Danielle Tokarz 2017-11-08 23:29:13
The Academy’s Members Making a Difference award honors outstanding volunteer commitments by dermatologists. Each issue, Aspire highlights quarterly winners of this prestigious award. Jules Lipoff, MD Why do we volunteer? For some, it’s an obligation — a societal commitment to pay it forward and give back to the communities who need it most. For others, it’s a personal desire to offer their unique skillsets and resources in ways that can completely change people’s lives. Regardless of the reasons, volunteering is an essential undertaking for many dermatologists, especially Jules Lipoff, MD, the most recent winner of the Members Making a Difference award from the American Academy of Dermatology. When asked why he contributes his time, Dr. Lipoff, assistant professor of clinical dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, explained, “Volunteering is rewarding — patients and providers are very appreciative of the support. It’s also my responsibility and obligation as a physician to ensure that I am supporting everyone who seeks and needs care.” Over the years, Dr. Lipoff has participated in an impressive number of volunteer endeavors. By focusing on the global issue of access to care, he has channeled his efforts toward serving communities — both locally and internationally — that lack vital resources and are in desperate need of affordable treatment. The socioeconomic barriers that these underserved populations face are often too difficult to overcome without outside assistance, which is why Dr. Lipoff has become so passionate about global health equity. “My volunteer efforts are all meant to service one unifying goal: access to care. I spend time volunteering in free clinics in order to support underserved populations that would not otherwise receive dermatologic care. I support telemedicine for international relief efforts and to local municipal health centers to support providers that do not have subspecialty access. I am also researching telemedicine, because I believe it is a method of care that has the potential to truly expand access to health care and overcome many barriers.” For the past five years, Dr. Lipoff has volunteered one full clinic a month by supervising at the Philadelphia Municipal Health System, and has also volunteered in clinics at Puentes de Salud, a student run non-profit health clinic that is primarily for Latino immigrants in the Philadelphia community. Since 2014, he has also been a volunteer telemedicine consultant for Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders) where he has responded to over 100 consults to many underserved international sites. Using today’s technology, like telemedicine, Dr. Lipoff has been a teledermatology volunteer for many different programs, including AAD’s AccessDerm and a teletriage system for Puentes de Salud, as well as for numerous teledermatology research projects that aim to overcome barriers like time, distance, and lack of health insurance. On top of all that, Dr. Lipoff is the program co-director for the Guatemala-Penn dermatology exchange program, which promotes education and supports underserved people living in the rural indigenous area of Atitlan, Guatemala. When one of Dr. Lipoff’s colleagues was asked how his volunteer efforts benefit others, he replied, “Dr. Lipoff’s efforts have directly impacted underserved patient populations in Philadelphia, Guatemala, and in resource-limited areas throughout the world. He is dedicated to improving access to care and providing consultant advice and direct care to patients who need it. He is passionate about providing all people in the world equal opportunities to seek excellent health care and live life to their fullest potentials.” In addition to his volunteer efforts, Dr. Lipoff is also the author of the recently published study textbook Dermatology Simplified. He has contributed articles to the Academy’s Dermatology World Directions in Residency publication and has published numerous articles in medical journals. His diverse interests also led to a publication in Vox earlier this year considering a fictional skin disease, “Game of Thrones: greyscale, diagnosed and explained.” For more information about the Members Making a Difference award, please visit: www.aad.org/makeadifference
Published by American Academy Of Dermatology. View All Articles.