Dallas – According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the specialty is expected to see a shortage ranging from 3,800 to 13,400 physicians in the coming decades.
Dr. Clay Cockerell, a double board-certified physician in dermatology and dermatopathology, serves as the program director for a new dermatology residency program in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Affiliated with The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) – ranked No. 1 among osteopathic schools nationwide for two consecutive years according to the U.S. News & World Report – the residency program was developed to address the nationwide physician shortage and help bridge the gap for patients in need of dermatological care.
The average wait time for patients seeking an appointment with a dermatologist increased from 24.3 days to 32.3 days between 2004 to 2017. Last year, the trend continued to increase with an average wait time of 34.5 days.
“The average wait time for patients is long, and while the dermatology specialty is growing rapidly, there are not enough residency programs to keep up with the current demand,” said Dr. Cockerell, founder and president of Cockerell Dermatopathology in Dallas. “We were presented with the opportunity to pursue this residency program to train more dermatologists, which is one of the hardest specialties to get into in all of medicine.”
After COVID-related delays, initial accreditation for the program was granted in April, after Dr. Cockerell spearheaded the application process. With the increasing popularity of the dermatology specialty among medical students, Dr. Cockerell had no problem attracting top candidates for the initial class.
The first three residents recently began training with Dr. Cockerell and other physicians in the dermatology field. A total of nine residents will be accepted into the program once fully implemented. The residents will receive classical training while being provided the opportunity to learn about surgery, pathology, pediatric dermatology, cosmetic dermatology and other sub-specialties of dermatology. They will see patients in clinic and also spend time in the lab at Cockerell Dermatopathology, where they will be trained to diagnose biopsy specimens, including ones they take from their own patients. After completion of the program, the residents will be board-eligible dermatologists.
“We want these residents to become high-quality dermatologists, have expertise in the field and graduate from our program with the skills needed to start their own practice,” Dr. Cockerell said. “We have a great group of dermatologists who are dedicated to teaching the next generation of physicians. With the help of our team, residents will have first-hand experience in a variety of dermatology specialties, as well as lessons in versatility of business and finances.”
About Dr. Clay J. Cockerell
Dr. Clay J. Cockerell is a world-renowned specialist in treating and diagnosing dermatologic disorders and has diagnosed over three million biopsies. An internationally recognized pioneer in his field, Dr. Cockerell has been practicing medicine since 1986 and is double board-certified in dermatology and dermatopathology. In addition to running his practice – Cockerell Dermatopathology – Dr. Cockerell also sees patients a few days per month to assist with resident training and keep his clinicopathological skills sharp. Dr. Cockerell has held numerous leadership positions within several highly regarded medical associations. Most notably, he served as the president, secretary and treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Dermatology, president of the Texas Dermatological Society and president of the Dallas Dermatological Society. For more information, visit www.dermpath.com.