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Melanie Palm, M.D.

Doctor’s practice is more than skin-deep

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Melanie Palm, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. She is also among a growing number of physicians across the country who sought an MBA.

Palm, 36, put her joint degrees to work in July 2012 when she started her private practice. Art of Skin MD offers comprehensive dermatology care, including medical and cosmetic procedures. The 2,400-square-foot facility in Solana Beach, designed to be chic yet inviting, includes 12 laser technology devices and four private treatment rooms.

Art of Skin MD staff members handle medical dermatological conditions such as skin cancer, melanoma, moles and acne, as well as cosmetic procedures including laser technology, injectables, liposuction and vein treatments.

“I’m able to combine a little bit of internal medicine, my surgical expertise and pathology skills, and put those all together for patients,” Palm said. “At the end of the day, it’s patient outcomes -- having happy patients -- that is what drives me.”

Palm also keeps up with innovation in the field, by serving as a physician trainer and consultant for several companies that specialize in laser, light and radiofrequency devices, including Lutronic Corp. and Lumenis.

She then brings the best of the new technologies to her practice. For example, she cited a new, noninvasive approach called Vanquish to eliminate unwanted fat along the abdomen and flanks. In about four weekly sessions using radiofrequency waves to painlessly kill unwanted fat cells, Vanquish can diminish a client’s waist size by 2 inches, Palm said.

Art of Skin MD is the first San Diego dermatology center to offer Vanquish to patients, and Palm is one of only three physicians in California to offer the procedure.

Business is doing well, and Palm plans to open an additional 1,000 square feet of space at the North County facility in July.

In addition to her full-time work at Art of Skin MD, she also serves as a volunteer clinical assistant professor at UC San Diego and is an affiliate staff member at Scripps Memorial Hospital, Encinitas. She maintains a busy schedule of lectures throughout the country and internationally.

Palm is also active in philanthropic work. A member of the Skin Cancer Foundation, she raises funds for the group and provides community skin cancer screenings through an annual event called SolSearch. Now in its fourth year, SolSearch will offer free cancer screenings April 26 at Art of Skin MD.

A fundraising party on May 1 will include live music, cocktails, food and a silent auction.

Last year SolSearch screened close to 100 people, and raised nearly $8,000 for the Skin Cancer Foundation. Palm said the event grows every year, and this year she has set the fundraising goal at $25,000.

For the past three years, Palm has also been involved with Angel Faces, an organization that supports adolescent females who have suffered traumatic burn injuries.

Palm has treated some of these young women pro bono.

“It’s so important to give back,” she said. “My practice is a blended practice, both general and cosmetic dermatology, but when you do a lot of cosmetics it’s easy to lose perspective on why you got into medicine. I love being able to maintain my roots in dermatology and provide community outreach at the same time.”

-Klam is a San Diego-based freelance writer.

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