Soaring Interest in the Work of the Skin of Color Society amid Historic Year

December 21, 2020
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This has been a historic year on many fronts. The oft-repeated phrase, “In these unprecedented and challenging times” prefaces myriad if not most of the communications we take in on a daily basis.

It has been a remarkable year for SOCS in many respects in terms of soaring awareness and interest in the longtime work of the Skin of Color Society. We are grateful for the outpouring of support and interest in collaboration that has emerged from this pivotal period.

Earlier this year, the Skin of Color Society was invited by The Dermatologist magazine to contribute a guest editorial that was published in its June issue. Titled, “A Time for Resolve, Change, Unity and Hope”, the article was co-authored by SOCS Executive Committee members Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, FAAD; (President), Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD (Immediate Past President); Donald A. Glass II, MD, PhD, FAAD (Secretary-Treasurer), and Chesahna Kindred, MD, FAAD, MBA (SOCS Member and Chair of the Dermatology Section of the National Medical Association).

As written in this powerful piece, “This year has been notable for public health crises. As a nation, we have come to recognize that a disease is spreading across the country and around the world, and that innocent lives are being lost. We have come to recognize that there are vulnerable populations that are disproportionately at risk for adverse outcomes from this condition and that without interventions, the condition will continue to propagate across the country. This public health crisis we speak of is systemic racism and, like coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it has had a disproportionate impact on the African American and broader skin of color communities.”

The article addresses the work to improve healthcare disparities and address racism and racial bias in medicine that has been underway through SOCS, the NMA and other dermatology organizations for some time, and discusses the important work that is still ahead of us. This unifying piece is as relevant today as it was when it was written six months ago. Please take a few minutes and read or re-read it.

Among the meaningful outcomes that came out of the turbulent events of this year was a groundswell of attention and interest in openly addressing disparities in healthcare and racism in medicine. We were honored to collaborate with VisualDx and the New England Journal of Medicine on a groundbreaking four-part virtual series that was hugely well-received by several thousands of participants from around the world. Recordings of each of the insightful sessions of “The Impact of Skin Color and Ethnicity on Clinical Diagnosis and Research” can be accessed here. Watch for a comprehensive recap of this series and more information about our continued collaboration with VisualDx and the NEJM Group in 2021.

Interest in relevant topics related to skin of color dermatology has been surging as a cumulative effect of the events and responses of this past year. Through social media and direct inquiries, we are often asked about educational resources related to skin of color dermatology. In response, several SOCS members have helped us aggregate a list of Skin of Color Dermatology Textbooks.

If you have any other recommendations to add to this list, please email us at

Textbook photo courtesy of
Andrew F. Alexis, MD, MPH, FAAD.

As we look ahead to 2021, which hopefully will be a better year for all, we look forward to your participation and involvement as we continue to work together to fulfill the mission of the Skin of Color Society.