For some 50 years I have played roles concerning a failing skin in many parts of the world, tending to skin disease, wounds, lymphoedema and tropical diseases such as leprosy.
Most of the time I have emphasised that a failing skin is a heavy burden and only recently have I understood that funding agencies want us to prove that we have the capacity to benefit and not to keep telling them how terrible skin conditions can be.
Dermatologists are great diagnosticians. They are skilled at making people look good and therefore feel good. Their research into mechanisms have been outstanding. Few, however have contributed to public health and they are not perceived as among the leaders on the needs in the developing world where low technology, sustainability and low cost solutions are desperately needed.
The International Society of Dermatology has served this purpose for more than half a century and as its Honorary President I am pleased in 2011 to be appointed Chairman of its task force Skin Care for All: Community Dermatology and to share the role of Chairperson with Claire Fuller from 2016. I seek to use the language of public health and to show that we are notably good at it.
I invite you to read this booklet, www.skincareforall.org updated in 2020. Please visit the accompanying material of relevant references and download, without charge, the twice yearly Community Skill Health Journal www.ilds.org/our-foundation/community-skin-health-journal published by the International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) of which the International Society of Dermatology (ISD) is a member, as the official journal of the International Foundation of Dermatology (IFD).
The only theme I would like to add to Skin Care for All is that for health and well being, science and humanity are one. This can be reinterpreted as care technology must be applied with care attitude. Care attitude includes the friendship that characterised the practice of the Father of Modern Medicine, Sir William Osler who wrote, “It is an unpardonable mistake to go about among patients with a long face.”
Yours, Terence Ryan