Penn Dermatology

Penn Dermatology History and Mission

Penn Dermatology is one of the few dermatology departments in the country with dedicated dermatologic research laboratories and dermatopathologic facilities and one of the top programs in the country for advancing patient care through research and clinical trials.

Penn Dermatology Mission

The mission of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania is to serve as a leading intellectual center for understanding and treating all aspects of skin and its diseases through excellence in patient care, education and research.

Penn Dermatology History: First in the United States

The department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania is the nation's first dermatology department, founded by Dr. Louis Adolphus Duhring in 1874.

Dr. Duhring was a pioneer in dermatology. Known as "Philadelphia's first skin specialist," his vision for the Penn Dermatology department and legacy as a Penn benefactor were the impetus that allowed Penn Dermatology to develop and grow into its present world-renowned stature.

A Philadelphia native, Dr. Duhring received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1867 and interned at the Philadelphia Hospital. He studied in Vienna, Paris and London to further his scientific knowledge in the treatment of cutaneous diseases.

First Dermatology Clinic in Philadelphia

In 1871, Dr. Duhring opened The Philadelphia Dispensary for Skin Diseases to fulfill its mission of influencing the medical community and educating the public in understanding the importance of dermatology in the diagnosis of systemic disease. As a result of this effort, dermatology attained a prominent position among the other specialties of medicine.

In 1874, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania opened and Dr. Duhring was the first chief of dermatology. Dr. Duhring played a unique and significant part in the development of dermatology as a specialty. He furthered the understanding of dermatology through scientific exploration and discussion of skin diseases. In 1876, Dr. Duhring founded the American Dermatological Association and served as president twice. In 1897, Dr. Duhring was appointed professor at the University of Pennsylvania and is one of the earliest professors of skin disease in America.

The Legacy Continues Today

The University of Pennsylvania has produced more national and international professors of dermatology than any other American dermatology department. Penn Dermatology carries on Dr. Duhring’s great legacy of mentoring, training and producing outstanding scholars and clinicians contributing to the field of dermatology and dermatologic research.