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SOCS Mission: To promote awareness of and excellence within skin of color dermatology through research, education, mentorship and advocacy. We are committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in the field of dermatology to advance patient care.

MENTORSHIP: We value mentorship as a leadership development tool to foster a diverse workforce at all levels, developing and empowering future leaders in the field.

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Mentorship Program

The Mentorship Program is a comprehensive program that connects young physicians and medical students with an approved skin of color expert from SOCS. The Mentorship Program is now open to medical students. Residents can serve as both a mentor (to medical students) AND as a mentee (matched with a practicing dermatologist).

Application Timeline

Open: Thursday, August 1, 2024
Close: Friday, November 1, by 12:00 PM CT


This program is reserved for Skin of Color Society members and pending members with a complete membership application. Apply for membership here. Non-members should submit a complete membership application by Thursday, October 31 to meet eligibility requirements.

Mentor-Mentee Pairing

Eligible applicants are paired with an approved mentor either by their preference or through allocation by the SOCS Mentorship Committee. Due to high demand for the program, not all mentee applications will be matched with a mentor. Group mentorship opportunities may become available during the program year for those who apply.

Mentor-Mentee Benefits

  • Build positive working relationships
  • Acquire and share new knowledge and skills in skin of color
  • Collaborate in research opportunities in skin of color
  • Enjoy networking opportunities with other skin of color experts
  • Share mentorship experience with the SOCS membership and dermatology community

Please review the eligibility criteria before submitting your applications.

Ready to take the next step? Here's how to get involved:

  • Ensure you're a member or in the process of becoming one of the Skin of Color Society (SOCS). You must have active membership or a pending application to be eligible.
  • Complete the Mentorship application form, including all necessary documents.

Who is eligible to be a Mentee?

Individuals who maintain active membership in SOCS with up-to-date dues payment.


Are either medical students, dermatology residents, or fellows/young dermatologists who have completed their residency within the last three years.

Who is eligible to be a Mentor?

Individuals who maintain active membership in SOCS with up-to-date dues payment.


Are either practicing dermatologists or dermatology residents.

Note: Residents have the opportunity to serve as both mentors (to medical students) and mentees (matched with practicing dermatologists).


Participating in the Skin of Color Society mentorship program has been an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience for me both personally and professionally. It has provided me with a unique opportunity to gain exposure to a diverse range of perspectives and experiences within the dermatology field, while also allowing me to forge meaningful connections with respected professionals in the field.

One such connection is with Dr. Seemal Desai, who has been my mentor throughout the program. As a leading expert in skin of color, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been paired with him. Since our first meeting, Dr. Desai has been an unwavering source of guidance, support, and encouragement, providing me with invaluable insights into a variety of topics relevant to my career aspirations. Throughout my research fellowship year, he has consistently made time in his busy schedule to meet with me and answer my questions. His willingness to share his knowledge and expertise has been a tremendous asset, helping me grow and develop professionally.

I am truly grateful for Dr. Desai’s constant support and mentorship, and I look forward to continuing to learn from him. The mentorship program has been an instrumental part of my journey towards achieving my goals, and I am confident that the skills and knowledge I have gained through this program will have a lasting impact on my professional development.


Thanks to the Skin of Color Society Mentorship Program, my time with Dr. Kenner-Bell has been enriching, educationally and professionally. She was attune to many of the same challenges that I experienced navigating the healthcare field as not only a minority but also a woman. Through our many zoom sessions, she shared with me her journey into dermatology and the obstacles she had to overcome. Additionally, as a practicing pediatric-dermatologist, wife, and mother she revealed to me the realities of fulfilling these roles and how to strive for the best work-life balance. Dr. Kenner-Bell is a natural mentor; She spent time reviewing my CV with me, sharing dermatological research opportunities, and discussing ways to enhance my application. She also became my biggest cheerleader and confidant, supporting and encouraging me on my journey and always lending an open ear during times of doubt. Dr. Kenner-Bell has served as real-life confirmation that my dreams of becoming a dermatologist are valid and attainable and has given me the self-efficacy and confidence to relentlessly pursue the field of dermatology.

Realization of my goal necessitates professional mentorship, opportunities to conduct clinical research, and a thorough understanding of the field of dermatology. Upon completion of the mentorship program, I have created a personal and professional relationship with my mentor, become knowledgeable on the principles of career and professional development in the dermatology field, and found opportunities to connect with diverse dermatologists that specialize in skin of color. Additionally, I have gained insight on the dermatology application process, and becoming a multi-faceted, well-rounded dermatology applicant. Through the opportunities afforded by the Skin of Color Society, I look forward to joining a network of passionate physicians dedicated to improving the dermatological disorders that plague skin of color.

Deciding to pursue dermatology as a Black female is a journey on an untrodden trail. The paucity of role models, representation, and resources to support Black students interested in dermatology is stark. Finding opportunities like the Skin of Color Society Mentorship program is crucial for me in my pursuit of matching into a dermatology residency program and achieving my goal of becoming a practicing dermatologist and minority health clinical researcher. 

I understand not having a seat at the table. As a future dermatologist, I’m determined to pay it forward and create more seats for those behind me, providing my mentorship and expertise to the next generation of dermatologists so that they can realize their dreams just as I have.

Ashley Obi, MD
2021 SOCS Mentorship Program Summary