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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-5  

Scholarships, grants, and training opportunities for dermatology residents in India by Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists

President, IADVL, Bengaluru, India

Date of Web Publication18-Jan-2016

Correspondence Address:
Venkataram Mysore
President, IADVL, Bengaluru
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.174321

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How to cite this article:
Mysore V. Scholarships, grants, and training opportunities for dermatology residents in India by Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists. Indian Dermatol Online J 2016;7:3-5

How to cite this URL:
Mysore V. Scholarships, grants, and training opportunities for dermatology residents in India by Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Dec 6];7:3-5. Available from: https://www.idoj.in/text.asp?2016/7/1/3/174321

Education is not just learning of facts - but the training of the mind to think.

-Albert Einstein

Dermatology as a discipline is rapidly evolving and has evolved from “sit and treat” or “armchair” dermatology to interventional dermatology; from clinical dermatology to complex derma sciences. This has also coincided with globalization and internet explosion, with challenges in the practice of dermatology. Learning dermatology has, therefore, become far more complex and multifaceted. Continuous and varied learning have become the necessities. This is particularly important when there is a rapid transition from previous older methods of diagnosing and managing skin disorders to present era of advances in the understanding of molecular/genetic basis of various dermatoses, diagnostic methods, and treatment modalities such as biologics, novel immunosuppressives, gene therapy, dermatosurgery techniques, and lasers.[1] Residency programs are the time for the beginning of learning - the time when a young doctor gets exposed to the glory of dermatology in all its facets and images. This is the time they are mentored at the hands of a teacher. However, opportunities and facilities for learning are not uniform and vary greatly from center to center across India. This leads to varying standards in teaching and learning. Furthermore, with the advancement of technology and research, older methods of teaching are not just enough, and there comes the need to learn from different sources. Hence, there is a great demand to make available opportunities for residents to learn regardless of the facilities in their respective colleges so that they can face the challenges and impart the best possible care to their patients.

Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL)[2] has recognized these needs and instituted some programs to facilitate the learning process. This article seeks to give an overview of these programs and efforts on behalf of IADVL to be responsive to the needs of residents and also discuss the challenges in the delivery of such programs. Scholarships, fellowships, observerships, mentorships, workshops, online education, and research grants are all different tools to make IADVL responsive to such changing needs.

