Dermatologist Dr. Jenna Lester treats her patient Geoffry Blair Hutto in the UCSF Primary Care clinic.
Many skin conditions, from rashes to Lyme disease to various cancers, manifest differently on dark skin. Yet medical literature and textbooks have historically underrepresented pictures of skin of color, leaving critical diagnostic information off the page.
"Historically, Black skin, brown skin is not represented in our literature appropriately," said Dr. Ginette Okoye, Chair of Dermatology at Howard University School of Medicine.
In dermatology, skin of color has not been represented in a field that purports to care for the skin of all.
Today on the show, reporter Emily Kwong and host Maddie Sofia take a close look at dermatology — how the science of skincare has evolved to better serve patients of color, but still has a long way to go.
We speak with:
- Dr. Ginette Okoye, Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Howard University College of Medicine
- Dr. Jenna Lester, Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at University of California San Francisco
- Dr. Susan Taylor, Sandra J. Lazarus Associate Professor of Dermatology in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania
Dermatology literature mentioned in this episode:
- Absence of images of skin of colour in publications of COVID-19 skin manifestations (J.C. Lester, J.L. Jia, L. Zhang, G.A. Okoye, E. Linos/British Journal of Dermatology, May 2020)
- Resisting Racism in Dermatology: A Call to Action (J.C. Lester, S.C. Taylor/JAMA Dermatology, January 2021)
- Health disparities in mycosis fungoides (G.A. Okoye/Cogent Medicine, February 2016)
- Taylor and Kelly's Dermatology for Skin of Color, 2e
You can email us at [email protected].
Today’s episode was produced by Thomas Lu, edited by Viet Le, and fact checked by Rasha Aridi. Special thanks to Marcia Davis.