UM Students, Faculty Share Dermatology Experiences at University of Pisa

Karishma Desai and Madeline Lederer, second-year students at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, broadened their clinical dermatology experiences this summer through an externship program with the University of Pisa in Italy. “During our month in Pisa we engaged in hands-on care, learned a great deal about wound healing and were even given the option of rotating through other fields of medicine as well,” said Lederer.

“It was a wonderful learning program,” added Desai, who also took part in the Galilei Dermatology Meeting X Edition, a conference that promotes cross-cultural collaboration with the University of Pisa, founded in 1343 and one of the oldest universities in Europe.

Four Miller School students and six faculty members participated in the conference, including Preetha Kamath and Inna Granovsky, fourth-year students in the combined B.S./M.D. Honors Program in Medicine. They had previously participated in the summer exchange, and delivered a presentation at the Galilei meeting comparing the U.S. and Italian medical education and health care systems.

“The conference was a great academic experience with lectures in various areas of dermatology given by leaders and experts from around the world,” said Kamath. “It was also a fantastic cultural experience.”

The UM-Pisa summer exchange program, approved by the deans of the two medical schools, was arranged by Paolo Romanelli, M.D., professor of dermatology, Director of the UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital Psoriasis Biologics Clinic, and Director of the ACGME Dermatopathology Fellowship, with his brother Dr. Marco Romanelli, professor and chairman of the Dermatology Department at the University of Pisa Medical School.

They launched the collaborative initiative in 2005 to honor their cardiologist father, Renzo Romanelli, M.D., who was professor at the Pisa Medical School until 1977 before becoming clinical professor of medicine and then professor emeritus at the Miller School.

“Our 10th conference was a tremendous scientific success, and our students were able to learn about the latest research, treatments and techniques for psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, acne and cosmetic dermatology,” said Romanelli. “Our venue for the first time was the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore. During the symposium, we met with Dr. Paolo Mancarella, president of the University of Pisa, and were interviewed by local newspapers and a TV station. We also enjoyed watching Pisa’s longstanding June 16 Luminaria festival with 120,000 candle lights illuminating the Arno River.”

Six Miller School faculty members lectured at the Galilei X conference, including Mariya Miteva, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology; Joely Kaufman, M.D., lecturer in dermatology; Wendy Lee, M.D., associate professor of clinical ophthalmology and dermatology and Director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Aesthetics Center; Christopher Salgado, M.D., professor of surgery and Interim Chief of the Division of Plastic, Reconstructive, Transgender and Aesthetic Surgery; and Antonella Tosti, M.D., professor of dermatology and the Fredric Brandt, M.D. Professor of Clinical Dermatology.

Romanelli said the conference and exchange program, which is supported by an anonymous donor, has made a big difference in the lives of Miller School students. As Caitlin Coviello, who attended the 2016 conference as a second-year medical student and is now class of 2019 president, said, “This program will shape my career as a future physician. The University of Miami is unique in its global learning opportunities and I am so grateful to attend such an amazing school.”

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