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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.

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

Applications open in late Summer and are due in the Fall.
Specific dates are TBD.

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.


They should be 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

Observership Grant

The SOCS Observership Grant awards up to $2,000 USD grants to dermatology residents, medical students (2nd-4th year), and junior faculty to enable study with a SOCS mentor identified by the applicant. Grants are intended for travel, room and board as needed to establish and facilitate the mentoring relationship. 


  • To empower young physicians and scientists to develop additional academic or research skills, thereby advancing their careers as future leaders in the field of dermatology specializing in skin of color.
  • Facilitate skill development and knowledge transfer between the mentor and mentee.
  • Provide a travel stipend to support a 1-4 week rotation.

Mentee - Grant Awardee


Mentor - Observership Host

  Mentor Institution

Luis Andrade, BSc

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Rebecca Vasquez, MD

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Emmanuella Asabor, MPhill

Yale University

Sotonye Imadojemu, MD, MBE

Harvard Medical School

Isaac Li-Chi Chen, MD, MPH

Lahey Hospital and Medical Center; Massachusetts General hospital

Crystal Aguh, MD

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Michaela Crawford, BS

Meharry Medical College

Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH, FAAD

Weill Cornell Medicine

Laura Bou Delgado, BA

Universidad Central del Caribe

Junko Takeshita, MD, PhD, MSCE

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Aliyah King, BA

University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

Monica Li, MD

University of British Columbia Department of Dermatology and Skin Science

Oluwadamilola Oke, BS

Tufts University School of Medicine / Brigham and Women's Hospital

Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH

Weill Cornell Medicine

Jiwon Park, BA

Long School of Medicine

Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Josephine Pyles, BS

Indiana University School of Medicine

Amy McMichael, MD

Wake Forest School of Medicine

Dominique Revan, BS

University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD

University of Miami Department of Dermatology

Sach Thakker, BS

Georgetown University School of Medicine

Jun Kang, MD

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Application Timeline:

Applications open in late Summer and are due in the Fall.
Specific dates are TBD.

Eligibility Criteria

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

  • Are either dermatology fellows, young dermatologists who have completed their residency within the last 4 years, or 2nd-4th year medical students.

  • Applicants must disclose if they are already participating in a paid fellowship at a specified location. Failure to disclose may impact application acceptance.

  • Applicants must demonstrate that the rotation they are applying for is unique to their existing research year. These cases will be reviewed by the Mentorship Committee on an individual basis.

  • Applicants must identify their observership mentor and location in the application form.

  • Returning Applicants: Each student is eligible to receive one grant within a four-year period.

Application Requirements

  • Completed application form

  • Budget outlining travel, lodging, food, and other expenses to be incurred (up to a maximum of $2,000USD)

  • Statement of purpose and connection to SOC dermatology (up to 1 page)

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Two letters of recommendation

    • A letter from the proposed mentor to include a statement of willingness to provide the time necessary for this mentorship, any significant and pertinent details of the planned mentorship, and a specific mention of whether the time frame and budget are appropriate for the proposed mentorship. Mentor must be a member of SOCS.

    • A letter from the residency program director, department chair or a faculty member attesting to the applicant’s character and potential to benefit from the mentorship.

  • Disclosure if currently participating in a research year or fellowship at the specified observership location. Failure to disclose may impact application acceptance.

Accepted applications:

  • Confirmation, including rotation dates, from both the student and the mentor is required for the disbursement of funds. Failure to disclose may impact application acceptance.

Participation in the program involves:

  • Providing a 6-month update to the SOCS Mentorship Committee upon request regarding the status of the observership.

  • Completing a short survey after the observership.

  • Submitting a one-page summary of the experience written by the mentee, accompanied by a photograph of the mentee and mentor together.

  • Observership must be completed between March of the year the grant is received and February of the following year.

This program is being supported by:



Mentee: Kelita Waterton
Mentor: Nayoung Lee, MD, FAAD
Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Grossman SOM

Mentee: Harry Liu, MD
Mentor: Michi Shinohara, MD, FAAD

University of Washington

Mentee: Kristin Tissera
Mentor: Nicole Gunasekera, MD, MBA, FAAD

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Mentee: Alicia Edwards, MS
Mentor: Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD

George Washington School of Medicine

Mentee: Alexander Bang, BS
Mentor: Bernice Kwong, MD, FAAD

Stanford University

Mentee: Christine Akoh, MD, PhD
Mentor: Seemal Desai, MD, FAAD

Innovative Dermatology

Mentee: Charissa Obeng-Nyarko, MS
Mentor: Brandi Kenner-Bell, MD, FAAD

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Mentee: Janeth Campbell, MS
Mentor: Cheryl Burgess, MD, FAAD

