Meet the Two Women Disrupting the Delivery of Dermatology

Professor Caitriona Ryan and Dr Nicola Ralph are co-founders and consultant dermatologists at the Institute of Dermatologists in Ballsbridge and are both also Associate Clinical Professors at UCD.

Innovative thinking We recently opened Ireland’s first centre of excellence in medical and cosmetic dermatology following the US model where teams of specialists in all facets of dermatology join forces to optimise patient care. The Institute is a specialist centre for acne, rosacea, melanoma, skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, hair loss, connective tissue disease, pigmentary disorders and all aspects of cosmetic dermatology. GPs can refer patients for the earliest available appointment with the most appropriate specialist. Suspected melanomas will be seen within one week while those with scarring acne will be seen within four weeks. The Institute will also serve as a site for clinical research trials in psoriasis, eczema and other dermatological conditions. Botox and dermal filler injections are performed only by consultant dermatologists and plastic surgeons and we offer laser treatments and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures, microneedling, and Ultherapy for advanced skin rejuvenation and the latest technology in body contouring, fat reduction and cellulite treatment with ZLipo and ZWave. Thorny challenge We see too many patients whose melanomas and skin cancers have been missed by commercial mole-mapping clinics. We also treat patients who have had botched dermal filler procedures resulting in disfiguring complications. Although illegal for a doctor in Ireland to falsely represent themselves as being registered in a specialist division of the Medical Council, nothing has been done to curb the growing number of physicians claiming to be “dermatologists” or “skin experts”. In no other area of medicine is the public so confused and misled by the misuse of a professional title. Consultant dermatologists on the Specialist Register for Dermatology have completed many years (typically seven-ten) of dedicated dermatology training. Some doctors claiming to be dermatologists have diplomas, certificates or masters in Dermatology, then mislead the public into believing they are fully qualified experts. This lack of regulation impacting patient safety was a major motivation for us. Latest provocative idea We are developing the concept of a Skin ID or skin identity using genetic testing and other analyses to understand a patient’s propensity towards skin conditions, the ageing process and skin cancer risk so we can formulate personalised treatment plans. 

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