Aesthetic technologies and treatments continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Given the variety of treatments now available and the continued introduction of new products and techniques, “it is imperative that aesthetic practitioners and mid-level providers seek ongoing medical education in order to achieve the best patient outcomes,” says Vic A. Narurkar, MD, director of the Bay Area Laser Institute in San Francisco.
There is a wide assortment of training options available to medical aesthetic providers, including scientific meetings, fellowships, company-sponsored CME and procedure-specific training. On the following pages, we offer an overview of the various options available as well as advice on how to choose the best training programs for you and your staff.
There are a number of national and regional scientific meetings hosted by professional associations. For dermatologists, Girish “Gilly” Munavalli, MD, medical director of Dermatology, Laser and Vein Specialists of the Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina, recommends the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the annual meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS). Both offer hands-on and scientifically based demonstrations. “The ASDS emphasizes relevant anatomy and an interconnection with the latest procedures,” he says. “The demonstrations are very helpful.”
Kenneth Beer, MD, director of Beer General, Surgical and Esthetic Dermatology in West Palm Beach, Florida, regularly attends specialty-specific scientific meetings as
they typically present “best in class” techniques from leading physicians. “Follow this up with a visit to a physician’s office to get the nuances of any procedure,” he says. “Everything looks easy in a Powerpoint presentation, even though that’s not always the case.”
In addition to attending large, national scientific meetings, Dr. Narurkar is a proponent of boutique meetings, which complement the larger meetings. He and Dr. Beer, along with Mary Lupo, MD, a dermatologist in New Orleans, founded the Cosmetic Bootcamp for core specialty physicians. Now in its 11th year, its goal is to educate physicians in science and evidence-based technologies through live injectable and laser treatment demonstrations. The benefit of smaller sessions, according to Dr. Narurkar, is that attendees can interact with faculty, which is more difficult in a meeting with thousands of attendees.
Over the years, the Cosmetic Bootcamp has evolved to offer different levels of meetings for physicians, residents and fellows, and it is offered in multiple cities. “Oftentimes these medical professionals can’t leave their training programs, so we make them convenient,” says Dr. Narurkar.
Most recently, the group has added a practice management meeting (called the Cosmetic Bootcamp Practice Management and Extender Meeting) for physician extenders so
they, too, can learn more about optimal treatment options and scope of practice. “We saw a void in educational offerings at larger meetings, which have become more like trade shows,” says Dr. Narurkar. “Here, attendees can participate in sessions at an intimate level and have the opportunity to ask questions.”
“Physicians do not need to attend every dinner or seminar that is offered in their region, rather they should go to seminars conducted by respected peers in their given field of interest,” says Lisa A. Zdinak, MD, chief surgeon and medical director of Precision Aesthetics in New York. She stays on the forefront of her specialty by attending at least one domestic and one international meeting every year. “This way, I know what is available now domestically and what is on the horizon globally.”
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