As the population of the United States diversifies at an increasingly rapid rate, the need for healthcare providers skilled in treating skin conditions for patients of all ethnic and racial groups continues to grow. As a result, Hispanic American dermatologists have become key players in the dermatology community. Hispanic dermatologists account for only 4.8% of all dermatologists in the United States.1 Given the rise in the Hispanic population, this figure is disproportionately low. From 2012 to 2060, the Hispanic population in the United States is expected to grow from 53.3 million to 128.8 million.2 By the end of that period, nearly one in every three U.S. residents will be of Hispanic descent, up from about one in six today.2
Many of the premier Hispanic American dermatologists in the United States today were born in Central or South America and trained there before immigrating to the United States. To understand their influence, it is important to understand the origins of dermatology in the Southern Hemisphere.
Modern dermatology in Latin America began in the early twentieth century, when a few committed individuals opened dermatologic schools. The field attracted bright students and scholars, many of whom spent extensive time studying in Europe under Drs. Kaposi, Riehl, Sezary, Hallopeau, and Sabouraud, to name a few. They made major advances and published extensively in the fields of mycology, leprosy, cutaneous tuberculosis, and psoriasis. These physicians were from Argentina (for instance, Drs. Sommer, Aberastury, Baliña, Fidanza, and Puente), Brazil (Drs. Rabello, Lindenberg, Araujo, and Machado), Colombia (Dr. Uribe), Cuba (Dr. Menocal), Ecuador (Dr. Gault), Mexico (Drs. Lucio y Nájera, Cicero, and Ureña), Peru (Drs. Carrión and Escomel), Uruguay (Dr. Foresti), and Venezuela (Dr. Diaz). Their quest to advance dermatology helped establish Latin Americans as premier leaders in dermatology, and helped elevate dermatology in Central and South America into a position of importance.3 Today, the Colegio Ibero Latino Americano de Dermatologia (CILAD) is the largest Spanish-speaking dermatology society in the world, with more than 4000 members in 22 countries.
Despite the large number of Hispanic dermatologists in CILAD and the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, the number of Hispanic dermatologists practicing in the United States is disproportionately small; however, they constitute an important group. The following pioneering Hispanic American dermatologists, all master clinicians, have made and continue to make important contributions in basic science, clinical research, field research, education, and medical leadership.
Pedro Barquin, MD (1916–2002) [Figure 98-1], graduated from the School of Medicine of the University of La Habana, Cuba, in 1943. After finishing his dermatology residency, he went into private practice and was also Professor and Chairman of Dermatology and Leprosy at the Finlay Hospital of the Armed Forces in La Habana. He was President ...