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.

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