ILDS Summit Bursary Spotlight

27 September 2018

The ILDS has a global reach and is committed to encouraging the participation of Members from all world regions. The ILDS Summit Bursary Programme supported Member representatives who would otherwise not be able to attend the Summit.
Dr John Zic from the United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium shares his experience of the World Skin Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

John Zic
Dr John Zic with Prof Jean Bolognia at the 2018 ILDS World Skin Summit

The United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium (USCLC) is a multi-specialty professional organization representing healthcare providers managing the rare cutaneous lymphomas in the United States. As a USCLC representative, I wanted to attend the ILDS Summit to learn about global unmet needs in treating neglected and rare cutaneous diseases. In particular, I hoped to learn about the burden of cutaneous lymphoma and treatment in areas with limited resources.

What I learned from the ILDS Summit went well beyond my expectations. First and foremost, I learned about the global impact of the ILDS through WHO policy initiatives, Global Psoriasis Atlas, the International Foundation for Dermatology and, of course, the quadrennial World Congress of Dermatology. Other educational highlights for me included learning about how dermatologists in India and Vietnam are wiping out leprosy, why leishmaniasis should be considered one of the great imitators in dermatology, the skin health policy impact of the coup in Mali, the clever use of teledermatology kiosks in Nigeria and the hundreds of advanced dermato-venereology diploma recipients to graduate from the Regional Dermatology Training Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.

The highlight of the Summit was the opportunity to engage in one-on-one deep discussions about issues facing dermatologists from around the world. Whether you reside in Asia, the UK or Africa, access to well-trained dermatologists is limited by number and/or geography. In terms of cutaneous lymphoma, I learned about the need for more resources to manage these rare diseases from colleagues in the Middle East, Africa and Nepal. The USCLC is eager to offer any dermatologist in the world an international membership in our organization to gain access to our cutaneous lymphoma registry so they can start tracking the burden of cutaneous lymphoma in their region using a state-of-the-art web-based platform. I was excited to see the Proposed Action 2 from the Workshop on Evidence-based Care encouraging individual societies to become more involved in registries of rare non-infectious skin diseases.

I have had the opportunity to share my enriching experience at the Summit with my colleagues at Vanderbilt University Department of Dermatology and with the USCLC Board of Directors.

The impact the Summit had on me extends beyond my new knowledge about global skin health. I left the Summit energized and filled with pride after seeing the impact of dermatologists from around the world on disabling and disfiguring skin disease through direct patient care, research, policy initiatives and education of all levels of healthcare providers.