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Meet Dr. Hadas Skupsky, Dermatologist and Dermatopathologist at Laser Skin Care Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Hadas Skupsky.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hadas. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I started medical school, I never thought I would end up a dermatologist. Like many people, I had misconceptions about what they did and the types of patients they treat. Fortunately, medical school promotes exposure to new things. In the first two years of my medical training, I discovered a new passion: histopathology and the challenges of understanding the complexity of diseases on a cellular level. Histopathology refers to the microscopic examination of tissue biopsies to establish a diagnosis. As a medical student, I was honored with being asked to teach histopathology to medical students in the summer before the first and second years. That experience not only solidified my love for histopathology but also I discovered that I enjoyed teaching as much as learning.

During clinical rotations, I took advantage of every opportunity to visit the pathology department to see the biopsy analysis for the patients under my care. Pathologists often diagnose the illness, but they don’t traditionally directly care for the patient. I considered specializing in pathology, but could not see myself being happy without working directly with patients in the clinic. An advisor at the time introduced me to a dermatology trained dermatopathologist, which is the field I ultimately decided to pursue. Dermatology is the only medical field in which a doctor can subspecialize in pathology after completing clinical training. This unique pathway allows for practicing clinical medicine while also performing laboratory medicine. It was this unique balance that attracted me to the field.

Initially, dermatology drew me in with its unique integration of histopathology and direct patient care. I was also surprised to find that the field suited my interests and strengths in many other ways. The skin is a complex organ that interacts with all organ systems. Dermatologic conditions are particularly gratifying to treat as they are often disfiguring and embarrassing for patients that have to “wear their illness” openly. I take pride in being able to heal both the physical and emotional scars of skin disease. I enjoy treating patients of all ages and having a varied daily schedule of clinical patient care, surgical procedures, and microscope time. I relish the scrutiny of skin cells beneath the microscope lens and revel in taking a step back to consider the patient as a whole.

Diagnosing skin tissue is not an automated laboratory test. Working through a case is like solving a difficult puzzle, and getting the satisfaction of making an accurate diagnosis for a patient is incredibly fulfilling. Every day I see and learn something new. The ultimate goal is to provide the best possible care for every patient. I recognize that each slide and sample represents the life of someone’s spouse, someone’s parent, someone’s child, or someone’s friend, I treat each one as I would want my loved ones to be treated.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road to getting where I am today has definitely been a long one – four years of medical school, one year of internship, three years of dermatology residency and one year of fellowship. For my fellowship, I was accepted into the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York. While I was beyond thankful and excited for the opportunity, this meant that I would have to leave my husband and young daughter behind in Irvine while I completed the year-long fellowship. We were a bicoastal family for one year and it was the absolute hardest thing I have ever had to do for my job. Leaving my husband and daughter and missing a year of my daughter’s early development was incredibly tough, but I knew it was something I had to do in order to excel in my career. My husband and I have since had two more girls and we never take for granted being able to watch them grow up right in front of our eyes.

Please tell us about Laser Skin Care Center.
Laser Skin Care Center is a comprehensive dermatology facility with eight board-certified dermatologists. We provide the whole scope of medical and cosmetic dermatology to our patients and are especially unique in that we have our own in-house dermatopathology lab, which is what attracted me most to LSCC. While most practices send out tissues to a separate laboratory for analysis, LSCC has its very own right here in the office. From patient to slide to microscope, every aspect of the process is done in-house. This not only saves costs for patients and insurers, but it guarantees the highest quality of care for patients and provides a unique, concierge-style service for patients and doctors that you really can’t find elsewhere. I personally enjoy this aspect of the practice because it allows me to look at both the clinical dermatology side of things along with the pathologist side of the analysis too. Plus, I am able to have back and forth conversations with my colleagues where we ask each other questions and learn from each other each and every day.

Our practice recently acquired brand-new equipment that takes our in-house lab a step further as it is a complete gamechanger for our practice. It is the Tissue-Tek Genie® Advanced Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Staining System – a new, super hi-tech testing device for patient biopsies and surgeries. IHC has evolved to complement routine laboratory staining techniques to assist with the diagnosis of skin cancers and rashes. Whereas routine stains are non-specific, IHC is directed to specific protein markers within skin tissue. In addition to localizing proteins expressed by tumors, IHC can be used to analyze cancer genomics, inflammatory markers and offers rapid detection of infectious organisms.

One last unique aspect about LSCC that I want to be sure to touch on is that it is a private practice that is strongly rooted in academic medicine. We welcome resident doctors from UC Irvine and MemorialCare for dermatology rotations and several of our dermatologists are volunteer clinical faculty. I have a teaching appointment at UC Irvine and teach both dermatology and pathology residents at UC Irvine on a weekly basis. I have always loved teaching, so to be able to tie in teaching to my job is truly icing on the cake.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are several people who I feel deserve credit when it comes to my journey and success. One of them being Dr. Bryna Kane, senior partner, and co-owner of LSCC because she is a phenomenal woman and mentor who has quite an inspiring story. Dr. Kane went into medicine at a time when women were few are far between in the medical industry, with even fewer opening up their own practice! She did not let the statistics hold her back and ended up creating a widely successful practice that has survived for decades with a loyal and dedicated patient base. I look up to her for what she has done as an employer and entrepreneur and really appreciate how she runs the practice with the mentality and vision to take care of patients to the fullest extent.

Dr. Edward Glassberg co-founded LSCC and founded its laboratory. I am incredibly grateful that he invited me to co-direct the laboratory. As a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon, Dr. Glassberg contributes a specialized skill set and helps ensure that our laboratory meets the unique demands of Mohs Micrographic Surgery.

Someone else who deserves to be recognized is LSCC’s Laboratory Manager, Rebecca Luna. Rebecca is so passionate about her work and does not accept anything less than perfect, meaning that our patients are getting the absolute best care. She is president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the California Society for Histotechnology and is completely devoted to ensuring LSCC’s lab gives the highest quality pathology and the greatest level of diagnostic services for our patients.

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