Dr. Gboyega Olarinoye, MD (Nigeria)
Mentor: Dr. Evangeline Handog, MD
Manila, Philippines 2019
What were the major goals for your mentorship experience? By rotating through the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) and Asian Hospital and Medical Center, I hoped to have a firsthand experience of how skin diseases are generally managed in a different clime. I also specifically wanted to learn about cosmetic dermatology and management of pigmentary disorders from Dr. Handog, who is a well-recognized expert in the field. Skin conditions requiring such competences are quite common in Nigeria and addressing them can be challenging.
What did you like best about your mentorship experience? I particularly liked the warm, yet efficient, working and learning environment I witnessed. Everyone was friendly and willing to share knowledge with me. It was thus easy to learn from specialists who were experts in different aspects of dermatology. These included cosmetic dermatology, dermatopathology, dermatologic surgery, phototherapy, and tropical dermatology. The lovely residents and other departmental staff also made a conscious effort to ensure that I had a pleasant experience.
Describe any special experiences with your mentor: Dr. Handog has such a wonderful personality that every encounter with her was special. She is extremely skillful, kind, generous, pleasant and thoughtful. I still relish the extended lunch breaks we had at her clinics where she would discuss academics, personal interests and career development with me and other residents. On one such occasion, she showed us how to start a modest, yet very impactful, dermatology practice. I found this very humbling and productive.
Describe a skill acquired during your mentorship that you will definitely use when you return home: With regard to cosmetic and procedural dermatology, I observed an expert approach several disorders including melasma, vitiligo, exogenous ochronosis, alopecia, various post-inflammatory dyschromias, photoaging, and acne. Treatments used included topical and oral medications, intralesional injections, chemical peels, phototherapy, lasers and minor surgical procedures. It was a delight to learn from someone with decades of such experience.
How will your mentorship experience impact your patient care and professional goals over the next year? During my stay, I developed a broader prospective into the diagnosis and management of various dermatoses, many of which are also common in my country. This helped me develop a wider range of treatment options for my patients, based on factors such as the specific phenotype of their skin disease and their response to previous treatments. Secondly, my interaction with dermatology experts has birthed collaborative research opportunities, which I intend to pursue.
How will your mentorship experience make an impact five years from now, including for your region or country? I have hence decided to start a modest cosmetic dermatology practice and follow up on my newly developed interest in dermatopathology. Five years on, I wish to be able to offer quality services in cosmetic dermatology and dermatopathology that are affordable and well adapted to my region. I also hope to add to the narrative of dark skin in standard literature. By then, I dream to be able to inspire others like my mentor continues to inspire me.
Share a pearl you learned during your mentorship experience: An important pearl is to never underestimate the value of a good clinical history. I saw this play out on a good number of occasions. Despite Dr. Handog’s busy clinic sessions, I witnessed the combination of good history taking and sound clinical acumen being used to unravel complex cases as well as to identify avoidable triggers of skin diseases.