1. Department of Dermatology
guttman headshot

Message From the Chair

As a top dermatology program on a global scale, the Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology is responsible for the development of several of the safer, more effective therapies in eczema, psoriasis, alopecia areata, vitiligo, skin cancer, and other dermatologic diseases. Our physicians are world leaders in psoriasis, eczema, alopecia areata, psoriatic arthritis, and other indications.

Discoveries in our laboratories are now transforming treatments for inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema, alopecia areata, and other hair loss disorders, including scarring alopecia, as well as other skin diseases such as keloids, ichthyosis, and skin cancers. We are spearheading therapeutic innovation and discovery, with advances in the laboratory being translated into new treatments that are currently being tested in patients. We offer patients all approved treatments, but also many novel treatments in early and late-stage clinical trials, many of which may only be available at our Department.

We have the largest eczema center in the country, leveraging exciting new research originating in my laboratory, and novel treatments, as well as state-of-the-art patch-tests by experts (including myself) in patch-testing. We have one of the most advanced clinical trials units in the country, with many new treatments being offered for patients with inflammatory skin diseases (e.g. eczema, psoriasis, alopecia areata, and vitiligo) and autoimmune skin diseases (e.g. scleroderma), as well as skin cancers.

Our Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center offers unique body imaging capabilities to fully capture skin cancers and deliver the best care for our patients with pigmented skin lesions and skin cancers. Through novel diagnostic approaches, many of which are uniquely positioned at our Center, and complementary research, we focus on early identification and treatment of skin cancers, including in high-risk individuals (such as transplant patients). We have several leading physicians focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers, and we offer skin cancer surgeries by several Mohs surgeons with superb track records in procedures for all skin cancers (including melanomas), as well as serving as a referral center for the entire tri-state area. This provides a complete experience under one roof for our patients.

In 2022, we opened the Alopecia Center of Excellence, which offers the most advanced treatments available. As the first of its kind, this centralized center integrates compassionate patient care, research, and transformative new treatments for alopecia. Our team has developed some of the safest, most effective therapies for the disease. For instance, we discovered the role of the type 2 lymphocytes in alopecia areata, which has opened new avenues for research and treatment.  We participate in multiple clinical trials, which gives our patients access to new therapies not available anywhere else.

We have also initiated a connective tissue disease center, offering state-of-the-art treatments to patients with scleroderma, dermatomyositis, and lupus, as well as granulomatous disorders (such as sarcoidosis and granuloma annulare). This center uniquely features double-boarded dermatologists in rheumatology and dermatology. 

We additionally provide state-of-the-art cosmetic dermatology (including injections and lasers for all skin types) by leading, experienced physicians, elected year after year to Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors in the United States rankings. We also have the first Skin of Color Center in the world, offering unique medical and cosmetic treatments to patients of color, and also provides clinical trials specifically targeting this patient population.

And we’re just getting started. For as long as patients continue to experience dermatologic conditions, we will continue to push the boundaries of performing the research and providing clinical care to understand the origins, mechanisms, and progression of disease, and to design better and safer treatments, while training tomorrow’s specialists.

Our Department’s efforts spearheaded the understanding that eczema (atopic dermatitis) is an immune driven disease, directly contributing to the monoclonal antibody and systemic treatments that are approved or under development for atopic dermatitis. We are now also opening new avenues for research and treatment in alopecia areata, a disease in which we discovered the key role of Th2 axis, followed by new therapeutic development for alopecia areata. We have also identified therapeutic targets for cicatricial alopecias and for keloids and are initiating large clinical trials that will only be offered at our Department. The Department has also led the nation in clinical research and development of nearly all biologic therapies for psoriasis. Our Department was also the first to introduce many off-label uses of medications, such as TNF blockers, for the treatment of rare diseases such as pyoderma gangrenosum (a debilitating skin disease), and granuloma annulare, as was the use of oral phosphodiesterase inhibitors for the treatment of vitiligo.

As you may know, our research has applications far beyond dermatology. We are emerging among the world’s leaders in studying the effects of COVID-19 on inflammatory skin diseases (such as eczema, psoriasis, and alopecia areata), as well as the effects of treatments for inflammatory skin diseases on our patients.

In terms of training, our Department has the largest residency program in the country, with residents who score in the top 5th-10th percentile. We also run one of the first fellowships in procedural dermatology, as well as one of the nation's most productive dermatopathology divisions, receiving referrals from the entire New York and New Jersey area. Our faculty are responsible for critical articles in dermatology, (including in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Nature Immunology) and are quoted internationally, with multiple clinical and research fellows from around the globe seeking out Mount Sinai for training in dermatology and dermatology research. We also oversee fellowships for medical students in clinical and translational research in dermatology and MD fellows in clinical trials. Recently we received a prestigious T32 Grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which will expand our research training program into a hotbed for future leaders in skin biology.

As Chair of this distinguished Department, I am committed to leveraging and expanding upon the strong clinical and research foundation to lead our team to ever greater heights.

I am proud to say my team and I have made a transformational difference in the lives of many patients—and we are poised to help many more with a myriad of skin diseases. We are also seeking to bring scientific innovation to the study of skin aging and to understand mechanisms that can enable us to attenuate and slow down aging processes. As I look to the future of the Department, my priority remains to bridge top-notch clinical care with science to find new treatments that will materially improve patients’ lives.

To support these efforts, I draw on my deep experience as a physician-scientist, using a bench-to-bedside-and-back approach to seek novel pathway-specific drugs for the treatment of skin diseases. I also draw on my personal childhood struggles with eczema, which inspired my early interest in dermatology and to this day keep my ultimate focus on the needs of the patient. In 2011, I joined Mount Sinai with the mission of pursuing novel treatments to improve quality of life, and hopefully one day offer a cure for those living with skin diseases.

My team and I are always proud to promote equality and diversity among our trainees and faculty, which are vitally important to me, not only as the first female Dermatology Chair in New York, but also as an immigrant. 

As a committed team of scientists, physicians, educators, and mentors, our Department of Dermatology is tirelessly driving science to find new clinical capabilities for the benefit of patients and their families.

Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD
The Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology
The Waldman Professor and System Chair
Director, Center of Excellence in Eczema
Director, Laboratory of Inflammatory Skin Diseases