Joseph C. English, III, MD has been a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Dermatology since 2003 and is currently the Medical Director of UPMC North Hills Dermatology, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Director of the UPMC Teledermatology Program. He has served as the Medical Director of the UPMC Department of Dermatology’s Falk Clinic, Director of the Department of Dermatology’s Residency Program, and Clinical Vice Chairman for Quality and Innovation. Dr. English is an expert both in granulomatous diseases and hair and nail diseases and has a broad range of interests in medical dermatology. Dr. English has published over 160 various peer-reviewed articles in the field of dermatology and is also the lead author of the textbook "Skin Signs of Systemic Disease."
Dr. Hasan Khosravi conducted this interview with Dr. English. Dr. Khosravi is a dermatology resident at UPMC. In this interview, he asks Dr. English some personal questions about what has driven him to achieve these accomplishments as well as what he likes to do for fun!
DrK: How did you become interested in Dermatology?
Dr. English: My passion for dermatology started during my third-year internal medicine rotation while I was at Penn State (1990 – yikes). A patient was admitted with Bullous pemphigoid. It was the light switch I was waiting for. I spent the next weekend reading cover to cover Lookingbill & Marks “Priniciples of Dermatology” textbook, cancelled a month’s vacation and was able to get a Derm rotation before my fourth year (not allowed usually) with Don Lookingbill, MD and James Marks, MD. The rest, per se, is history.
DrK: What made you choose to focus and become an expert in granulomatous diseases and hair/nail?
Dr. English: I always preferred medical dermatology and complicated cases. When I was junior faculty at the University of Virginia (1999-2003), I was asked to give a lecture on sarcoidosis for the summer AAD by Mary Maloney, MD. After preparing for that, we published a CME article in the JAAD. It was the ultimate medical dermatology disease and fostered my interest in non-infectious granulomatous diseases.
My interest in hair and nail started in my residency and working with Dirk Elston, MD (1994-1997), Brooke Army Medical Center. During my time at UVA, I developed a lecture series for the residents’ academic sessions so I was able to research the topic very intensely. It wasn’t until I moved to the University of Pittsburgh (2003-present) that I started a dedicate H&N clinic in 2007.
DrK: What made you decide to pursue academic practice as opposed to private practice?
Dr. English: My late parents were college professors in the education department at St. Bonaventure University. I grew up with teaching and research being the mainstay of my parents’ conversations. When I went to St. Bona’s (1983-1987) I took education courses, as my back-up plan was to be a college professor. During college I often held tutorial sessions for other biology majors and in med school I tested out of Histology and was a teaching assistant. During residency we often taught lectures and I enjoyed writing for the Dermatologic literature. I had no other plans but to go to academics.
DrK: Do you have any advice for residents looking to start their careers?
Dr. English: If you love to teach and do research, share that passion with the future generations of dermatologists and try a career in academics. If after 1-2 years it’s not your cup of tea, try group/private practice.
DrK: What do you see as the biggest problem in Dermatology that should be addressed? Do you have any suggested solutions?
Dr. English: Our specialty has become too obsessed with cosmetic procedures and fewer dermatologists are doing medical dermatology. This is especially true concerning inpatient consults. Many of our colleagues don’t take us serious because of this, in my opinion.
DrK: What is your favorite thing to do for fun outside of the dermatology office?
Dr. English: I enjoy road biking and spending time with my wife and children. I also enjoy a good cigar!