Jeff De La Rosa 2017-08-11 23:57:04
Though we do not always stop to think about it, each of us leaves a mark in the world every day. The love we share with friends and family, the thoughtfulness with which we treat our associates, the kindness we show to strangers: each of these nudges the world in a positive direction, leaving things a little better than before. Dedicated individuals who care about dermatology and philanthropy make an even more lasting impression in the world. Dermatologists and others who support the specialty in various ways improve the world by saving the lives of patients, by bettering their lives through treatment, and even by giving them the courage and confidence to face the day. For most of us, there comes a time when we wish to make an even bigger mark. No longer content to simply improve the world day-by-day and patient-by-patient, we begin to think intentionally about the lasting change we wish to make in the world. The stories on the following pages are about people whose lives have been enriched by their involvement in the specialty. Some of them have been touched by adversity, but all of them have looked out into the world and identified a need that they could fill with time, treasure, and talent. They are making a targeted, mindful investment in making the world a better place. The stories are also all about AAD members — and how their commitment to the AAD helps ensure a strong future. We hope that their stories will inspire you to think about all the ways you leave your mark on the world, both in your personal life and through your investment in the specialty, as well as with the American Academy of Dermatology. “Projects dear to our heart” For dermatologist-turned-entrepreneur Phillip Frost, MD, and his wife Patricia, leaving their mark involves reaching out in many directions. “We try to impact as many people as possible in a positive way,” Dr. Frost observes. Dr. Frost serves as chairman of OPKO Health, a multinational pharmaceutical and diagnostics company headquartered in Miami. He is also past chairman of the Israel-based generic drug manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Patricia, a career educator, has worked as an elementary school principal and serves on the Board of Governors of Florida’s state university system. “We like to invest in projects that are dear to our hearts,” says Dr. Frost. Given Patricia’s background, it’s not surprising that education is a priority. In 2014, the couple established the Frost Scholars program, which sends students from Florida’s state universities to study science, technology, engineering, and math subjects at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and return to the U.S. with a master’s degree from Oxford. The Frosts are also great patrons of the arts. In 2003, they made a naming donation to the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. “The school is not only rewarding for the music it provides,” Dr. Frost observes, “but also for the great musicians it develops, many of whom stay in the area.” In another example of art and philanthropy, the Frosts donated their 113-piece collection of American abstract art to the Smithsonian Institution in 1986. “There are also cases in which we have wanted to show appreciation,” says Dr. Frost. “Patricia and I are mindful of people who have helped us in various ways, serving as mentors or just helping us to get to the next level.” Such a sense of obligation led the Frosts to work with the American Academy of Dermatology to establish the Eugene J. Van Scott Award for Innovative Therapy of the Skin. The award is named in honor of Dr. Frost’s lifelong mentor, whom he met as a clinical associate at the National Cancer Institute. “I was prompted by a desire to recognize his mentorship,” Dr. Frost remarks, “and at the same time to give back to dermatology in general.” “I’m also interested in projects that will help Miami grow and prosper,” Dr. Frost adds. A major achievement in that direction has been in the establishment of the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Opened in 2017, the 250,000-square-foot structure boasts a 500,000-gallon aquarium filled with sharks and a large variety of ocean fish, with viewing from below. The museum also features a planetarium and a number of high-tech interactive exhibits. “So far, the museum has been an enormous success in terms of visitors and media.” If there is a unifying theme to the Frosts’ diverse philanthropic interests, it is that they have chosen areas where their passions enabled them to provide not just money, but also guidance and inspiration. “I would like to feel that we have been thoughtful in considering which objectives to support, and that we have chosen well, and that it was worth it.” Dr. Frost notes that the desire toward philanthropy is not necessarily something everyone is born with, but something everyone can cultivate within themselves. “Giving is always a great sort of satisfaction. It isn’t necessarily instinctive. It’s to be developed. It’s a habit that develops. Once it does, it gives a lot of pleasure.” Days of wine and resilience For dermatologist Kary Duncan, MD, and her husband David, leaving their mark means reaching out to elevate the community. “Whatever area we touch,” Dr. Duncan says, “we always want to lift it a little higher, to leave it a little better than before.” The Duncans live in St. Helena, a town of some 6,000 people in California’s Napa Valley. Dr. Duncan is in private practice there, and David runs two family-owned wineries: Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. The Duncans are active in a number of charitable causes, including the V Foundation, which raises money for cancer research. Early in her career, Dr. Duncan set out to make a much different mark — in academia. After residencies and chief residencies in internal medicine at the University of Colorado and then dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, she returned to Colorado to begin a career in academic dermatology and internal medicine, where she served as the assistant chief of medicine at the University of Colorado Hospital. “Then one day,” Dr. Duncan recalls, “David came to me and said, ‘Do you want to move to California? My dad wants me to run our family winery.’” The Duncans gave up their wonderful, stable life in Denver and moved their growing family to Napa Valley, where Dr. Duncan started a small private practice