2023 Reflections

Welcoming Our 20th Anniversary Year with Reflections on an Extraordinary 2023!

Happy New Year! As we welcome 2024 and begin our year-long celebration of our 20th Anniversary milestone, we reflect on the remarkable accomplishments of 2023 with gratitude and pride. Thanks to the individual and collective efforts of many SOCS leaders, members, supporters and collaborators, the Skin of Color Society experienced a year of exceptional progress in support of our mission to change the landscape for people of color through research, education, mentorship and advocacy. Several signature SOCS programs and newer initiatives made uniquely important contributions to the field this past year.

December 2023: The SOCS Meeting the Challenge Summit: Population Descriptors in Dermatology Research Studies

Continuing in our commitment to increase diversity in dermatology research studies and clinical trials, SOCS successfully presented our second Meeting the Challenge Summit in December 2023, this time focusing on population descriptors that best describe various populations under study. 

As the second in a series, the Summit convened an esteemed, diverse group of 116 stakeholders, including skin of color dermatology leaders, researchers, clinicians, regulators, dermatologists-in-training, industry representatives, geneticists, dermatology journal editors, and an anthropologist.  Co-chaired by Valerie M. Harvey, MD, MPH, FAAD and Valerie D. Callender, MD, FAAD, the 2023 Summit further advanced the broader work of the SOCS Diversity in Dermatology Clinical Trials Task Force, which introduced the inaugural Meeting the Challenge Summit in 2022—a groundbreaking gathering that led to the development of the nation’s first Diversity in Clinical Trials Mentorship Program, presented in 2023 in collaboration with the National Medical Association. In addition, this SOCS Task Force is in the process of developing a comprehensive, evidence-based review of the use and misuse of the current scales used to measure skin tones.  

The 2023 Meeting the Challenge Summit was made possible with thanks to the support of the following sponsors: Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc. and L’Oréal Research & Innovation (Champion Level); Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Inc., and Incyte Corporation (Ally Level), and AbbVie, Arcutis Biotherapeutics, Google Health, and Sanofi-Regeneron (Partner Level). The 3rd SOCS Meeting the Challenge Summit will take place in 2025. Watch for details!

October 2023: My Best Winter Skin Campaign 

On October 24, 2023, SOCS launched a new national health awareness day known as My Best Winter Skin Day, (MBWS), kicking off an annual seasonal campaign built around public education, volunteerism and giving.

While raising awareness about winter skin, funds raised through this public educational campaign go to the SOCS Foundation to help support innovative research and mentorship in skin of color dermatology. The world’s first MBWS Day rolled out with two successful community outreach events held in Chicago, IL and Washington, D.C., led by teams of SOCS members, dermatology residents and medical students from Northwestern University and Howard University respectively. Participating SOCS volunteers shared educational tips for managing winter skin that were developed by members of the SOCS Patient

Education Committee, and distributed free moisturizers generously donated by MBWS campaign sponsors, La Roche-Posay and CeraVe. Campaign support was also provided by Restore Hair.  

Since the inaugural MBWS Day events, a total of 36 SOCS members in 18 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have volunteered to conduct additional outreach events in their communities and on local college campuses, resulting in the distribution of 5,000 educational tips and donated moisturizers to the public. Hundreds of medical school students, Resident and Fellow members have participated in this inaugural outreach to date. Plans are underway for an expanded MBWS campaign in 2024.

August 2023: Dermatology Foundation and SOCS Partner to Deliver Impactful Opportunity to Advance Health Equity in Dermatology

For the first time, the Dermatology Foundation (DF) and SOCS have partnered to deliver new DEI research support for 2024, with a one-million-dollar grant generously provided by Sanofi-Regeneron.

The Sanofi-Regeneron Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mid-Career Award was developed especially for the exceptional mid-career investigator with an established trajectory of excellence in basic, clinical or translational science and will expand the understanding of dermatological issues impacting underrepresented or underserved groups in medicine. This substantial award adds a critical piece to the pathways of investigators working to address healthcare disparities. Supported research projects are expected to yield novel results that will provide urgently needed preliminary data and will serve as a springboard for obtaining larger research grants.

Administered and promoted by the DF/SOCS Collaborative, this unique award leverages the DF’s experience and infrastructure in award development and management, along with the SOCS’s expertise in DEI and deep reach into the community of DEI investigators. Applications are closed for the 2024 Award cycle. Recipients will be announced in March 2024.

July 2023: The first-ever SOCS Scientific Session at the World Congress of Dermatology (WCD)

SOCS was pleased to present its first WCD Scientific Session at the 25th World Congress of Dermatology in Singapore. Organized by the International League of Dermatological Societies, of which SOCS is a proud member, the WCD is one of the largest dermatology meetings in the world.

