Celebrating 35 years of the Skin Health Institute

Today, Monday 24 October 2022, we are celebrating 35 years of the Skin Health Institute and we would like to take a moment to recognise all the contributions our staff, consultants, members, patients, and partners have provided to the Institute over the years.

On this day in 1987, thanks to the generous donations of 36 founding member dermatologists, the Skin and Cancer Foundation was born.

Founding member Douglas Gin recalled that the $1000 each member contributed as seed money was a significant figure for a junior consultant at the time.

It was the perfect time to establish a foundation in Victoria, following a lot of cutbacks to the public system and specialties that were predominantly outpatient or not thought essential being either cut back or under threat.
Dermatology was not secure, and members feared if hospital services were lost that training would also be at risk. And thus, an idea sparked in a member meeting, came to fruition.

The Foundation quickly outgrew its three rooms at St. Andrew’s Place East Melbourne, in part of the old St. Andrew’s Hospital, which was no longer adequate for its needs.

Dodgshun House in Fitzroy, which was owned by the Eye and Ear Hospital, was identified, and the move made in 1990.

It was here that the Foundation went through its most tentative period and survived only because of its pathology service, which was supported by nearly every dermatologist in Victoria, as recalled by founding member Dr Michael Rich.

Three years later, in 1993, once again the Foundation moved its headquarters. It was at 95 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, that the Foundation really began to establish itself as a centre for excellence and the home for dermatology in Victoria.

The Foundation remained at Rathdowne Street for the next 15 years and during this period became the first hospital in Victoria to offer Mohs’ Surgery to patients. It also established the Skin Cancer Assessment Clinic in a joint venture with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2005.

In late 2008, the Foundation settled into its new Drummond Street home. With three times the floor space of Rathdowne Street, the Foundation was able to substantially increase its clinical, surgical, teaching, and research activities, with all the increased efficiencies of a purpose-built facility.

In 2019, the Skin and Cancer Foundation underwent a rebrand and is now known by its current name, the Skin Health Institute.

Originally, the Foundation was created to provide an environment where special interests in dermatology could thrive.
The Skin Health Institute continues to push forward this agenda and remains a not-for-profit health organisation that delivers highly specialised clinical treatment, education and research for skin diseases, skin cancers and melanoma.
Providing over 30,000 patient treatments each year, the Institute continues to deliver exceptional education programs for dermatologists, registrars and healthcare workers; specialist training for visiting international medical graduates; workshops to upskill GPs and medical students; and public education programs aimed at improving skin health in the community.

The Institute also conducts clinical trials and research projects that are published and presented internationally.
As we look back on 35 years of excellence in dermatology, we thank everyone who has given their time to support us as we continue to make substantial contributions to the worldwide clinical care and management of skin diseases, skin cancer and melanoma, and are recognised globally for our contributions to medical research.

Psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition, affects millions of individuals worldwide, including a significant number of Australians. This August, during Psoriasis Awareness Month, we aim to shed light on this prevalent condition, raise awareness, and emphasise the importance of empathy and support for those living with psoriasis.

In Australia, psoriasis is estimated to impact approximately 2-3% of the population, making it a relatively common dermatological concern. Despite its prevalence, psoriasis remains widely misunderstood, leading to misconceptions and stigmatisation among patients.

At the Skin Health Institute, we have committed our support to Psoriasis Awareness Month with a mission to create empathy and awareness for people with psoriasis and promote a better understanding of this condition. We recognise that beyond medical treatment, patients need compassionate support and understanding from their communities. Through various initiatives, we strive to foster an environment of compassion and knowledge, allowing patients to feel heard and supported as they learn to manage their condition.

Our dedication to enhancing dermatological care extends to providing the latest treatment options. Our Advanced Targeted Therapies Clinic offers cutting-edge therapies that specifically address psoriasis, tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our expert dermatologists work closely with patients to develop personalised treatment plans, empowering them to manage their condition effectively and improve their quality of life.

Education is key to unlocking progress in dermatology, so through our suite of educational resources, we seek to help health professionals to stay at the forefront of their clinical practice. Our Masterclasses, GP Workshops, Advanced Therapeutics Education Portal, and Spot Diagnosis podcast episodes provide valuable insights and updates on psoriasis management and treatment options.

As part of our commitment to advancing psoriasis research, we are actively conducting clinical trials focused on nail and body psoriasis. These trials play a crucial role in uncovering innovative treatments and improving outcomes for people with psoriasis. By participating in our clinical trials, individuals not only contribute to medical advancements but also have the opportunity to access potential breakthrough therapies.

During Psoriasis Awareness Month and beyond, we stay dedicated in the pursuit of improving patient outcomes, expanding healthcare professional knowledge and advancing treatment options.         

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