How One Dermatologist Is Making a Difference with Indigenous Dermatology

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With a growing telehealth practice that spans across the country, Miami dermatologist Anna Chacon, MD is in the unique position of being able to treat her patients from anywhere in the nation and beyond. In addition to virtual visits that cover all aspects of dermatology, she also provides culturally sensitive, high-quality dermatologic care to indigenous patients in hard-to-reach areas of the country.

Serving the Underserved

“Indigenous dermatology involves more than just diagnosing and treating skin concerns,” she explains. “With these previously underserved communities, there must be a respect and understanding for their culture, as well as providing education and awareness of health care inequalities that have existed for a long time.” Indigenous dermatology focuses on the skin health of Indigenous people, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis populations and is rooted in traditional healing practices and knowledge passed down through generations.

Cultural Sensitivity

For Dr. Chacon, a large part of her job involves respecting the unique cultural practices and beliefs of the communities she treats, such as Arctic Slope Native Association, Lake County tribal health consortium, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. She is the first and only dermatologist to work and serve the Alaskan Bush, one of the most remote and rural areas.

Accessible Care

Although she is providing accessible care to the underserved, Dr. Chacon also aims to address health disparities that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. “Indigenous peoples are more likely to experience skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and skin infections due to factors such as poverty, overcrowding, and limited access to clean water,” she explains. “Part of our work is to address these underlying factors and works to provide culturally appropriate care to address these disparities,” she explains.

When Dr. Chacon is not traveling to remote areas, she practices teledermatology—she’s the only dermatologist with 52 medical licenses, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether treating private clients or entire communities made up of multiple generations, her passion remains improving overall skin health. “Everyone deserves to high-quality care and I’m most proud of the fact that I am licensed in 50 states and three U.S. territories and can see my patients anywhere,” she says.

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