The beginnings of the Department of Dermatology may be traced to a clinic for Skin and Venereal Disease founded in 1891 in the Outpatient Department of the Mount Sinai Hospital. In 1893, Dr. Sigismund Lustgarten was appointed to the inpatient side as the Consulting Dermatologist. In 1900, this appointment was changed to Attending Dermatologist, the equivalent of Chief of service.
With the death of Dr. Lustgartern in 1910, Dr. Herman Goldenberg became Attending. At this time, beds were assigned to the service. While Dr. Lustgarten had been the first to try salversan to treat syphilis, Dr. Goldenberg's eminence in the treatment of syphilis was recognized when he became the first to receive an allotment of the drug when it became available for general distribution. As noted later:
In the early part of the twentieth century the skin clinics of The Mount Sinai Hospital were outstanding for their large and interesting material. Dermatologists and other interested physicians from all parts of the country visited the clinics for weeks at a time to see the unusual cases and listen to the illuminating discussions carried on by Dr. Lustgarten, Dr. Goldenberg, and other members of the staff.
In 1929, Drs. Walter Highman and Isadore Rosen were named Attending Dermatologists. After Dr. Highman's death, Dr. Rosen continued alone. During these years, a dermato-pathology section was created. Syphilis continued as a major focus of research and treatment on the wards and in the clinics. In 1940, a major breakthrough was announced in an unusual press conference highlighting the discovery of the 5-day drip therapy for syphilis. Patients received 4 g. of neoarsphenamine in 5 days. This was devised by Drs. Louis Chargin, Harold T. Hyman, and William Leifer and radically cut the time and cost of treatment. However, this pioneering treatment was shortly eclipsed by the development of penicillin.
In 1946 Dr. Samuel Peck became Chief. A residency program was created and graduated its first doctor in 1948. Dr. Peck's interests included contact and industrial dermatoses, insect-bite reactions, melanin, and mycology. At Peck's retirement in 1971, Arthur Glick was named Acting Chairman. He authored papers on industrial dermatoses and expanded the dermatologic surgery clinic.
In 1975, Glick retired, and Harry Shatin became the first full-time Chairman of the Department. He emphasized the teaching of residents and providing excellent clinical service. He was himself a noted venerealogist. With the appointment in 1979 of Raul Fleischmajer as Chairman, the Department took on a more prominent interest in research. He was interested in research in collagen vascular disorders, scleroderma, and dyslipidoses. More full-time faculty joined the Department over the Fleischmajer years, and the Division of Dermatopathology was expanded.
The current Chairman is Mark Lebwohl. He has a special interest in the areas of psoriasis and skin cancer. The Department of Dermatology has continued to expand and now includes several divisions:
The Division of Dermatopathology is headed by Dr. Robert Phelps and includes Drs. Helen Shim-Chang and Miriam Birge.
In addition to rotating through Mount Sinai clinical settings (e.g., Faculty Practice Associates, Inpatient Service, the Center for Advanced Medicine, our outpatient clinics, and Mount Sinai Downtown clinic), residents in our program also rotate through our affiliate hospitals, which include Elmhurst Hospital Center, Queens Hospital Center, St. Barnabas Hospital, and Refuah Health Center.