Congratulations on receiving the Ellet H. Drake Memorial Award this year. Please comment on receiving the award and what it means to you.
It’s an honor to be recognized by an award honoring Ellet Drake, MD, a cardiologist from the Midwest (where people are so nice), who collaborated with Leon Goldman, MD, a surgeon, to form the ASLMS. The collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of this collaboration should remind us of all the great things that happen when people with different backgrounds get together. Getting this award means a great deal to me as it came from my peers and friends and recognizes our collaborative contributions to the field of laser medicine.
You will be delivering your award presentation, Straight Talk: For Me, What It’s All About, at the Awards Brunch, on Sunday, April 16. Can you share some highlights of your talk?
I’m briefly going to discuss some of the mentors that got me interested in laser medicine and the projects we worked on. Mostly, my journey is about the people I have met along the way and the fun we have together solving, or attempting to solve, challenges in laser medicine, the joy of co-discovery, and the fun we have together.
Please share highlights of your background that have contributed to who you are today.
I come from a family of over-achieving underdogs. My father’s family came to the U.S. in the early 1920’s to escape persecution in Belarus and Poland, while my mother escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in Hungary when she was just a teenager. My happy, suburban childhood contrasts quite sharply from where my parents came from. One thing they taught me, is that somewhere inside me is the ability to do things I never believed I could do – “Just look at your grandfather’s business he started without a high school education” - like start a business.
How has your involvement in ASLMS contributed to your career? Why should young researchers or clinicians become involved with ASLMS?
The ASLMS is where it all started for me. I was working with physicists and laser surgeons outside of the field of dermatology for many years, and in fact, it was lasers that directed me to dermatology, not the other way around. When I first attended ASLMS, I met dermatologists who introduced me to the wonders of using lasers to treat skin, and other clinicians and scientists using lasers for basic science and other clinical applications. I was first introduced to dermatologic lasers by Gary Lask while he was at Thomas Jefferson University and performed histologic studies on laser-treated skin for Coherent medical in the lab of Jouni Uitto, MD, PhD, a world-expert in extracellular matrix. The ASLMS introduced me to other scientists in academia, private practice, and industry and enabled me to collaborate and learn from others who shared my fascination and wonder of lasers.
Tell us something our members may not know about you.
I used to have bright red hair, am ½ Hungarian, am originally a Washingtonian, and sleep beside 2 rescue dogs, one of which is a Great Dane.