Center for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery

Mentee: Ogechi Ezemma
Mentor: Saakshi Khattri, MD

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Department of Dermatology

Mentee: Renee Haughton, MD
Mentor: Andrew Alexis, MD, MPH, FAAD

Weill Cornell Medicine

Mentee: Nia James
Mentor: Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD, FAAD

Howard University


I would like to thank SOCS to this opportunity to do an Observership in Skin of color at Howard University with Dr. Cheri Frey. November was a special month for me, full of experiences and better understanding of treatments for black patients. Knowing the reality of dermatology outside my country was enriching! I appreciate all the support and I hope to be able to  come back to the United States another time!

Learning is a blessing! 

Diversity in Clinical Research Mentoring Program

The Skin of Color Society, in conjunction with the NMA Dermatology Section, is proud to present the Diversity in Clinical Research (DiCR) Mentorship Program.

This mentorship program is intended to:

  • Develop the skills of the dermatology investigators of tomorrow

  • Offer support to the underrepresented minority (URM) investigators

  • Propel the career development of mentee

  • Provide an experience that mirrors conducting industry-sponsored research

  • Acquire the knowledge needed to run a successful and high-quality research program

DiCR Mentorship Program Overview

We believe a diverse research workforce is essential, as it builds trust for clinical research in underserved populations.

The DiCR Mentorship program will select 7-10 board-certified dermatologists (mentees) from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine with little or no clinical trials experience. They will receive a didactic online course (Phase I) an in-person 8 hour training (Phase II), and longitudinal mentorship experience (Phase III) .

Mentees will be required to successfully complete Phase I of the program in order to move onto subsequent phases.

Phase I: Online Course (NMA Dermatology Section): April 6-July 20, 2024

Mentees will participate in an 8-part online course (Foundations & Principles of Clinical Trials). These 2-hour sessions will run every Saturday from April 6th through July 20th.

Topics include:

  • Introduction Basic Clinical Research

  • Drug Development Process

  • FDA Code of Federal Regulations

  • International Council of Harmonization: Good Clinical Practices

  • Institutional Review Board/Independent Ethics Committee

  • Investigational New Drug Safety Reporting

  • Implementing Protocols and working with Clinical Research Associates

  • Dermatology Protocol Review

Phase II: In-Person Training/Meet Your Mentor: Friday, August 2, 2024 | New York, NY

After successful completion of Phase I course work, mentees will attend an 8-hour in-person training on August 2nd at the New York Hilton Midtown & Sheraton in New York, NY.

Travel stipend: SOCS will provide a travel stipend to cover airfare and 2 nights hotel accommodation, provided selected mentees submit their travel expenses. Mentees will be responsible for booking their own airfare and hotel for the in-person training. 

Phase III: Longitudinal Mentorship (Skin of Color Society): August-December 2025

Mentees will have the option to continue professional development through longitudinal mentorship until December 2025.
Mentors and mentees will have access to a 12-week curriculum as a reference guide/tool-kit.

Topics include:

  • Clinical Research Site Terminology and Basic Research Site Concepts

  • Finding Studies/Sponsor-Clinical Research Organizations (CRO)

  • Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement/Feasibility Questionnaire/Protocol Synopsis

  • Pre Study Site Selection Visit/ First Interaction with Study Monitor

  • Study Start Up Procedures, Clinical Trial Agreement/Study Budget

  • Site Initiation Visits (SIV)

  • Protocol Implementation and Execution at the Clinical Research Site

  • Study Vendor Details and Subject Recruitment

  • How to work with Study Monitor/ First Interim Monitoring Visit

  • Study Maintenance

  • Close Out Visits

  • Audits

Call for Applications

The Skin of Color Society, in conjunction with the NMA Dermatology Section, is seeking board-certified dermatologists (mentees) from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine with little or no clinical trials experience to participate in the DiCR Mentorship program.

Mentee Eligibility Criteria:

  • Participants must be existing members of NMA Derm Section or SOCS (in-progress applications will be considered)

  • Applicants are required to provide a letter from their institution confirming that one day per week or 25% of their time is allocated for protected research activities. For academicians, .2 FTE or 20% of their time must be protected.

  • Has limited clinical trials experience (<2-3 trials completed)

  • Must be interested in establishing or expanding their clinical research program

  • Must have completed GCP/CITI or equivalent training

  • Can have previous experience with NMA/NMF/other Clinical Research Certification program

  • Must be a board-certified or board-eligible dermatologist

Application: CLOSED