Philosophy of dermatology and the uneven road to realizing it: Perspective from a third-world country


      The philosophy of dermatology involves helping patients who present to dermatologists to realize their full potential by treating them holistically and educating them about the different aspects of their disease(s), while helping the doctors involved to grow professionally and as human beings. In the setting of a burdened health sector of a third-world country like Pakistan, the road to realizing this philosophy is rife with hurdles in the form of low resources, poor health infrastructure, lack of a research culture, a low literacy rate, and sociocultural taboos. The resolution of these issues needs concerted efforts by all the stakeholders, and it can be possible only through selfless leadership, dedicated teamwork, and incessant efforts by the doctors, health authorities, and national as well as international health institutions.
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      Tameez-ud-din Malik, MBBS, MCPS, MPA (executive), is the former head of the dermatology department of Rawalpindi Medical University and allied hospitals. He graduated from Rawalpindi Medical College in 1981 and completed his training at Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi. Dr. Tameez-ud-din showed administrative skills throughout his student life and was elected the Class Representative in his final year of medical college. Later, he held various administrative posts in Benazir Bhutto Hospital (formerly known as Rawalpindi General Hospital). As Deputy Medical Superintendent, he had an opportunity to deal with the various problems faced by the health professionals as well as the complaints of the patients presenting to a public tertiary health care center. He was appointed the Head of the dermatology department of Benazir Bhutto Hospital in 1994 and he trained numerous dermatologists under his supervision. Dr. Tameez-ud-din retired in 2014 as the Head of the Dermatology Department and is considered an authority in the skin and venereological diseases in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. He is currently working as a private practitioner and has a renowned dermatology clinic in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He has named his clinic Hope Clinic which aptly describes his wish to be a symbol of hope for the patients and junior dermatologists in need of guidance.


      Ahsan Tameez-ud-din, MBBS, is a graduate of Rawalpindi Medical University. He was the academic representative of first-year MBBS (an honor bestowed upon the top merit student) and won scholarships in 3 out of 5 years of his medical education. He has won distinctions in many subjects during his medical education. He was a member of the Rawalian Student Research Society (RSRS) during his third to final years and published many articles during his student life with topics ranging from skin diseases to microbiology. He was a part of the organizing committee of the 3rd International Research Conference hosted by Rawalpindi Medical University. He has presented his papers at many national and international conferences. He had an opportunity to work as a frontline worker during all three waves of the coronavirus pandemic in the country and has published an article on the awareness of patients regarding the pandemic in an international journal. He is currently a part of the dermatology department of Benazir Bhutto Hospital and has a special interest in dermo pathology and aesthetic skin procedures. Ahsan Tameez-ud-din is an avid reader and maintains a personal library of books that include many genres of literature. He has a special interest in philosophy and aims to integrate his knowledge regarding the subject in the care of his patients.


      Ifrah Malik, MBBS, graduated from Rawalpindi Medical University. She was born in Saudi Arabia and her early years of schooling were from that country. She came back to Pakistan in her teenage years and completed her secondary and higher secondary education in local schools. She was a debater throughout her school years and possesses the ability to eloquently describe her point of view. She used this ability to its fullest extent during her medical education and her oral presentation on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of acne among medical students won second prize in the 3rd International Scientific Conference conducted in Rawalpindi. She was an active member of the Rawalian Student Research Society (RSRS) and was a part of the core organizing committee of the Annual Resident Research Forum 2020. She has undertaken many administrative roles in local societies. She worked as a frontline health worker and managed critical and stable coronavirus disease 2019 wards during the coronavirus pandemic. She has a special interest in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and is currently a part of the Institute of Psychiatry & World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for research, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She considers herself a bibliophile and aspires to be a clinician who can bring a positive change in her patients’ lives.