180.1 Dermatology

Instructor:  Margaret Lee, MD, PhD

Email: dermtrng@bu.edu
Location: BUMC, Shapiro 8
Telephone: 617-358-9700
Number of Students: 2-3 per rotation
Period to be Offered: 4 weeks

Description of Elective

The department offers a four-week, full-time clinical elective to meet the needs of students. This clinical elective program includes observing and participating in the care of patients in the Dermatology Service of Shapiro Suite 8B and in consultations on in-patients at Boston Medical Center. Students will work closely with the dermatology residents and attending staff. They also are given lectures covering basic diagnoses and therapies of skin diseases, and are urged to attend and participate in the teaching activities of the department. These include clinical grand rounds, journal club, lectures and seminars on a variety of clinical and basic science subjects related to dermatology.

The Dermatology elective provides a student with an opportunity to develop fundamental dermatology skills in a 4 week period.  It is an ambulatory rotation at the Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center integrated with a vibrant inpatient consultation service at Boston Medical Center. You will be exposed to general dermatology, pediatric dermatology, dermatology specialty clinics as well as certain procedures. You will directly interact with dermatology residents, international trainees, our clinical support staff as well as various dermatology attendings.

Blocks are available throughout the academic year. (For a list of block date, please click here.) Preference for blocks earlier in the academic year will be given to those students interested in dermatology residency.  Please note that completing a dermatology elective with us does NOT guarantee a residency interview.

For Non-BU students, your application must be received by the Dermatology Department (via VSAS) at least 2 months prior to the first day of the block. Required additional information: Step 1 USMLE and CV should be sent directly to dermtrng@bu.edu.

Our clinics are very busy and offer a robust learning experience.  You are encouraged to be an integral part of the dermatology team.  Some attending physicians may let you see patients on your own depending on the nature of the clinic.  You may be observing for a significant portion of your rotation. Please check with the specific attending dermatologist you are with that day. We ask that you be sensitive to the pace of the clinic; in some sessions you may have to hold your questions until all the patients have been seen.

There will also be opportunities for you to see inpatient dermatology consults. Seeing the patients on your own or with the consult resident and presenting the case to the attending is a great way to get more involved.

Note: Elective can be taken for four weeks only. There will be no exceptions.

Teaching Elective Goal

The purpose of the dermatology elective is to provide a learning environment for the student to develop basic dermatology skills.


By the end of the dermatology elective, the BUSM student will be able to:

  1. Accurately describe skin lesions including morphology, configuration and distribution. (B,U,C)
  2. Recognize the clinical manifestations of common dermatologic conditions.
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with common diagnostic procedures.
  4. Identify 1st and 2nd lines of therapy for common dermatologic conditions. (U,R,E)
  5. Demonstrate understanding of basic epidemiology and risk factors for malignant melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. (U,R)
  6. Identify clinical situations in which a dermatologist should be consulted and other clinical situations which may be managed without referral. (U,C,S)

Furthermore, we expect that rotating students and residents will:

  1. Interact with patients, their families, our office staff and other health professionals in a manner that is culturally sensitive and appropriate to the resident’s dual role as healthcare provider and student of dermatology. (B,A)
  2. Communicate with patients, their families, our office staff and other healthcare providers in an effective fashion in spoken and written English. (B)
  3. Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, sensitivity to a diverse patient population, and dress and deportment appropriate to a physician. (B,A)
  4. Wear neat, clean clothing, a white coat and identification badge when seeing patients. (A)

Excused Absence Policy

In accordance to the policies of our Registrar’s Office, medical students are allowed to miss a total of 5 days throughout the four week rotation, and a maximum of 3 before having to make-up time. For further information, please review the BUSM Attendance and Time Off Policy. If a student needs more than 5 days off they will be encouraged to drop and reschedule the block.  The course/clerkship director determines if a student needs to make up time to meet the goals of the course and receive a grade.

*All student rotators are responsible for arranging their own housing and parking during this experience*