in dermatology. “We’re both passionate about wine,” Dr. Duncan remarks. “I’m not in there every day making the wine, but I do help out with some of the design issues and I am an enthusiastic ambassador of the family wineries.” The winery and its ties to the community have provided the Duncans with plenty of opportunity to invest their time, money, and effort in charitable causes. They have been active in Auction Napa Valley for years, serving as co-chairs in 2014 and raising the most money at a wine auction in U.S. history. This charity auction raises millions of dollars for local education and health services. Causes such as Auction Napa Valley enable the Duncans to combine their love of wine with a passion for helping the community. “Wine is such a wonderful business to be in,” Dr. Duncan observes. “Our wine is made to bring joy to people. It is meant to be enjoyed with good food, family, and friends. This just allows us to take those experiences of joy and friendship and spread them to the community at large.” The Duncans have also worked closely with the St. Helena Hospital, where David has served on the board for many years, and with OLE Health, a non-profit community health center that provides services to one in four Napa County residents, where Dr. Duncan was president of the Board of Directors and a Board member for over a decade. In addition, the Duncans have been active fundraisers at the St. Helena Montessori School, where their three children attended. Dr. Duncan’s volunteer work has taken on a more personal turn in recent years. In 2016, she underwent an allogeneic stem cell transplant at UCSF Medical Center for myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare disease in which the bone marrow fails to produce enough healthy blood cells. The diagnosis led her to the University of Chicago’s Lucy Godley, MD, PhD, who is studying the inherited basis of hematologic malignancies. Dr. Duncan enrolled her family in Dr. Godley’s study and a gene mutation (CHEK2) was found that previously had not been associated with hematologic malignancies. Dr. Godley now has over two dozen families with this mutation and hematologic malignancies and she is working on a mouse model to better elucidate the mutated gene’s role. Dr. Duncan is passionate about furthering the understanding and awareness of Dr. Godley’s work with the inherited basis of hematologic malignancies, an activity she refers to as “channeling my health issues into hope for others.” Through it all, Dr. Duncan has managed to maintain an involvement in academic medicine, volunteering as a test writing committee member for the American Board of Dermatology and even co-authoring the textbook Dermatology Essentials in 2014 with three of her colleagues. But reflecting on the life she has built in St. Helena, she observes, “What a blessing to be out here with my husband and family! There’s a tendency to think you have to be in academic medicine to change the world, but in a small community, you can really make a difference.” Survival, research, and giving back Pharmaceutical executive Charles Stiefel and his wife Daneen are leaving their mark through targeted donations. “There are a million worthy causes out there,” Stiefel notes. “You have to find the one where you can make a genuine difference.” Stiefel did not have to look far to find a cause that is dear to him. His family has been particularly touched by cancer. “I lost my mom, my dad, and my uncle to cancer. I lost my little brother to Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 18.” The loss of his brother at such a young age had a particular impact. Stiefel notes that today, a Hodgkin’s diagnosis carries a much better chance of survival. “The difference really is medical research,” he observes. “The people who get that disease now have the benefit of medical research that has been performed and funded by those who have come since.” This insight has led Stiefel to focus his philanthropy in medical research, particularly in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disorders, which have also touched his family. Stiefel’s involvement in dermatology has its roots in the family business. Founded in 1847, Stiefel Laboratories grew from a maker of medicinal soaps to a global dermatological pharmaceutical company. “I wanted to be part of it since I was a little kid,” Stiefel recalls. He joined the company as general counsel in 1982, becoming CEO in 2001. GlaxoSmithKline acquired Stiefel Laboratories in 2009. During Stiefel’s tenure, the company was a major donor to the American Academy of Dermatology. Today, Stiefel serves as a board member at Encore Dermatology and as chairman of the Board of Directors at Brickell Biotech. “Both companies are 100 percent focused on dermatology.” Stiefel is also vice chairman of the Board at Duke Health. Stiefel’s pharmaceutical experience helps him to identify areas of medical research where a targeted donation can have a major impact. Stiefel is a founding member of the Discovery Fund at Yale Cancer Center. The program provides research grants for promising but novel treatment approaches, which can have trouble finding funding. Stiefel has also worked with a dermatology research organization to establish the Charles and Daneen Stiefel Scholar Award. The award helps support researchers working in autoimmune disease and cancer research. One Stiefel scholar, and another AAD member, Aimee Payne, MD, recently had her research published in the prestigious journal Science. Stiefel is not only interested in improving treatment outcomes, but also in reducing the side effects of treatment and improving the experience of patients. He has an insider’s perspective on the patient experience. In 2006, he received his own diagnosis of advanced stage metastatic cancer. “I was facing the possibility of being dead in a year,” he recalls. Stiefel attributes his survival to the care he received at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. His generous donations led MD Anderson to rename its Head and Neck Cancer Center in honor of the Stiefels. “If I had gotten that diagnosis a decade earlier, I’d be dead now,” Stiefel reflected. “I benefited from research. Shouldn’t I try to support research that will benefit future generations?” Learn how you can give back to your community and support the AAD by calling (847) 240-1037 or visiting www.aad.org/waystogive
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