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President's Address

Thomas E. Rohrer, MD

rohrer-thomas-eAs the end of the year approaches, it offers us the opportunity to reflect on the present year and look forward to the next. While 2020 has been indelibly marked by the coronavirus pandemic, there have been some silver linings and a lot of very positive happenings at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.

To begin with, I am very excited to share with everyone that the ASLMS 2021 Virtual Annual Conference program schedule is set for April 24 and 25th and promises to be one of the best ever! Drs. Anne Chapas, Nathan Uebelhoer, and Merete Haedersdal have done an amazing job in putting together a spectacular agenda.  The program contains 40 hours of CME content, some non-CME favorites, as well as new industry webinars, videos, and demonstrations. This virtual format will feature both live sessions over the course of the two days as well as numerous on-demand sessions.

While I am sure we would all like to meet in person, I believe a virtual program also has its advantages. Those who may not have been able to take the time off of work or away from the family to travel will now be able to attend virtually with a lot more flexibility. Attendees will be able to access all of the on-demand content, including our world leading abstract presentations, for two months following the live conference. 

One of the most enjoyable aspects of our Annual Conference is the networking we are able to do with both old friends and new colleagues; sharing ideas that stimulate innovation and advance patient care. We do not want to lose this valuable interaction by going virtual and will have many of the live sessions offer audience Q&A and small group break outs following the presentations. Special sessions and events during the live conference will also bring the entire group together throughout the day. In addition, attendees, speakers, and industry partners will be able to meet in chat rooms on the virtual platform and on the companion mobile app. 

As the program continues to take shape, we will keep you informed of all of the details. In the meantime, I am pleased to share updates on several other exciting developments for the Society in the recent months.

With the idea of increasing our membership with a greater array of specialties, we have established a President's Multispecialty Advisory Council.  We want to attract and retain members of all specialties using lasers and energy-based devices. Our first meeting was held in mid-November and brought together key opinion leaders from multiple different fields who provided some great ideas and input on current activities with energy-based devices in their specialties. The group discussed potential actions ASLMS can take to establish or expand our foothold in their specialties. I look forward to keeping you posted on all of the new developments from this council.

In light of everything that has occurred in 2020, we also decided it was past time that ASLMS established a committee to enhance and strengthen the diversity of our society. On November 10, the Board of Directors approved the formation of our new Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee. The IDEA Committee will work to promote a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive culture for our members, industry colleagues and potential members. At inception, the committee will be challenged to complete a self-assessment of the organization to better understand where the ASLMS is in our efforts to be an inclusive organization. As part of that process, they will determine strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to enhance diversity and inclusiveness within the ASLMS. President-Elect Dr. Henry Chan and I are in the process of appointing the seven committee members so that they can start working before April and continue their work throughout the year.

The more you put into anything, the more you will get out of it. If you have been thinking about becoming more involved with the ASLMS, serving on one of our many committees is a great place to start. While the official Call for Volunteers deadline has passed, you can still express interest by reviewing the committees that are open to volunteers and letting Michelle Morrison know. Become more engaged and make a difference!

The monthly LSM Journal Club is well underway. Each session highlights four articles from a recent issue of LSM and is moderated by one of our resident liaisons along with an expert panel and guest authors. This virtual format has been outstanding and gives an opportunity to gain better insights and perspectives by diving deeper into the studies. If you have not had a chance to catch one of the sessions, watch your ASLMS email news for registration details for the upcoming sessions and be sure to sign up. Our Journal Club is generally held the first Monday of each month and is free to all our members. 

I am also very excited about the launch of our new ASLMS Fundamentals Webinar Series! The monthly series will begin next month and be available through the ASLMS Online Learning Center. Each month will focus on a particular topic with a recorded presentation followed by a live Q&A segment. The series will begin with general topics such as Laser Safety and Laser Tissue Interactions and will expand to cover all classifications of devices in multispecialty topics, including Cutaneous, Gynecology, Urology, Physical Therapy, Photobiomodulation and other applications.

As always, educational opportunities through the ASLMS allow you to stay at the cutting edge of all the latest advances and breakthroughs in the field. We will continue to explore and develop new topics and formats to provide these advances to you.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season and all of the best in 2021.  

Dr. Rohrer's Bio

Dr. Thomas E. Rohrer is in private practice in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, with SkinCare Physicians and the president of the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery.

