Our History

For more than 125 years the ILDS has shaped international dermatology; from the World Congress of Dermatology, to providing grants for small scale initiatives in under-served parts of the world.

1889-1935
Since 1889 the World Congress of Dermatology has provided an opportunity for dermatologists to come together to share their clinical experiences and scientific advances on both a professional and personal level.

The first of these Congresses was held in 1889 in Paris, followed by Vienna (1892), London (1896), Paris (1900) and Berlin (1904). By the Berlin Congress there was a growing consensus on the importance of establishing international cooperation within the field of dermatology. However, it wasn’t until the 1935 Congress in Budapest that the ILDS formally came into being.

1935-2005
12 more Congresses were held, from Budapest and Seoul, to Buenos Aires and Vancouver. We have traversed the globe bringing dermatologists together to share the broad range of approaches to skin health and disease that exists throughout the world.

In 1987 the International Foundation for Dermatology (IFD) was founded. The IFD acts on behalf of the ILDS to improve dermatological care in under-served areas of the world; through education, service provision, public health intervention and clinical research.

The Regional Dermatology Training Centre (RDTC) in Moshi, Tanzania, was founded in 1990 as a joint enterprise between the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and the ILDS, on land provided by the Good Samaritan Foundation.

ILDS today
The ILDS represents more than 170 Members from over 80 countries and has access to the experience of more than 150,000 dermatologists.

We provide strategic international leadership: working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO); developing guidelines and glossaries; raising awareness of skin conditions with our global campaign World Skin Health Day; and bringing together over 10,000 dermatologists during the World Congress of Dermatology to learn and share their professional experience.

Our Members are at the heart of what we do and are the driving force behind our vision to attain the best possible skin health for all people around the world. We recognise outstanding dermatologists around the world with our Awards, as well as providing project specific grants for Members to support initiatives in underserved parts of the world.

For more than 20 years the ILDS, through the IFD, has been working to improve dermatological care in resource-poor areas. Today we provide long-term support to projects in Argentina, Cambodia, Mexico and Tanzania, as well as our annual ILDS DermLink Grants which fund short-term projects. Alongside this we support the International Alliance for the Control of Scabies and work closely with the World Health Organisation on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Non-Communicable Diseases.

ILDS: A History

In 2015 we published "ILDS: A History" which chronicles the history of the ILDS; from 1889 to 2015.
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