Scale 2109 Music City is going to be a fantastic multi-day event in May. Held in Nashville, the Tennessee Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (TSLMS) gathers together the top minds and practitioners for its annual meeting and conference. The talks, live demonstrations and exhibitors come together to help participants advance their knowledge in their field and explore new and emerging medicine and technology. When we invite speakers, our faculty, to participate in SCALE we only reach out the very best of the best. One of these is Matthew J. Zirwas, MD, who specializes in adult dermatitis. Dr. Zirwas has been to several prior SCALE conferences, both as a speaker and as a participant.
Dr. Zirwas was educated and trained at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and currently practices with Bexley Dermatology in Columbus, Ohio. Here, he is partners with his wife, Dr. Fitchel. His illustrious CV includes 18 years of experience treating some of the most difficult adult dermatological conditions. He is board certified in dermatology. He has been recognized for his medical contributions by Castle Connolly Regional Top Doctors, as well as The Patient Choice Awards and Compassionate Doctor Recognition for the last several years running. This is a doctor that we can all learn from and who has inspired and helped many patients and medical students. And beyond his own dermatology practice, he is affiliated with Adena Regional Medical Center where he sees patients regularly.
To help you get to know this fantastic doctor better, we asked him a few questions. Below are his answers.
Q: Is this your first SCALE conference? If not, how many years have you attended as a participant? As a speaker?
A: This is actually my third meeting and my second time as a SCALE speaker.
Q: What motivated you to go into your field?
A: I like the challenge of treating difficult things.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your work?
A: I really enjoy the learning that comes everyday with every new case and every new patient; and sharing that new information with my students and colleagues (and patients).
Q: Is there a particularly compelling success story that you can share with us?
A: Well there are too many to count. But, almost everyone goes like this: ‘Hi doc. So I’ve seen 8 dermatologists and allergists already, have had biopsies, bloodwork, patch testing and many different treatments, with absolutely no relief.” They are really frustrated. We get them better, which is what makes going to work every day worth it.
Q: What do you want the general public to know about what you do?
A: I wish that everyone out there knew that eczema can almost always be treated very effectively. Honestly it is more a problem with their skin than it is anything they are doing environmentally. Eczema patients need to worry much less about ‘chemicals’ in their environment or food, because that isn’t the driver of their disease. They need to work on treating the problem in their skin. Dermatologists can help. We are experts in skin and know it from the inside out.
Q: How do you relax, what are your hobbies?
A: So, I never stop working even when I am relaxing. I know how this sounds, trust me. But I am always reading about dermatology and psychology, which is what helps me be a better doctor.
Q: Looking back over the course of your career, what advice do you wish someone would have given you?
A: They did give it to me and I wish everyone got it because it is pure gold. What they explained is that if you are a dermatologist and you aren’t REALLY happy with your life, the problem is you.
Q: Is there a particular case you wish would walk through your door?
A: The ones that walk through it now. Honestly, I see so many different people for so many different issues that I cannot imagine something like that.
Q: As a doctor we know people are always asking your advice; what is the most bizarre question you ever received? What was your advice?
A: I had a patient ask me, “Are ladybugs causing my rash?” My answer was “Probably not, but let’s find out.” And it turned out that ladybugs WERE the cause! This is what I mean by learning constantly.
Q: When people come to the SCALE workshop or talk you are giving, what do you hope they take away from their time with you?
A: They will walk away from my talks knowing things they didn’t already know and those things will be immediately useful in their practice.
Q: Looking into the future of your practice, what do you predict will be the trends and technology that emerge in the next 5 to 10 years? What are you and your practice doing to get ready for those?
A: Our ability to treat dermatitis has improved exponentially in the last 2 years and will continue to get better and better.
Q: Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your practice?
A: That I LOVE talking about dermatology and I love debating anything – I’m happy to take either side in the debate!