PeDRA is a vibrant organization made up of over 600 individuals driven by the mission to create, inspire, and sustain research to prevent, treat, and cure childhood skin disease. The purpose of the PeDRA Member Spotlight is to recognize PeDRA members’ accomplishments and their service and contributions to the field of pediatric dermatology research; inspire future pediatric dermatology clinician-scientists; highlight the diversity of our membership; and strengthen awareness of the field of pediatric dermatology research.
Lisa Arkin, MD and Esteban Fernandez Faith, MD
Lisa Arkin, MD is the Director of Pediatric Dermatology, an Associate Professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics, and a Co-Director of the Birthmarks and Vascular Anomalies Center (BVAC) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research focuses on vascular anomalies and auto inflammatory diseases in children. She is particularly interested in targeted approaches to facial port wine birthmarks leveraging novel imaging and genetics. In the realm of autoinflammatory disease, she has fostered collaborations between pediatric dermatologists and rheumatologists to better understand natural history, validate disease severity, and standardize treatment regimens to improve outcomes for patients with cutaneous lupus, morphea and dermatomyositis.
Esteban Fernandez Faith, MD is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology at the Ohio State University. He is Program Director of the Pediatric Dermatology Fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and a member of the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance and the Hemangioma Investigator Group. His academic and research interests include vascular anomalies, laser surgery and medical education.
Dr. Arkin and Dr. Fernandez Faith are the co-chairs of the upcoming 11th PeDRA Annual Conference, and they recently joined us for a special Getting to Know You episode to dive into all things Conference and share their favorite memories over the past years. The Conference takes place November 9-11, 2023 in Atlanta, GA and registration closes on October 26, 2023.
Jeff Yu, MD
Jeff Yu, MD is an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is the Director of the Occupational and Contact Dermatitis clinic where he has developed an expertise in patch testing children for allergic contact dermatitis. He is also the Associate Director of Clinical Trials where he is engaged in the development of novel therapeutics for various pediatric dermatologic diseases ranging from alopecia areata to vitiligo.
He is an active member of PeDRA, and has been a mentor and mentee through the PeDRA Mentorship Program, a member of the EI Committee, and is currently serving on the Outcomes and Meetings Committees, as well as a member of the Steering Committee for Eczema Counts, a project supported by an Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Dr. Yu is an avid runner and participates in races all year long to support research and organizations making a difference in the lives of children. Most recently, he was selected to serve as the next president for the American Contact Dermatitis Society.
Together with Beth Drolet, MD, he will be co-leading the Early Investigator Forum at the 11th PeDRA Annual Conference, where they’ll share their expertise on networking and grant preparation. Residents, pediatric dermatology clinical fellows, and early investigators who are less than seven years out of training are eligible to register for this exciting session.
Diana Zarowin is a fourth-year medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. An active member of PeDRA, she’s the recipient of a 2022 PeDRA Research Fellowship under the mentorship of James Treat, MD and a 2023 PeDRA Emerging Investigator Research Grant with Brittany Craiglow, MD. Her pediatric dermatology interests include, but are not limited to, medical education surrounding skin of color and disability patients, vascular anomalies, and hair disorders.
While shadowing Dr. Craiglow, Diana experienced an inspiring patient encounter when an ‘Alopecia Barbie’ was gifted to a pediatric patient. Knowing more could be done with these toys, she reached out to Mattel Inc., the creators of Barbie, to explore a giveaway partnership with the well-known brand. A few weeks later, 300 lbs. of medical representation Barbies – ‘Vitiligo Barbie & Ken’ and ‘Alopecia Barbie’ – were delivered to Diana’s home and the Barbie Like Me campaign was born. Diana has been disseminating these special Barbies throughout clinics in the Northeast and they will be given out this summer at Camp Discovery. If you are interested in learning more or receiving products, please email Diana.
Francesca Tenconi, MBA
Francesca Tenconi is the Founder and Executive Director of the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation (CSDF). When Francesca was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with pemphigus foliaceus, a rare skin disease. Today, she uses her unique insights from this ordeal to help other children. She currently serves as the chair of the PeDRA Patient Advisory Committee (PtAC) and recently joined PeDRA in DC to bring the patient perspective to Corporate Council and contribute actively in getting patients involved in the research process. She also spoke with NIH about the history of the PtAC and the role PeDRA plays in the research process.
CSDF runs Camp Wonder, providing a place where children get to be kids, without the burden of their disease taking center stage. Camp Wonder’s unique approach allows children to put their childhood first and gives their parents and siblings a much-needed rest from doctor’s appointments, sleepless nights, and all the other challenges that come with skin disease. At Camp Wonder children participate in “normal” camp activities, including swimming, arts and crafts, games, dances, and so much more all while under the care of fantastic camp staff and medical professionals. Check out our Community Spotlight featuring CSDF to learn more about Francesca and this incredible non-profit.
If you’re a parent, advocate, and/or patient over the age of 18 with a direct connection or significant interest in childhood skin disease or pediatric dermatology research, you can join PeDRA as a Community Member – it’s FREE!
Reid Oldenburg, MD, PhD
Reid Oldenburg, MD, PhD is a Dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at UC San Diego Health. While he’s busy in his new role as an attending physician, he continues to stay actively involved in PeDRA by serving on the Grants Committee, Early Investigators Committee, and as a mentor for the Mentorship Program.
During his residency, Dr. Oldenburg was the recipient of a 2020 PeDRA Research Grant. His current project involves studying the immunopathogenesis of severe cutaneous adverse reactions, which includes reactive infectious mucocutaneous eruptions and drug induced hypersensitivity syndromes. This involves collecting patient blood samples prior to any treatment, during treatment and upon recovery. They use multiplex cytokine profiling, single cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptomics and flow cytometry to maximize data acquisition from patient samples. By understanding the pathogenesis and immune dysregulation, his team hopes to facilitate the selection of targeted therapies in clinical trials and the development of consensus guidelines for treatment of these serious diseases. Learn more about Dr. Oldenburg and his research here.
Brenda Abreu Molnar
Brenda Abreu Molnar was interviewed by @HCPLive® to discuss her experiences managing both clinical and bench research to study treatment options for epidermolysis bullosa (EB) patients.
Brenda is currently a gap year medical student. She is a PeDRA Mentorship Program mentee and a member of several collaborative PeDRA Focused Study Groups (FSGs), including the Acne/HS FSG, Psoriasis FSG, Neonatal FSG, and Skin of Color and Pigmentary Disorders FSG. Watch the interview to learn more about Brenda’s work.
Morgan Dykman is a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota and our current PeDRA Fellow. As the PeDRA Fellow, she is fortunate to have many opportunities, including representing PeDRA at meetings and events. She recently attended the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Annual Meeting and shares her experience as a first-time attendee.
Maria Teresa García-Romero, MD, MPH
Maria Teresa García-Romero, MD, MPH was interviewed by @HCPLive® to discuss her team’s recent development of the Morphea Activity Measure (MAM), a clinical tool designed for determining pediatric localized scleroderma (morphea).
Amy Paller, MD and Andrea Rustad
Two of our dedicated PeDRA members, Amy Paller, MD and Andrea Rustad, fourth-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, recently published a children’s book, Skin-Vincible, in collaboration with the Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types. Through the experiences of its main character, Cece, this book addresses skin differences and how to cope with bullies.
Watch our interview with the authors to learn how this book was made and why it’s an important tool for parents, teachers, and children in addressing bullying and differences.
Learn More About Our Community
Each quarter, PeDRA shines a light on a different patient advocacy organization, highlighting the incredible work they do to support patients and families, and the important role they play in research.