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Florida dermatologist wins big in communicating, networking

In the early 1980s, during her dermatology residency at Stanford University in California, Susan Weinkle, M.D., jumped at the chance to travel to Madison, Wis., and train with Frederic Mohs, M.D. While Dr. Weinkle says she marveled at the opportunity, Dr. Mohs didn't know what to make of the young derm.

"Dr. Mohs had never had a woman dermatologist to train with him. Initially, he wasn't quite sure he cared for me," she says.

The father of Mohs micrographic surgery wouldn't let Dr. Weinkle do so much as cut tape at first. The fact that she was from California made matters worse, she says. Dr. Mohs believed while people in Wisconsin were tough, those in California were wimps.

However, with time, Dr. Mohs saw that Dr. Weinkle was attentive and knowledgeable. She knew the anatomy, understood the procedure and had good training at Stanford University.

"For many years after that, he couldn't have been nicer to me. He was just a wonderful teacher and mentor," she says.

So began a career of firsts and near-firsts for Dr. Weinkle. She would become — after completing 500 Mohs cases as a resident — the only woman member of the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery who had not done a fellowship.

Leading organizations

A 2008 bike trip to Spain that included (from left) Alastair Carruthers, M.D., Jean Carruthers, M.D., David Narins, M.D., Rhoda Narins, M.D., Gerard Franz, Naomi Lawrence, M.D., Susan H. Weinkle, M.D., and Dana Weinkle, M.D. (Photo: Susan Weinkle, M.D.)
Dr. Weinkle, who is in private practice in Bradenton, Fla., is president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. The leadership role is not her first in the profession. She also served as president of Women's Dermatologic Society from 2001 to 2002. "I think that my strongest skill that I bring to these organizations is my ability to communicate and encourage people to communicate and network together," she says.

As WDS president, Dr. Weinkle established a networking reception where members would meet for wine in a comfortable environment. Dr. Weinkle also started a program where members would visit the offices of nearby dermatologists to exchange practice ideas.

The fourth woman in 40 years to serve as ASDS president, Dr. Weinkle says the term ending November 2012 is her chance to encourage more communication and participation.

"My mission for the year is to engage and empower," she says.

One example, according to Dr. Weinkle, is that she'll personally call members to ask for their participation in the organization at all levels.

In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a notice of proposed rulemaking titled Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program — Stage 2. The proposal, which was issued in the Federal Register, outlines CMS' recommended guidelines for Stage 2 of meaningful use for the government's Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program.

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