Sitting at home in the midst of COVID-19, I take a respite from the world of "tele-everything" to contemplate the disrupted world around me. I'm now a dean of a school of public health, and in the midst of this public health crisis, the critical themes that resonate now include the need for us to communicate clearly, to share what we know and don't know, and to see the importance of working together to better the situation and to serve others. What a perfect time to be writing a foreword for this tome— Dermatologic Surgery and Cosmetic Procedures in Primary Care Practice—by my friend and colleague Jonathan Kantor. For this work is in essence a clear communication and a sharing of knowledge, with the goal of serving our patients.
Without a doubt, Jonathan and his team have both the expertise as well as the experience to author this book, as it is based on a well-regarded previous work written specifically for the specialist. But it goes well beyond expertise. Jonathan Kantor was quoted in Dermatology (Volume 26, Issue 6, June 2018) as saying, “Dermatology is not just about treating skin disease; it is also about serving our patients, our colleagues, and the field in general ….” With this complete work, he and his colleagues take these words and make them real.
I've worn many different hats in my professional career, including those of dermatology, public health, occupational and preventive medicine, refugee health, disaster response, counterterrorism and emerging threats, health communication, and public health policy. But the roots of my career stem from primary care. Originally trained as a family physician, I took on the overwhelming role of caring for the whole person and was proud to be part of a specialty that was solely devoted to primary care. Family physicians take on about 20% of all office visits, with 192 million visits annually. Add to that the primary care fields of pediatrics, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology and you have built the critical base of the pyramid of medical care that fulfills the general medical needs of specific patient populations.
It is this group of medical colleagues to which this book is directed. With the full understanding that one does not become an expert by reading a book, the primary care physician is still in a position of being that first entry point for a patient seeking care. It's about access, and the world of primary care needs to understand the role and importance of both dermatologic surgery and cosmetic procedures and their place in the general medical needs of the patient. This book provides the primary care world with an expansion of knowledge and could lead to the seeking out of further training for the good of the patients we are all honored to serve.
As a family physician, I knew what I was capable of and what I was trained to do. That capability expanded further with book knowledge, mentorship, and hands-on training in many different areas. By taking this path, I was able to serve my patients and "do good" but also to know my limitations and "do no harm."
Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH, FAAD, FACPM
Dean and Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, Maryland
Rear Admiral (Retired), US Public Health Service
US Surgeon General (Acting 2013–2014), US Deputy Surgeon General (2010–2015)