Medical Student Rotation - Dermatology Externship (1201)

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Medical Student Rotation - Dermatology Externship (1201)

The goal of the Department of Dermatology is to provide medical students with an outstanding dermatologic experience. This includes ensuring that they attain a basic knowledge of skin disease that will enable them to practice medicine and that will facilitate the passing of dermatologic questions on national accreditation examinations.

The goals of the rotation will be accomplished by:

  • hands-on clinical evaluation of patients with skin disease under the close supervision of dermatology faculty and residents
  • academic small group lectures specific for the medical student
  • required textbook review
  • written and visual examination

The department provides counseling to any medical student who is interested in pursuing a career in dermatology. Such students should notify Dr. Greer, Rotation Supervisor, on the initial day of the rotation.


The student will be able to:

  1. obtain a history from patients pertinent to their presenting skin disease
  2. adequately perform physical examination of the skin, hair, nails and mucosal surfaces as well as describe any disease using dermatologic terminology
  3. correlate history and physical findings, present a differential diagnosis and formulate diagnostic and/or treatment plans
  4. perform diagnostic skin tests (i.e. shave biopsy, punch biopsy) and perform appropriate suture closures as indicated
  5. perform and analyze office laboratory procedures used in diagnosing skin disorders including: potassium hydroxide preps, cytodiagnostic preps, ectoparasite preps, hair mounts, patch tests and wood's lamp examination


Students must attend all resident and medical student lectures, and must pass the end of rotation examination (65% or higher) in order to successfully complete the rotation.

Students must give a brief 10 minute verbal/visual presentation on an assigned topic.


Rotation Supervisor:
Kenneth E. Greer, M.D., Professor of Dermatology
434-924-5115, Fax 434-924-5936
PO Box 800718

Rotation Duration: 4 weeks

Time to Report: 8:00 AM first Monday of assigned rotation

Place to Report: Dermatology Clinic Conference Room, 3rd Floor, Primary Care Center

Number of Students per Rotation: 4

Arranged Rotation: Only periods 1 and 2. These are for students interested in a career in dermatology. If not filled by lottery deadline, it will be opened for all students through the lottery.

Rotation is available on a space availability basis only.

Visiting students:

Clinic Requirements

  1. All medical students are expected to report to the clinic conference room each morning from 8:00 to 9:00 AM Monday through Friday, except for Wednesday, for the morning dermatology resident lecture. The small group medical student dermatology lectures will be given in the clinic conference room by a faculty member periodically throughout the rotation.
  2. All medical students will be assigned to a Dermatology attending or Dermatology resident daily for clinic, Monday through Friday, morning and afternoon. Clinic begins at 9:00 AM each morning and at 1:00 PM each afternoon. Promptness is mandatory. All students will actively participate in patient care under the direction and supervision of the physician they are assigned to. The medical student bulletin board will have the assignments for each student. The dermatology residents will be in charge of assignments; any scheduling problems should be addressed to them.
  3. Clinic duty ends at the conclusion of the final patient appointment. Attendings or residents may, however, release students earlier depending on circumstances.
  4. There are no call requirements for rotating medical students.
  5. All rotating medical students will use Universal precautions when working within the Dermatology department.

Educational Curriculum

Rotating students are required to read after clinic hours. "Skin Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment" by Thomas P. Habif is the selected textbook for review, and a copy is provided for the duration of the rotation. The end of rotation examination is taken directly from the chapters and small group lectures. Students may access the larger parent textbook by Dr. Habif (Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy) on the Internet through MDConsults at the Library web site. ( Interested students may purchase the textbook (also in a CD format); it will be an excellent reference textbook for future, but purchase is not mandatory.

Rotating students have once weekly small group lectures every Monday given by a Dermatology faculty member, subject to change. Topics include: Introduction to Skin and Papulosquamous Disorders, Cutaneous Infections, Cutaneous Tumors, and Skin Signs of Internal Disease and Hair/Nail Disorders.

Also available are educational CDs on nail disorders, acne and other follicular disorders, blistering disorders of the skin, and general dermatology for use in the clinic library computer.


The dermatology residents will assign a single dermatologic disease topic that the medical student will prepare a maximum 10 minute oral presentation on, if the student does not have a topic of interest. This will be during resident lecture time on the last week of the rotation. The format to be followed is:

  1. Epidemiology and Etiology
  2. Clinical Manifestations
  3. Treatment
  4. Prognosis


Presentations may include clinical photographs. Students may access the department's vast Kodachrome collection and use the department's audiovisual equipment for Powerpoint presentations.


On the final day of the rotation, the student will take a 25 question written exam and a 20 question 35mm Kodachrome slide identification exam. An overall score of 65% must be obtained for a passing grade. The exam will be based on the textbook by Thomas Habif and lectures.


The University of Virginia School of Medicine elective evaluation form will be completed by the rotation supervisor at the completion of the 4-week time period. Students are evaluated based on performance in clinic, interaction with patients and staff, the oral presentation, and examination scores.

To receive their evaluation, students must complete evaluations at the end of the rotation to help us better serve the medical student community.


Any rotating medical student who has a complaint or a problem that develops during the rotation is encouraged to see the rotation supervisor.