Highlights from Day 1 | Practical Symposium 2015

June 19, 2015



Thursday | June 18, 2016


Vail, Colorado – Sunny skies and summertime temperatures greeted the opening of the 2nd annual Practical Symposium. Founded by Clay J. Cockerell, M.D., the conference allows dermatologists, Mohs surgeons, pathologists, dermatopathologists, plus residents, fellows and physician extenders in these specialties, to learn from and interact with thought leaders in dermatology and dermatopathology.

Whereas medical meetings typically discourage use of cell phone cameras or other recording devices, "We don't do that," said Dr. Cockerell, a Dallas-based dermatologist and dermatopathologist and founder of Cockerell Dermatopathology. If you see something you like, he told attendees, feel free to share it with colleagues or online. For attendees' convenience, presenters provided their slides on a thumb drive supplied with the meeting's registration package.

Emulating symposia conducted by the late A. Bernard Ackerman, M.D., Dr. Cockerell said, "We want to emphasize clinicopathologic correlation. It's not all just dermatopathology, like some dermpath courses. And it's not all clinical dermatology. We tie them together."

Highlights from Thursday's sessions included the following:

  • The Secret to Dermatology: Clinicopathologic Correlation – "Clinicopathologic correlation is what makes us as dermatologists and dermatopathologists different" from physicians who dabble in dermatology, said Dr. Cockerell. "They're not able to look at things under the microscope and correlate them with what we see clinically."

  • Egads! Skin Blisters! – Dermatologic conditions have distinct stages, said Dr. Cockerell. "Depending on when you biopsy, things may look different."

  • Perplexing Persistent Pathologic Problems in Panniculitis – A key problem here: biopsies too shallow to capture the pathology.

  • When the Immune System Is the Enemy – Many autoimmune diseases, such as dermatomyositis and lupus, look similar under the microscope. To distinguish between them, said Dr. Cockerell, "You need the clinical correlation."

  • Outrageous Cutaneous Infections – This session covered everything from how best to perform Tzanck smears to how to recognize rare but potentially dangerous infections such as zygomycosis.

  • A Tribute to Sophie Spitz: Spitz Nevi, Spitzoid and Spitzian Entities – Dr. Cockerell addressed Spitz nevi in all their permutations – and how to avoid legal trouble from misdiagnoses.

  • Yikes! My Hair Is Falling Out! From Scalp to Cell – Neil S. Sadick, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology, Cornell University, hypothesized that much female hair loss stems from immune-driven inflammation, which may respond to topical steroids. He also shared his enthusiasm for treatments including topical and injectable cytokines, platelet-rich plasma and laser/light therapies.

  • Brand-New, Exciting Treatments for Skin and Nail Fungus – New topical agents for onychomycosis penetrate better than the lacquers, using shorter treatment courses, said Dr. Sadick, who combines them with oral agents and lasers such as the 1064 nm Nd:YAG.

The evening concluded with a sponsor-supported cocktail reception, featuring wine, hors d'oeuvres and collegial conversation.


The Practical Symposium will be held August 11-14, 2016 in Vail, CO.

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The Practical Symposium is a Cockerell Educational Foundation event.

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