Interview with Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Director of Center for Eczema and Itch
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
In this episode of Under Your Skin, host Dr Nicholas Brownstone chats with Dr Raj Chovatiya about a tip for improving efficacy in your practice, advice for residents on their first day, and exciting innovations in dermatology.
What’s one change you’ve made in your practice in the last 5 years that had the biggest effect on your efficacy?
Dr Chovatiya remarks that he loves balancing clinical work and research but faces a dilemma of how to combine the 2 while using all hours of his day efficiently.
He advises that dermatologists should find a way to make clinic work for them. If there are research questions they’re interested in, they should find a way to relate it to their patients and work those efforts into their clinical time.
For Dr Chovatiya, he builds efforts to understand the burden of inflammatory skin disease and issues facing patients with skin of color into each of his encounters, which saves him time and makes him feel as if he is combining 2 things he loves on a day-to-day basis.
If you could go back in time to your first day of residency, what advice would you give yourself? Dr Chovatiya advises residents that they never know which direction their future careers may take, so they should be open to exploring opportunities they may not otherwise think about.
He reflects on aspects of his career he’s been involved with relating to clinical interest, partners in industry, and research work, and notes that he wouldn’t have been able to predict some of the direction his career has taken. He advises that remaining open to serendipitous opportunities can lead to surprising results.
Which innovation in dermatology are you most excited about?
Dr Chovatiya is enthusiastic that topical medications are becoming important again. As someone who does a lot of work with inflammatory disease, including psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and eczema, he notes that while there have been huge developments in systemic and biologic therapies, dermatologists have still been using the same topicals that have been in use for many years.
He comments on promising new investments in the last several years in mechanisms of action, vehicles, and issues relating to patient adherence with topicals.
He notes that this is exciting because topical treatments are the mainstay of dermatologists; many patients have conditions in the mild-to-moderate range where topicals are the right choice. He hopes to see that investment in topical therapies continue to grow over the next decade.