD, PhD, for "Investigating the Molecular Differences of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphomas in Black Women for Personalized Therapeutic Options"; Nayoung Lee, MD, for "Laser-Assisted Delivery of 5-Fluorouracil versus Triamcinolone in the Treatment of Keloids"; and Sarah Noor, MD, for "Patterns of Chemotherapy and Endocrine Therapy-induced Alopecia in Black Patients with Breast Cancer."
  • The 2021 Career Development Award was given to Angel S. Byrd, MD, PhD, for her work, "Elucidating the Role of Autoantibodies in Hidradenitis Suppurativa."
  • Plans for the 18th Annual SOCS Scientific Symposium are well underway, with the program happening live and in-person on March 24, 2022 in Boston, MA, in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. Scientific abstract submissions for the symposium surged to 132 abstract applications for consideration, up from 86 submissions last year.
  • The SOCS Mentorship Program, which connects young physicians with approved skin of color dermatology expert members, continued to grow with an all-time high of 94 mentorship applications and 27 observership applications submitted.
  • The SOCS Dermatology Diversity Town Hall series featured a virtual program on the Dermatology Residency Application Process, moderated by Drs. Crystal Aguh & Eva Kerby, SOCS Mentorship Committee Co-Chairs (September 2021). The panel of SOCS members included: Drs. Prince Adotama, Angel Diaz, Roopal Kundu, Janiene Luke, Tiffany Mayo and Kanade Shinkai.
  • Two SOCS Networking & Educational Symposia, supported by Pfizer, were presented virtually this past year: "Truths and Myths in Skin Aging and Skin Cancer in Darker Skin Types," presented by Maritza Perez, MD, FAAD (April 2021); and "Advanced Dermatologic Procedures," hosted by Rawn Bosley, MD, FAAD (February 2021).
  • A first-ever SOCS Grant Writing Webinar was moderated by Dr. Katherine Ayoade and presented virtually by Drs. Donald Glass, Crystal Aguh and Angel Byrd (September 2021).
  • In 2021, SOCS accepted 325 new members bringing the total to a record high of almost 1,200 members representing 35 countries.
  • In November 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates adopted a policy to "encourage comprehensive, inclusive and equitable representation of a diverse range of skin tones in all dermatologic and other relevant medical educational resources for medical students, physicians, non-physician health care providers and patients." SOCS members Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD, (SOCS past president), and Klint Peebles, MD, along with members of the Dermatology Section of the AMA, provided testimony and worked passionately to amend key language, leading to the passage of this milestone AMA resolution.
  • Earlier this year, SOCS leadership embarked on a comprehensive five-year strategic planning process with Tecker International, which is nearing completion and will be shared publicly in early 2022.

"We are so grateful to our dedicated SOCS leaders, members and supporters who have helped us champion diversity, equity and inclusion in dermatology, expand our reach and deepen our impact around the world through many innovative and meaningful programs," said Donald A. Glass II, MD, PhD, FAAD, SOCS president.

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