Featuring expert presentations on inflammatory disorders, cultural beauty around the world, lichen planopilaris in South Africa, facial pigmentation and less-known facets of cutaneous tuberculosis, the SOCS Scientific Session was co-chaired by Drs. Victoria Barbosa and Ginette A. Okoye, under the leadership of SOCS President Dr. Andrew Alexis. This well-attended program was made possible by an educational grant from Pfizer.

June 2023: The SOCS Educational Video Series

In its continuing dedication to physician, patient and public education, SOCS released an innovative educational video series in June 2023, consisting of the “MelanatED” series of eight short-form videos and ten longer-form SOCS Identity videos.

Covering pertinent, high-interest topics ranging from cultural competency, inflammatory diseases, hair loss, and sunscreen in skin of color to patient safety, dermatologic differences in darker skin, the importance of early detection, how to find “Dr. Right” and much more, this enlightening collection addresses many issues of importance to patients of color and the physicians who care for them.

Drawn from the 6th Annual SOCS Media Day initiative, held in March 2023, these insightful videos feature nationally and globally recognized SOCS leaders, including: Drs. Susan C. Taylor,  Andrew F.  Alexis, Valerie M. Harvey, Candrice R. Heath, Janiene Luke, Corey L. Hartman, Shawn Kwatra, and Nkem Ugonabo.

This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of: Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Senté, Bristol Myers Squibb,  Arcutis Biotherapeutics and Dove.

The 7th Annual SOCS Media Day, “Changes, Challenges and Choices in Skin of Color:  What SOCS Experts Say in an Era of Opportunity and Promise,” will lead to a new series of educational videos, featuring SOCS leaders who will share their insights on a range of timely and relevant topics of importance to patients of color.  Watch for updates!

March 2023: The 19th Annual SOCS Scientific Symposium

Held in March 2023, the 19th Annual SOCS Scientific Symposium, “Where Science, Innovation and Inclusion Meet,” showcased the latest skin of color dermatology research and insights from emerging researchers and leading experts from around the US and the world.

A record 179 scientific abstracts were submitted, with 128 poster abstracts and five oral abstract presentations accepted for inclusion in the program. Experienced by an international audience of 511 attendees, the Symposium featured 16 invited speakers, including a keynote address, who shared their insights through presentations, moderated panels and oral abstracts, along with an expansive range of iPosters on display for viewing. This informative program was co-chaired by Victoria Barbosa, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAD and Ginette A. Okoye, MD, FAAD.  

The 19th Annual SOCS Scientific Symposium was supported by AbbVie, Arcutis, AVITA Medical, Beiersdorf, Bristol Myers Squibb, Dermavant Sciences, Eli Lilly, Evolus, Incyte, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc., OrthoDermotologics, Sanofi-Regeneron, Sente, Strata Skin Sciences, UCB, and Unilever/Dove/Vaseline.

The 20th Annual SOCS Scientific Symposium, “Pathways to Equity: Advancing Advocacy, Research, and Clinical Excellence,” will take place on Thursday, March 7, 2024, at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego. The upcoming Symposium is co-chaired by Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD and Chere Lucas Anthony, MD, FAAD. 

Registration is now open, and remember that your SOCS membership entitles you to reduced Symposium registration fees. Check out our weekly Scoop for important details in the coming weeks!

2023 By the Numbers: SOCS Signature Programs and Activities

  • Membership is growing globally, with 505 new SOCS members added from 30 countries.
  • 11 SOCS Observership Grants awarded, supported by EltaMD, L’Oréal and many SOCS members who have made voluntary contributions through the SOCS Foundation.
  • 5 SOCS Research Grants awarded, supported by Bristol Myers Squibb, L’Oréal and Pfizer.
  • 3 SOCS Career Development Grants awarded, supported by Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer.
  • 2 SOCS Early Career Innovations Awards given, supported by SOCS member Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, FAAD.
  • 8 Travel Grants to the SOCS Meeting the Challenge Summit awarded to Dermatology Residents, supported by Summit sponsorships.
  • 128 SOCS Mentee applications for the SOCS Mentorship program received
  • 48 SOCS Mentor-Mentee pairings in the SOCS Mentorship program were facilitated, thanks to individual donations made to the SOCS Foundation.
  • A total of 150 SOCS members and dermatology colleagues participated in SOCS Networking & Educational Symposia held in Chicago, Boston, New York, San Antonio, Philadelphia and San Francisco during 2023. These events were supported by Pfizer.

Wholehearted thanks to all who have contributed to the success and achievements of 2023. We are so excited about all that is planned for 2024 and look forward to your participation and engagement with SOCS in this 20th Anniversary year!

Past Reflections: 
2022 Reflections
2021 Reflections

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Skin of color patients comprise the majority in California, New Mexico and Texas…and soon will be the majority in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, New York and Florida.

By 2042, more than 50% of the US population will have skin of color.