Caring to Inspire Skin Confidence: A Look at the 2019 International Awards for Social Responsibility in Dermatology

Through this initiative, we are highlighting how dermatology and dermatologists can be key actors in social responsibility. This year, together with the International League of Dermatological Societies and the World Congress of Dermatology, we are celebrating 5 wonderful social initiatives undertaken by dermatologists from around the world.

L’Oréal, in partnership with the International League of Dermatological Societies and the World Congress of Dermatology, have developed the International Awards for Social Responsibility in Dermatology. The third edition of these Awards took place at the 24th World Congress of Dermatology which took place in Milan, Italy from June 10th to June 15th 2019.

Patients with dermatological conditions frequently face discrimination and social exclusion because of their conditions. Our skin is usually the first thing that other people notice about us – and when we don’t feel comfortable with how our skin looks or feels, it can have a huge impact on our self-confidence.

Dermatologists are at the heart of skin management and skin treatments. Some extraordinarily generous dermatologists go beyond their main assignments and dedicate their time, knowledge and expertise to help people in need.

With the International Awards for Social Responsibility in Dermatology, we want to reward and capture these initiatives and projects led by dermatologists, either as individuals or in partnership with associations or hospitals. These projects focus on patients with the aim of improving their physical and psychological well-being, self-esteem, social integration and skin health. It’s about more than medical treatment; it’s about enabling them to re-engage socially.

Projects fall into one of the following 3 categories:

  • Prevention and education on skin health
  • Improved quality of life and self-esteem for people facing skin issues
  • Access to care, coverage and surgery

This year, we celebrated five outstanding projects from over 120 submissions from 34 countries. These change makers are making a real difference for people facing skin issues around the world. Each winning project received a €20,000 grant, allowing the awardees to continue and expand their work.

Africa & Middle East

Prof. Dalia Gamal Aly & Dr. Ragia Hany Weshahy from Egypt, “For a Better Life after Burns”

The project led by Dalia Gamal Aly and Ragia Hany Weshahy, professor and lecturer of Dermatology at the National Research Center in Giza, Egypt, is a collaboration with the Ahl Masr Foundation, an Egyptian non-profit organization providing support to burn victims and offering a preventive and awareness programs on burn accidents and their consequences to the most marginalized communities.

The project aim is to provide treatment to burn victims, to help their rehabilitation into the community and to work on the prevention and the development of safe practices in order to limit burn injuries.

The actions carried out include:

  • Identification of risk factors that may result in burn injuries;
  • Improvement of awareness on how to treat burn injuries;
  • Education of vulnerable groups (prevention measures, fire-fighting techniques, first aid measures…);
  • Financing and connecting vulnerable populations with hospital burn care units;
  • Providing free dermatological treatment and psychological support;
  • Since the beginning of the project in 2013, more than 1,000 burn victims have benefited from this program of dermatological care.

Asia Pacific

Dr. Sabina Bhattarai from Nepal, "Dermatology Patient Care in Rural Nepal: Reaching the Unreached"

The project is run by the non-profit organization “Ek Ek Paila”. This NGO was created after the 2015 earthquake; its aim is to provide free medical services on a regular basis to areas devastated by the earthquake and now to remote regions of Nepal. As no dermatologists were working in any of the areas first visited, this health care initiative now brings screening, identification and treatment of patients with skin diseases responsible for social stigmatization.

Dr. Bhattarai leads the dermatological team who carry out the following:

  • Skin consultation and treatment
  • Education and preventive measures
  • Follow-on care for patients

Since the start of the project in 2015, 1,575 patients have been treated in remote areas for the following dermatological conditions, including photodermatosis, eczema, lichen, scabies, fungal infection, vitiligo, and leprosy.


Prof. Kathrin Giehl from Germany, "Besonderhaut – Initiative for Children with Rare and Genetic Skin Diseases”

The Besonderhaut project is run by the “Deutsche Stiftung Kinderdermatologie” (German foundation on child dermatology) founded in 2010. This foundation supports children with skin diseases in Germany.

The Besonderhaut project consists of different methods and activities to support patients and families with chronic rare and genetic diseases (ichthyosis, epidermolysis bullosa, tuberous sclerosis, etc.). The main goal is to improve the quality of life and self-esteem of child sufferers in order to aid their integration into society. The applicant wants to build a sustainable initiative to help patients cope with their disease in daily-life.

This project focuses on different aspects of the child’s life:

  • Inclusion in the home environment (kindergarten school….);
  • Personal development for children and parents, including a motivational app to help cope with the daily time-consuming treatment regime;
  • Patient network and patient support group;
  • Advice and family-oriented assistance;
  • Support measures in leisure time (targeted activities like summer camps, in cooperation with other foundations).

The project began in 2017 and more than 90 patients have been helped by Besonderhaut.

North America

Dr. Mark Holzberg from the United States, “Volunteer Dermatologist Dermatology Clinic for Atlanta’s Homeless at the Mercy Care Clinic at the Gateway Center”

Mercy Care Clinic delivers primary care, dental and vision, pediatrics, health education, and HIV treatment. In 2009, Mercy Care formed an association with the Gateway Center for the Homeless to provide primary care and dentistry for the homeless population in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

The program set up by Dr. Holzberg adds full-service dermatology to the clinic with the help of members of the Georgia Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, thereby providing this population with access to dermatologic care.

The free clinic is offered twice a month and each homeless patient consultation involves a dermatologist, a certified medical assistant and a medical scribe to keep records.

The project was set up in April 2018 and since July, eight dermatologists are involved and approximately 60 homeless patients have benefited from the project.

South & Central America

Dr. Carolina Reato Marçon from Brazil, “Pró-Albino Program: Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Actinic Skin Damage, Emotional Support and Social Inclusion in Albinism”

Epidemiological data on albinism in Brazil are not available, but the number of people living with albinism is substantial. The dermatology department of Santa Casa de Misericórdia Hospital recorded a high incidence of advanced skin cancers and actinic damage in albino patients. As a direct result, the department decided to set up a program to provide effective interventions for the prevention and early management of skin cancer, and to provide emotional and social support to albino patients.

The Pró-Albino program was launched in 2010 at the Santa Casa de Misericórdia Hospital in São Paulo, by the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Ophthalmology. Its objectives include:

  • Reducing the physical ‘scars’ of albinism through the prevention and early detection of dermatological diseases that occur in albino patients
  • Diagnosing ophthalmological changes
  • Conducting appropriate interventions

In addition, all albino patients and their families receive information leaflets on the pathology and on measures to prevent skin damage.

Around 280 patients are involved in the program.

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