What are your goals for patient care?
I am committed to serving each of my patients by providing professional and personalised care, scientifically proven, holistic treatment and individually-tailored medical advice.
There are many medical or surgical specialties that you could have chosen to pursue after your medical degree, so why did you choose dermatology?
Unlike heart disease or diabetes, skin conditions are often ‘on display’ for the entire world to see and can adversely affect a person’s quality of life. Whether I am dispelling myths about cosmetically disfiguring conditions or diagnosing and treating skin cancer, dermatology allows me to make a tangible difference in the lives of my patients every day.
Also, the variety that dermatology offers is unique. I serve in private and public healthcare sectors, contribute to education, teaching and research and strike a balance of medical, surgical and cosmetic work. The variety and complexity makes for an interesting day at work.
Why are you particularly interested in treating pigment disorders and skin of colour?
I was born in Australia but have Anglo-Indian origins. Because of my cultural background and skin-type, I understand the many issues people with skin of colour (pigmented skin, dark skin, ethnic skin) have to deal with. Skin of colour is different. It requires a unique and considered approach with a detailed, medical understanding of how skin of colour is different to Caucasian skin.
During my post-graduate study, I realised that solutions for skin of colour and pigment disorders were limited in Australia and that new and exciting advances were being made in other parts of the world. So, I decided to travel to dermatology centres overseas that specialise in these areas with the aim of bringing innovative, safe and scientifically-proven treatments to Australian patients.
Do you treat patients with light skin types?
Absolutely. I completed my medical training here in Australia and have had extensive medical and dermatology experience here for over a decade. The vast majority of my patients over the years have been those with fair skin types. Skin checks and the early detection and management of skin cancer is the bulk of my everyday work and this is most commonly seen in light skin types. Rosacea, acne, eczema and psoriasis are also conditions I see and treat multiple times a day, and these conditions occur in all skin types. In addition, my interest in laser surgery means I treat freckles, sun spots, birthmarks and tattoos among other things which also occur in all skin types.
How does what you do in your daily work help the community as a whole?
I volunteer my time to share my knowledge by teaching medical students, mentoring young doctors and dermatologists and raising awareness of dermatological conditions amongst colleagues and the community. I am also involved in patient support group activities. By sharing my knowledge, I can bring about real change in the lives of patients, push the boundaries of therapeutics and inspire innovation for the greater good of all patients and our community.
I am also involved in local rural outreach dermatology services in Australia and am helping to develop dermatology services rural India with Sampan. This long-term project will provide on-the-ground education to local community healthcare workers and much needed facilities and dermatology services for the mountain people of North India.
What is in store for dermatology in the future?
I am sure that more groundbreaking scientific research will help us learn about conditions that are currently a mystery and when it comes to drugs, it won’t be long before we can look at a patient’s DNA and the condition they have and pick a treatment that is personally customised for them.
Healthcare apps, databases, telemedicine and electronic medical records will make today’s practice seem like the dark ages. Technology will streamline processes, give patients greater control over their healthcare and provide doctors with ways to diagnose and manage conditions using smartphones and tablet devices.
With such change there will be resistance, hurdles and shortfalls. With such challenges however, I see incredible opportunities to re-evaluate, reform and refine healthcare delivery.
Can you shed some light on the realm of natural and organic products for the skin?
My philosophy is to empower my patients with knowledge that will help them make the right choices for their skin type and health. I take an holistic, scientifically proven approach to skin health and make sure that my patients are only using products that have proven to be safe, effective and backed up by non-bias, robust scientific data and research.
As doctors, we don’t do enough to explain to our patients that all medications are rigorously researched, tested and monitored and have strict quality control measures in place for their development and distribution. Some prescribed medications for acne may be treated with vitamin A derived products while some used for pigmentation contain traces of a compound found in some food and drink we consume daily.
It is important to note that there are over-the-counter products out there that tick all the boxes and have proven to be effective in some cases(and I happily recommend them) but it is critical that patients build a relationship with a dermatologist they trust so they can get the facts from a medical expert.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
I really enjoy music and the arts because it brings people together and crosses cultural and linguistic boundaries. I also have a fascination with the tech world, data, design and innovation.