  • Scholarships: These are very important ways of providing financial help for a resident to seek learning opportunities. Hitherto, IADVL had only American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) scholarships in association with AAD. Selection for which is generally done in July every year and the awardees get an opportunity to attend AAD annual meeting to present their scientific work. This year in 2015, this scenario changed, and IADVL started an all year scholarship program with a budget of 20 lakhs INR. Scholarships were announced for four international meetings - World Congress of Dermatology (WCD), European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV), South Asian Regional Conference of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (SARCD), symposium of International Society of Dermatopathology (ISDP), and our own Annual National Conference DERMACON. Objective criteria were laid down for selection which included mandatory registration for the congress, acceptance of an oral paper or poster, nonavailability of grant from other sources, etc. Members were reached through bulk SMS and E-mails and also informed in the IADVL e-groups and notices on IADVL website.[3] While there was an enthusiastic response to the WCD scholarships, SARCD, EADV congresses, and DERMACON, there was a poor response to ISDP symposium. This indeed was disappointing as dermatopathology is the foundation for learning dermatology. The other observation has been that students from certain institutions are at an advantage as they are more aware, possess a greater curriculum vitae (CV) simply because of the nature of the training programs and available facilities
  • Grants: IADVL has had different types of research grants; IADVL-SUN Pharma, IADVL-Galderma, IADVL- L'Oreal, and IADVL-Special Interest Group (SIG) grants - amounting to about 64 lakhs INR. The subjects covered include all major fields of dermatology including venereology, leprosy, and trichology. The assessment is very objective, and criteria include the relevance of subject, feasibility, methodology, and ethical clearance. Here too, the outcome has been mixed. Observations are that certain centers repeatedly apply and are more adept and at an advantage in obtaining such grants – others do not yet know the art and science of conducting studies and hence do not submit appropriately. There was a great variation in the types of applications and some centers needed guidance on how to submit grants. The SIG of clinical trials had to be involved in guiding these applicants to prevent summary rejection
  • Fellowships and observerships: One-month training in different areas such as dermatopathology, lasers, surgery, phototherapy, vitiligo surgery, and trichology are available through IADVL. In 2015, IADVL increased the number of centers (which included private centers, and not just Govt. Medical Colleges) as well as the number of such training programs. The expectations of the resident applying for these programs were high often expecting hands-on training in such a short duration. Certain centers wished to charge a fee and others objected to the use of the term fellowship as those centers had longer 1 year fellowship, hence the training is now termed observership. More residents should apply to get benefit of these excellent learning observership programs
  • Online education: Access to internet and technology has meant great opportunity for universalizing education. This has deeper and faster penetration to the masses than the print media. IADVL initiated a presidential lecture series called DERMAGYAN - lectures by senior reputed teachers, which are webcast and residents can watch them anywhere anytime. These included lectures on clinical dermatology, dermatopathology, and trichology. There were also online webinars on psoriasis and vitiligo in the year 2015. Until January 2016, 16 such lectures have been webcasted and the details are available on our official website www.iadvl.org.[2] Dermatosurgery workshops which were also webcasted meant a bonanza of learning, available and accessible to all and were greatly appreciated
  • Mentorship program: IADVL General Secretary initiated the residents program and mentorship program (2014–2015), a forum where residents can interact, learn from each other and under mentors. They also have a resident IADVL group in Facebook and an E-bulletin called Resi-DREAM to facilitate exchanges of various scientific information. This is a group which hopefully progress further and mature into a broad-based program to benefit all residents
  • Learning through App: IADVL started an App for its members called DERMAPP - while still in its infancy, this is a tool which can be used increasingly to make available various resources to all residents within a short span of time. The App is available in both android and iOS platform and makes learning easy on the go. This App also includes latest tools such as surveys and videos. In the coming years, this technology will be increasingly be used for education of residents
  • Research methodology workshops: Another great step initiated by IADVL in recent past was the research methodology workshops which sought to teach how to conduct research. Eight such workshops have been held in all parts of India in 2014–2015. These workshops have trained a large number of dermatologists, and it is hoped that these will further train younger doctors in study designs and basic statistics
  • Workshops: IADVL organized nearly 30 workshops all over India during 2015 in different fields such as lasers, dermatosurgery, esthetics, dermatopathology, genodermatoses, drug reactions, and leprosy. These were done at minimal registrations or without registrations and served to help residents and members to get exposure in these fields. Importantly, these meetings were not limited to metros, but held in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, facilitating creation of awareness and spread of knowledge
  • Newsletter: A number of E-newsletters in addition to our journals provided learning opportunities. These were published by different SIGs and the academy called DERMAACADEMIA. These dealt with topics of relevance and importance to all dermatologists
  • Another important effort of IADVL was in the direction of influencing statutory, regulatory bodies such as Medical Council of India (MCI) and National Board of Examinations in matters of relevance to dermatology education. Our efforts bore initial fruit as in response to our demand to initiate postdoctoral certificate courses, MCI instituted a taskforce to suggest syllabus, and curriculum to initiate a fellowship in dermatosurgery of which the author is a member. National Board of Examination (DNB) also responded positively, and it is hoped that very soon we will have 1 year fellowships in different subspecialties such as dermatosurgery, aesthetic dermatology, dermatopathology, trichology, and pediatric dermatology.

Challenges on the way: Making these resources available is one aspect making them accessible and applicable to all is entirely another challenge. Several challenges did arise in the administration of these tools;

  • How to make them objective and avoid bias in selection?
  • How to universalize them? How to reach all residents?
  • How to help students from remote and smaller institutions who are at a disadvantage?
  • How to make subjects such as dermatopathology get the attention that they deserve?
  • How to enhance quality of research projects submissions?

These are questions that we continue to seek answers. Our IADVL Academy [3] consisting of erudite dermatology colleagues have worked continuously to improve our existing systems and processes so that best results are achieved.

Learning has to be persistent and continuous - a saw has to be sawn regularly. Moreover, as Nourma Fauziyah said, “Learning how to learn is one of the most important skills in life.”

Together lets work for a brighter tomorrow for IADVL.

   References Top

Dogra S, Kanwar AJ. Dermatology at a turning point: Need to preserve medical dermatology. Indian J Dermatol 2003;48:121-2.  Back to cited text no. 1
  Medknow Journal  
Available from: http://www.iadvl.org. [Last accessed on 2015 Dec 25].  Back to cited text no. 2
Available from: http://www.iadvl.org/beta/about-iadvl-academy-of-dermatology. [Last accessed on 2015 Dec 25].  Back to cited text no. 3

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[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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