Meet the Board: Lars French

22 August 2019

The latest instalment of our "Meet the Board" series is from Lars French. Lars joined the ILDS Board in 2015 as an International Director and has served on the ILDS/WCD 2019 Scientific Programme Committee and as Chair of the ILDS-WHO Committee. Lars was elected as the ILDS President in June 2019 during the World Congress of Dermatology in Milan.

3517 WCD 2019 Plenary Session Chiusura Convegno 15 06
Lars French speaks at the WCD closing ceremony

I have been an International Board Member of the ILDS since 2015 and am the new ILDS President as of June 2019. As such I will be serving the ILDS and its Members in this function from June 2019-July 2023 the latter being the date of our next World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) in Singapore.

During my first 4-year term on the board of the ILDS, I have been primarily involved as a member of the WCD Scientific Program Committee and as Chair of the ILDS-WHO Committee. In my latter function, and together with a team of dedicated individuals within the ILDS-WHO Committee (R Chalmers, C Griffiths, C Fuller, R hay, U Blume-Peytavi, O Chosidow, L Naldi, M Augustin, J White and SM John) our main challenge was to engage in important sustainable health projects with the World Health Organization (WHO) and strive towards gaining the status of a non-state actor  in official relations with the WHO. Between 2015 and 2019 six project areas of intense collaboration with the WHO (ICD-11, neglected tropical diseases, aging and life course, essential medicines, noncommunicable diseases and occupational health) were taken forward, including the admission of the ILDS, in February 2019, into official relations with the WHO.

Notable achievements of the ILDS in collaboration with the WHO over the last 4 years were:

  • Developing, revising, field-testing & rationalising the Classification used in ICD-11 for skin and related diseases with the subsequent launch of ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics in June 2018
  • Development and release of a WHO Training Guide for the Recognition of Neglected Tropical Diseases through Changes on the Skin in 2018
  • Application and approval in 2017 of Itraconazole and Voriconazole by the WHO as essential medicines
  • Getting skin cancer to be codable as occupational or not in ICD-11
  • Contributing to the WHO Global Report on Psoriasis and ongoing development of a Global Psoriasis Atlas
  • Contributing to the WHO World Report on Aging and Health with a chapter on age-associated skin conditions and diseases
2019.03.28 WHO ICD11 And ILDS Edit
Meeting of the ILDS-WHO Committee with Dr Robert Jakob and colleagues of the WHO ICD-11 Department at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland 2019.

On a more personal note, I am a clinician-scientist and the current Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology and Allergology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Between October 2006 and 2018 I was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the Zürich University Hospital in Switzerland, having previously trained at the Department of Dermatology of the University of Geneva under the direction of Professor Saurat and performed a fellowship at the Department of Dermatology of the University of Pennsylvania, USA. I am probably best known for my group’s research activities in the field of inflammatory skin disease and adverse cutaneous drug reactions, as well as for my activities as board-member, secretary-treasurer and past-president of the European Society of Dermatological Research (ESDR) and European Dermatology Forum (EDF).

The ILDS with its uppermost goal of “skin health for the world” has made it clear to me that small actions can make a large difference for individuals with great need in the many resource-poor regions of our world. Together with over 200,000 dermatologists worldwide and more than 180 supportive Members, the ILDS strives to attain the above goal by providing strategic leadership, engaging with you and our Members, and promoting humanitarian dermatology to improve dermatological care in under-served areas of the world.

I look forward to working together!


Lars French
ILDS President