I was born in the 1950s. In my youth, we put a man on the moon. As a young adult, I transitioned from using a slide rule to using a calculator to using a computer. I went from eating plain boiled vegetables as a kid to, mmm, yummy broiled Brussels sprouts loaded up with garlic and bacon as an adult. We now get our groceries from a farm-to-table operation located in a store that must sell over a thousand beverages from different breweries. What an awesome time to be a live! What an awesome country to live in!
And yet… not everyone lives as well as an American dermatologist/journal editor like me. Not everyone fully participates in the benefits of the wealth of our society, and how to give all citizens that opportunity—while balancing the realities of human nature—is quite the conundrum.
But let there be no doubt that there is a conundrum to address. The existence of nutritional deficiencies in a country as wealthy as ours points to a deficiency in our society. In this month’s issue, our Cover Story sheds light on the growing prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in the United States and how dermatologists can help to identify these through cutaneous manifestations, beginning on page 42.
Meanwhile, to address the current boom in demand for cosmetic products and procedures, we also cover the importance of educating dermatology residents on cosmetics, starting page 22. The growing demand for these often-elective treatments stands in stark contrast to our Cover Story subject and further highlights the level of inequality we face as dermatologists.
The craziness of a wealthy, “free” society is also borne out by the knowledge that we need to address an issue like the recent measles outbreak, discussed on page 45, as the number of measles cases this year reached its highest level since the disease was declared eradicated in the United States.
I never stop being appreciative that I’m a dermatologist today. Dermatology has been so good to me in so many ways, giving me a career in which I can take joy in helping people every day, while allowing me and my family to take full advantage of the opportunities available in our society. And I have poison ivy to thank (we cover toxicodendron dermatitis in this issue, too, on page 14)—had it not been for the horrific poison ivy I had as a child, I might never have considered a career in dermatology.
Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Editor
Dr Feldman is with the Center for Dermatology Research and the Departments of Dermatology, Pathology, and Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.