UNTHSC resident demonstrates leadership in dermatology field

Bridget McIlwee UNTHSC

A dermatology resident at UNT Health Science Center’s Patient Care Center has attracted national attention as a leader in her field.

Bridget McIlwee, DO, was one of five other “Next Generation DOs” to be asked by the American Osteopathic Association to speak in Seattle at the world’s largest gathering of osteopathic physicians, the Osteopathic Medical Conference & Exposition.

She told the gathering that her personal experiences as a dermatology patient influenced her decision to pursue dermatology as a career. Also, she discussed why dermatology requires an osteopathic, holistic approach.

“There aren’t many other medical specialties in which the disease being treated is visible every day to the outside world,” Dr. McIlwee said in an interview. “Skin conditions can affect patients’ general health as well as their psychological well-being. We osteopathic dermatologists use our training in treating the whole person – whether through skin care, medical care or counseling and comforting – to provide a holistic treatment plan for our patients.”

During her fourth year at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. McIlwee became the only student member of the AOA Board of Trustees. Now, as a second-year resident at UNTHSC, she serves on the AOA’s Council of Interns and Residents.

She was recently chosen as the only resident to sit on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) newly formed Osteopathic Principles Committee, which will play a role in formulating how osteopathic principles are incorporated into new jointly accredited graduate medical education programs.

Dr. Bridget McIlwee offers five things to do to cope with a skin condition:

  1. Work with your dermatologist to develop a detailed treatment plan. Playing an active role is empowering. Use your office visits to learn all you can about your skin condition and understand you dermatologist’s decisions and recommendations.
  2. Talk to your doctor about how your skin condition makes you feel. He or she can counsel you and provide coping techniques. The dermatologist also may be able to help you look into cosmetic therapies, such as special cosmetics or laser surgery; prescribe medications to ease anxiety or depression caused by your skin condition; or refer you to a counselor or psychologist familiar with the challenges of your condition.
  3. Find a support group. It helps to talk to people who’ve had similar experiences. Resources: your health care provider; the Skin Cancer Foundation; UC Davis Department of Dermatology (listing of many national skin condition support groups).
  4. Use preventive care. Talk to your dermatologist about preventative techniques such as wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or greater daily, even if you don’t think you’ll be outside, and avoiding the sun when UV rays are strongest, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  5. Return to your dermatologist as scheduled. At regular follow-ups, your doctor can provide encouragement as well as address issues such as psychological consequences of your skin condition and side effects of any of your medicines.


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