Andrew F. Alexis, MD, MPH: Addressing the Needs of Patients with Skin of Color

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In this interview, Dr. Alexis spoke about the ways in which the dermatology field should address the needs of patients with skin of color.

Andrew F. Alexis, MD, MPH, discussed with HCPLive the major points from his presentation ‘Managing Challenges with Skin of Color’ from the Fall Clinical Dermatology 2023 Conference for PAs & NPs.

Alexis is the Vice-Chair for Diversity and Inclusion for the Department of Dermatology in addition to being a Professor of Clinical Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

“I felt that today's topic, managing challenges in patients with skin color was an important one, given that we hear time and time again from from our colleagues and our patients to that there are a number of scenarios involving skin and hair disorders that either present more commonly in patient populations with skin of color, or have nuances when they present in patients with skin of color,” he explained.

Alexis added that being able to identify what such nuances are and to fine tune approaches to treating these is really key to the most desirable patient outcomes.

“So one of the topics I covered in my presentation today was that a condition like atopic dermatitis, which can affect anyone have any background or any skin type or racially ethnic background when it presents in individuals with richly pigmented skin there, there are indeed some some clinical and therapeutic nuances,” he said.

Most notably, Alexis commented that if clinicians, PAs, or NPs are looking for shades of bright red and pink in an individual with richly pigmented skin, they may either miss the erythema or underestimate the overall severity of it.

“So what I like to talk about is actually broadening our color palette if you will,” he stated. “Broadening the definition of erythema, so that it's more applicable to the broader range of skin complexions that we see in the real world. And so really training to detect those color differences that are beyond just hyperpigmentation, which is another important point: differentiating areas that might on the surface look darker than the patient's normal skin.”

To learn more about the contents of Alexis’s conference presentation, view the interview above.

The quotes used here were edited for the purposes of clarity.