Dr. Thomas Rohrer is considered a leader in many of the major national dermatologic surgery societies and associations, and is a past president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Association of Academic Dermatologic Surgeons, and the American College of Mohs Surgery. Dr. Rohrer has served on several committees (nominating, ethics, constitution and bylaws, and scientific) and task forces for the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and co-chaired the derm-plastics section of the 2006 Annual Conference, and was the chair of the 2013 Annual Conference.

Dr. Rohrer is the director of Mohs Surgery at SkinCare Physicians of Chestnut Hill. Until January 2002, he served as the chief of dermatologic surgery at Boston University Medical Center and the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital, as well as the director of the Boston University Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. Dr. Rohrer is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University and the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He was the recipient of the Michael J. Caruso Award, given to the medical graduate who best exemplified humanitarian care to their patients. Dr. Rohrer completed his internship in internal medicine at Yale University Hospital and completed a residency in dermatology at the combined Boston University-Tufts University program. He completed a Mohs and dermatologic surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rohrer has lectured nationally and internationally, instructing other dermatologists and plastic surgeons on various aspects of dermatologic and laser surgery. His textbook, Flaps and Grafts in Dermatologic Surgery is presently the national best-selling text on the subject. He is the editor of six other text books in cosmetic and laser surgery and has published in numerous dermatologic and laser surgery journals. Dr. Rohrer has appeared multiple times on NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and CNN news as an expert on lasers, skin cancer, and other related subjects. He has also been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, Redbook, Men’s Health, Good Housekeeping, Allure, and Cosmopolitan. Dr. Rohrer has been voted as one of the Best of Boston Doctors for over a decade.

Past Addresses

  • September 2020

    Thomas E. Rohrer, MD

    rohrer-thomas-eWhile we are still in the middle of a pandemic and are all working hard to adapt our practices and provide safe environments for our patients and staff, the Board of Directors is also working hard to enhance all aspects of our society.  Two of the board’s main focuses this year are to increase engagement of early career members and expand our multidisciplinary reach. The greater the diversity of our membership the more likely we are to have cross pollination and translation of ideas from one specialty to another. This is what drives innovation and we are launching several new initiatives and enhancing many of our current programs to foster this.  

    Early Career Focus
    To connect residents and early career members with more senior members of our society we have established the ASLMS Mentorship Program (AMP). Mentees will work on a specific project over a one-year period with their mentor that will enhance the society, answer some burning questions, and build relationships. The projects can be chosen from a board directed list or created by the mentor and mentee. The program is virtual and can adapt based on the mentor and mentee’s schedules. AMP is available to all ASLMS members that play a role in lasers and energy-based devices.  All positions and specialties are welcome to participate.

    We have also enhanced our Visiting Expert program. The idea of the program is to fill in training gaps by offering laser experts from ASLMS to come to the residency programs and give lectures they may not otherwise be able to hear. While this had been an in-person program in the past, we are now including virtual options, making it easier for an institution to bring a laser and energy-based device teaching segment into their curriculum.  

    We are also launching the Fundamentals in Lasers and Energy Based Devices lecture series. This is a monthly series of lectures - the complete gamut of topics (such as laser physics and tissue interaction, laser safety, vascular lasers, pigmented lesion lasers, resurfacing devices, body contouring, skin tightening, female health, urologic devices, ophthalmology, photobiomodulation, and many more).

    Multidisciplinary and Multispecialty Focus
    ASLMS was founded as a multidisciplinary and multispecialty society. A diverse membership serves as an incubator of ideas and new applications. Enhancement of multispecialty interaction is one of our strategic goals and continues to be a high priority.

    I have begun the process to establish a President's Multispecialty Advisory Council, bringing together key opinion leaders in different fields to provide input on current and potential ASLMS activities. By getting this information, ASLMS can work to better attract and retain members of all specialties that are using lasers and energy-based devices.  We will also be working to identify key opinion leaders in each field to address our membership in both webinars and at our next live meeting.

    The Board of Directors is also developing a Collaborative and Cooperative task force to explore opportunities with other organizations to cooperate through cross-promotion and/or collaborate at live activities.

    Stay tuned for the launching of our new Lasers in Surgery and Medicine Journal Club. Each month we will highlight the best articles in LSM and discuss them in a journal club format with experts in the field as well as the original authors themselves. This will be a multidisciplinary educational session and available to all of our members. 

