Dr. Nataliia Zhovta, MD (Ukraine)
Mentor: Dr. Nellie Konnikov, MD
Boston, Massachusetts, US. 2018
For ISD mentee Dr. Nataliia Zhovta of Ukraine, she felt fortunate to have been selected to participate in the ISD Mentorship program. Her mentor, Dr. Nellie Konnikov, Chief of Dermatology in the VA Boston Health Care System, devised a very comprehensive educational program for her that even exceeded her expectations.
By enhancing her knowledge of cutaneous oncology and the management of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) and inflammatory skin diseases, Dr. Zhovta could then integrate this knowledge into her routine practice.
The program included everything from A to Z, from establishing an accurate paradigm for the management of NMSCs to appropriate biopsy techniques. In the Ukraine, dermatologists have minimal training in dermatopathology, but Dr. Zhovta believes that clinicians should have at least a basic knowledge of dermatopathology. During her two-month visit, Dr. Zhovta had the opportunity to establish clinicopathological correlations in the VA patients she had seen – a priceless experience for any clinician.
Dr. Zhovta credits Dr. Konnikov for really making her feel like part of the team at the VA Medical Center and not just a superficial observer. For example, she was able to get hands-on experience in photodynamic therapy for the field treatment of actinic keratoses, as well as learn about the use of various lasers. Working with residents from three excellent training programs (Harvard, Boston University, and Tufts University) and attending their Grand Rounds provided insights into how interactions within the Ukrainian dermatologic community can be improved.
After completing this program, Dr. Zhovta feels more confident as a specialist and will integrate this acquired knowledge into her practice.
“Without the financial support of the ISD, this experience would not have been possible for me. I encourage all young specialists to become ISD members and have this unique chance to explore dermatology!” -- Dr. Nataliia Zhovta