Atlantic Derm’s history as an organization defines who we are today. Founded in 1923 as a case-based clinical conference by three dermatologists from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, Atlantic Derm has grown into a dedicated group of thousands of dermatologists from 14 member societies along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada.
Each year Atlantic Derm members gather for a unique mission of serving patients. Our patients are the reason we exist and the reason why this conference remains true to its history – a case-based clinical conference.
As I reflect on our history, where we are today, and where we will be in the future, there is one constant – that is, the patients who attend the conference every year.
Thank you for your support of the Atlantic Derm Conference, a conference that each year successfully honors its storied history. It is a privilege to be part of the Atlantic Derm Conference tradition.
Jeffrey Miller, MD
Permanent Secretary, Atlantic Dermatological Conference
Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center
Atlantic Derm Through the Years:
The Atlantic Dermatological Conference was codified in 1923 by Drs. Howard Fox from New York University, Harvey Towle from Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jay Schamberg from Philadelphia. The conference would be an annual, case-based clinical conference meeting that would rotate among member societies.
Attended by 59 physicians, the first meeting was held on February 27, 1923, by the New York Academy of Medicine with a social event at the Army Navy Club on 59th Street. The conference would also serve as a social event.
At the first meeting, Drs. Fred Wise and Howard Fox presented 29 and 13 cases, respectively, including urticaria pigmentosa, dermatitis herpetiformis, and the coexistence of leprosy and syphilis. Treatments discussed included Coley’s fluid, a mixture of killed bacteria species initially developed as a treatment for cancer, and arsphenamine, the first modern chemotherapeutic agent used to treat syphilis and parasitic diseases.
Among the attendees at the first meeting in New York were two remarkable women, Dr. Loretta Cummins, the first female to pass the Dermatology Boards and first female president of New England Dermatological Society, and Dr. Rose Hirschler, the first female Chair of a Dermatology Department at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, now Drexel University.
The tradition began as it continues today, with the second conference in Boston (November 5, 1923) followed by Philadelphia on October 14, 1924.
The Atlantic Dermatology Conference would be governed by an Executive Committee, comprised of Presidents and Secretaries of member societies.
The Atlantic Dermatology Conference quickly grew to seven rotating cities hosted by the respective societies: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, Montreal, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Today, Atlantic Derm has grown to 14 member societies comprised of over 3000 dermatologists.
In 1947, a decision was made by the executive committee to name a permanent secretary in order to assist host societies and provide continuity. William James, MD, recently stepped down from this role after serving from 1996 to 2012. His predecessors include Lawrence Nortion (1983-1996), John Fromer (1970-1983), Maurice Tolman (1956-1970), Francis Thurman (1951-1956), and G. Marshall Crawford (1947-1951).