    We are well underway with program planning for ASLMS 2021, focusing on a hybrid format with both onsite and virtual attendance options.  The program offers a great deal of diversity and includes the best talks from all of the various specialties in a plenary session format.  We have also enhanced the abstract categories and included an Industry White Paper submission category, which will allow industry partners to participate in the educational program and present their most groundbreaking developments. As part of this effort, we have also clarified the guidelines for industry participation in CME activities.  

    Abstract submission is now open so please submit your abstracts at your earliest convenience so you do not miss out! The 2021 Annual Conference is sure to be a spectacular event!

    Thank you once again for electing me to serve you this year, it is an honor. Stay healthy.


  • June 2020

    Thomas E. Rohrer, MD

    rohrer-thomas-eIt is a true honor and pleasure to serve as the 40th president of the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery.  ASLMS has been near and dear to my heart and instrumental in my career development and lifelong quest to learn.

    While most medical societies are based around a specific medical or surgical specialty, ASLMS is based upon a common interest in a technology, regardless of one’s specialty. It has always brought scientists, industry, and clinicians together to learn from one another. This creates a diverse membership which encourages more open discussion and a greater cross pollination of ideas.  Seeing how lasers and other energy-based devices are used in other fields often sparks more rapid translations and innovations in one’s own research lab or clinical practice.  The diversity in our membership is our true strength and is what has helped push the science of lasers and energy based devices forward and allowed all of our specialties to grow.  In nature, where two ecosystems intersect there is an explosion of biodiversity. Far more types of organisms exist in the edge between two ecosystems than in the center of either.  Organisms in the overlap areas have to adapt more acutely and do so to survive. The ASLMS and its members live and thrive in this overlap area. Our diverse membership allows us to explore new technologies with a wider range of perspectives and expertise and this stimulates innovation.  I hope to foster this in the coming year and expand our membership even more broadly.

    One of the primary missions of ASLMS is to provide a forum for the exchange of scientific information on laser and other energy based devices.  This is done through a number of channels including our LSM journal, regional courses, and perhaps most importantly our annual meeting.  There is no conference that presents as much high quality new information on lasers and energy based devices anywhere in the world. It is the meeting where the information presented gets quoted and referenced at all of the other meetings the rest of the year. While we were unfortunately unable to gather this year in person, the majority of the content will be made available online shortly. Many of the abstracts submitted to the 2020 Annual Conference have been recorded in verbal or poster format and will be available for members to view in the Online Learning Center soon. The abstract presentations are available at no charge to our members. This may be the greatest educational deal ever. No airfare, no hotel charges, no meeting registration! Please take advantage of this and stay up to date on all of the latest advances and breakthroughs in the field.

    The COVID pandemic has upended our lives, and so many of us have closed our offices and labs during the stay at home orders. While the decision to close was rapid, and in retrospect very straightforward, the strategies for re-opening are far more complex. The downward slope of all of the major indicators of COVID is much less steep than the initial upward slope in April and will vary greatly region to region. ASLMS has hosted several virtual events on this topic and will continue to work with you and provide you with as much valuable information as we can. We have undertaken a joint document with the ASDS on recommendations for re-opening an aesthetic practice that will be published online within the next week. This manuscript delves into the science behind all of the recommendations you have been hearing and gives you the tools to make your decisions. It also offers great practical advice and provides best practices from around the world. 

    No one can predict with certainty what the consequences of this pandemic will be in even 6 weeks, no less 6 months, or 6 years.  All we can do is continue to follow the science and make the best decisions we can given the data at the present time.  Things will likely change rapidly and on a regular basis in the next year.  Necessity has often been called the mother of invention and we will see the COVID pandemic speed innovation up dramatically. We may also find that some of the emergency measures we were forced to rapidly adopt, such as telehealth visits, may actually be preferable in some situations and may continue and expand in the future. I hope the world’s attention on science, health care workers and their safety, our lack of public health preparedness, and the inequities that exist in resources and the health care of so many subsets of the population will not fade.  Whenever we are forced to pause and think, it opens up an opportunity for change. I encourage you all to become a part of that change and do your part in making the world a better place through your compassion and generosity to those who need it most.

    With warm regards,


The American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery is the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to promoting research, education and high standards of clinical care in the field of medical laser applications. It provides a forum for the exchange of scientific information and participation in communicating the latest developments in laser medicine and surgery to clinicians, research investigators, government and regulatory agencies, and the public.

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