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CBS Sunday Morning News takes a look at the University of Oklahoma Anesthesia Department and their use of the OU College Of Medicine's Clinical Skills Education & Testing Center.
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OU Medicine News

Department of Dermatology to Hold Skin of Color Symposium in Tulsa

      TULSA – To promote awareness and understanding about the specific skin considerations for people of color, the Department of Dermatology at the OU College of Medicine is holding its second annual Skin of Color Symposium.

      The event will be held Friday, April 5, at the OU Tulsa Schusterman Center, 4502 E. 41st St. in Tulsa. It coincides with the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery Society. Although the symposium is geared toward practicing dermatologists, mid-level providers, medical students and residents, it is open to any health professional or person who works with the skin and hair of people of color, including hairstylists and aestheticians.

      The Skin of Color Symposium was founded by dermatologist Pamela Allen, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Dermatology and secretary/treasurer of the Oklahoma Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery Society.

      “As a faculty member and a person of color, it has been a goal of mine to develop a Skin of Color Symposium for our department,” Allen said. “According to statistics, by 2050 our patient population in the United States will be about 50 percent non-white. That is important in the field of dermatology because of the special skin, hair and nail considerations we need to understand knowing that we will be seeing a lot more people of color in our practices.”

      Speakers at the symposium will include Department of Dermatology faculty and other nationally recognized experts from across the country. They will cover a variety of topics, including cosmetic considerations and procedural complications. It’s a myth that people of color don’t need sunscreen and don’t get skin cancer, Allen said. Cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in people of all ethnicities and skin tones. The event also will include a presentation on hidradenitis suppurativa, a chronic skin disease with a higher prevalence in patients with skin of color, particularly African-Americans and Hispanics.

      A portion of the symposium will be devoted to ethnic hairstyles and how some hair practices can lead to damage and hair loss. Allen also will provide a historical overview of ethnic hair, covering the time before, during and after slavery.

      “It’s important to educate our physicians and trainees to be able to confidently and competently interview a patient of color, including issues related to hairstyles and hair care products,” Allen said.

      Larger coastal cities hold skin of color educational events, but Oklahoma’s is the first of its kind in the central United States, a location that should draw regional physicians. The symposium also fits with the mission of the Department of Dermatology.

      “As part of an academic health center, we seek to be a leader in educating private-practice physicians and the general public on skin of color issues, as well as conducting research and serving as a resource for referrals,” said Thomas Stasko, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Dermatology. “Together, these activities will help us to educate the next generation of dermatologists to be comfortable and competent in treating people of color.”

      Registration for the Skin of Color Symposium can be made by visiting The deadline for registering is March 22. For more information, call 405-271-4662.



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