SPOTLIGHT on Mitchel P. Goldman, MD


In dermatology, we are fortunate to have many of our profession’s innovators and great teachers still among us. This column was created so that we may gain insight from these practitioners and learn more about them. Some are bright stars in our special universe — others unsung heroes. All of these colleagues have much to share from wisdom to humor to insights into dermatology and life. Dr. Mitchel Goldman completed his medical school at Stanford University; internal medicine at the University of California, San Diego; and residency training in dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently Volunteer Clinical Professor of Dermatology at UCSD and Medical Director of La Jolla Spa MD and American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship Training Program at Dermatology/Cosmetic Laser Associates of La Jolla. Dr. Goldman is Founder and Past President of the American College of Phlebology and Past President of the San Diego Dermatological Society. He is also a past board member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Dr. Goldman is the author of more than 250 publications, more than 50 chapters, and author, co-author or editor of nine textbooks — three in second editions and one in its fourth edition, published in English, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean and Portuguese concerning dermatologic surgery, laser surgery and medicine, and phlebology. Q. What are you most proud of in your personal life? Professional life? A. Founding the field of Phlebology in the United States has given me the opportunity to work with many outstanding physicians and surgeons worldwide to bring their combined expertise to the United States. I also had the opportunity to develop many different fields of laser surgery including laser resurfacing, intense pulsed light with its many uses, photodynamic therapy and laser liposuction. Personally, I am proud of my two children, Risa and Melissa, who have become productive adults and are destined to accomplish many wonderful things. Finally, I’m proud that I am able to compete with cyclists 20 years younger in the San Francisco to San Diego CAF bike race. Q. What is your greatest regret? A. That our country is wasting our greatest talents and money making war instead of continuing the exploration of space, where innovations and scientific discoveries will enhance terrestrial life. Q. Which patient has had the most effect on your work, and why? A. A WWII veteran who developed numerous squamous cell carcinomas from radiation exposure obtained from digging core samples after atomic tests in the pacific. I fought the VA medical system to get him appropriate care, while a dermatology resident at UCLA, and helped him achieve his goal of attending his grandchild’s college graduation. The system does work when people care and one day we will be able to reverse the mistakes of the past. Q. What medical figure from history would you most like to have a drink with? Why? A. William Harvey. I would like to understand why and how he abandoned past teachings to fully describe circulation. Q. What do you think is the greatest political danger to the field of dermatology? A. I am concerned that many in our profession perceive cosmetic and surgical aspects of dermatology to be “outside” of our specialty. The advancement of our specialty into other fields will only contribute to the advance of medical dermatology. Laser surgery has advanced the treatment of skin cancer, psoriasis, hirsutism, vascular malformations, verruca and other conditions alone and through an interaction with photodynamic therapy. Lasers as well as surgical techniques have also advanced phlebology from merely injecting substances to sclerose veins to treating venous disease with a minimization of surgery and a decrease in adverse effects of treatment. Dr. Barankin is a dermatologist based in Toronto, Canada. He is author-editor of five books in dermatology, and is widely published in the dermatology and humanities literature. He is also co-editor of Dermanities (, an online journal devoted to the humanities as they relate to dermatology.