Today, the Society for Pediatric Dermatology celebrates its 34th Annual Pre-American Academy of Dermatology (Pre-AAD) meeting in Boston. The meeting brings together some of the most important voices in pediatric dermatology as they discuss recent advances in the field.
This is the first in-person pre-AAD meeting since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with HCPLive, Elena B. Hawryluk, MD, PhD, member of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology and associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, spoke about the conversations that take place at the meeting and how they can inform dermatological research outside the pediatric field.
HCPLive: This year marks the 34th annual pre-AAD meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology. Could you talk about the purpose of this meeting, its various successes over the years, and some of the conversations that will take place this year?
Dr Hawryluk: We are excited to return to a live meeting format, the SPD’s first live meeting event since the pandemic! This year, we welcome our SPD members to New England with regional experts. The pre-AAD meeting provides an opportunity to bring our members together and is a popular time to discuss multi-site research and organizational efforts. It also provides a forum for the recruitment and engagement of Dermatology and Pediatric Residents and Pediatric Dermatology Fellows. The pre-AAD meeting allows us to showcase our adjacent subspecialty at the AAD event and expose others to our wonderful field!
HCPLive: You will facilitate a session during the meeting on difficult pigmented lesions. What are some of the skin diseases associated with these types of lesions and how do they differ from traditional lesions?
Dr Hawryluk: In pediatric dermatology, we often see patients with very unusual looking skin lesions and are faced with questions about when to biopsy and how to interpret diagnostic tests that have not been well characterized for pediatric use. There are also unique lesions with specific considerations for the pediatric population, such as congenital nevi and Spitz nevi, and specific pediatric needs for patients with melanoma.
HCPLive: What are some of the diagnostic challenges of pigmented skin lesions? How do these lesions manifest in pediatric populations and perhaps on colored skin?
Dr Hawryluk: Childhood is a time when new pigmented lesions appear on the skin, which develop naturally as patients grow older. This is important because a new growing lesion would otherwise be of concern for adult patients, so we rely on other evolutionary clues! Certain patient populations are at risk for distinct types of melanoma; for example, there is an increased appreciation of spitzoid melanoma in Hispanic patients, and acral melanomas are more common in Asian and African skin than in Caucasian skin, so pediatric dermatology visits may also involve education about changes to look for.
HCPLive: In general, how has pediatric dermatology evolved in recent years? What changes developed from the conversations that took place at the SPD pre-AAD meeting?
Dr Hawryluk: Pediatric dermatology continues to evolve with growth and the attraction of new trainees! The SPD Pre-AAD meeting is a fantastic opportunity to provide exposure, education and social connection – it is a time when interested trainees connect with new mentors and fellowship directors. Another important development is the growth of the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance (PeDRA), which has fostered collaborative opportunities across the country and the world to promote research in pediatric skin diseases.
HCPLive: In what ways can the AAD and other dermatology conferences expand their reach to include pediatric dermatology studies? How could studies in pediatric dermatology evolve in the years to come?
Dr Hawryluk: Pediatric dermatology has a vital presence at the AAD and other dermatology conferences, as most dermatologists see patients of all ages in their practices! Pediatric dermatology presentations can provide valuable education and management updates on best practices for the care of the youngest patients. Pediatric studies will continue to evolve to take advantage of larger multi-site cohorts and expert consensus, particularly with the efforts of the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance (PeDRA). The future of pediatric dermatology is bright for promising new drugs for eczema, vitiligo, psoriasis and many skin diseases affecting children.