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Gearing Up For SCALE 2023 With Co-Director, Michael Gold, MD

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Dermatology professionals from across the country are meeting together again, this time for the 18th Annual Music City Symposium for Cosmetic Advances & Laser Education (SCALE) conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from May 17th to May 20th. SCALE is one of the largest meetings of the year, featuring content for aesthetic providers, medical and cosmetic dermatologists, plastic surgeons, practice administrators, and anyone else interested in furthering their education and techniques.

Michael Gold, MD, co-director of the 2023 SCALE meeting, the founder of Gold Skin Care Center and Tennesse Clinical Research Center, and an assistant clinical professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, recently spoke with Dermatology Times® to preview what attendees can expect from SCALE 2023 and some of the popular medical and cosmetic topics to look forward to.

Dermatology Times: Can you provide an overview of the upcoming SCALE meeting and what attendees can look forward to?

Gold: SCALE is in its 18th year, and it has become one of the most recognized meetings in the United States, and even globally. And what we want to bring to the table is showcasing what’s out there by the best of the best faculty in the business. We have aesthetic and cosmetic dermatology, medical dermatology, as well as plastic surgery. We have some of the best faculty, and we don’t want it to be the same lectures that you can get anywhere. We want people to bring new ideas and new concepts to the table, while still being very science-based. We’ve spent time making sure that we’re not talking about topics that don’t have relevance in everyday practice. We want to know what’s the latest FDA-approved treatment for a specific disease state and how do we get there, on both the aesthetic side and on the medical dermatology side as well. 

We have over 90 faculty members. When talking about SCALE, I always tell attendees that our faculty is available. They’re not going to hide and run. Additionally, Nashville is appealing; we hope people will enjoy coming to this city that has exploded in popularity. We will have about 140 to 150 exhibitors, as well as receptions with those exhibitors and the best music. We have somebody who’s going to be singing all of Johnny Cash’s music one evening, as well as another fantastic country music band. SCALE is meant to be family-oriented, but still scientific. We are all about teaching and educating. And that’s what makes SCALE so special.

Dermatology Times: What can attendees expect regarding medical and cosmetic dermatology topics at SCALE? 

Gold: The medical dermatology component of SCALE has grown dramatically as our understanding of medical dermatology diseases has grown. And, again, the faculty that we have are the researchers. These are the people that do the work and understand the diseases. At the end of the day, we want the attendees to know what the newest treatments are, what the newest therapies are, how to use them, and what to look out for. We also have several sessions where we’re going to do live treatments with injectables and devices and show how to use skincare after the devices. A lot of these are new; you’re not going to see the same thing that you might see somewhere else. Especially in the live demo, I’m probably showing 4 or 5 new things that people have never seen before, which is exciting. It makes us discuss how do these [technologies] fit into our space and what does that mean for everybody? I think that’s important. We’ll talk about some of the newest FDA-cleared devices, new injectables and how to use them properly, and how we combine techniques. 

We also have 2 programs on Wednesday, May 17th, one is an anatomy course run by Dr. Brian Biesman, who’s my co-chair, and Sebastian Cotofana, an amazing anatomist and teacher. We have introduced a group from Europe called CutaneoUS, which is probably the world’s leader in ultrasound teaching with injectables. So again, we look for the best [faculty] anywhere. We’ve used this group before and we have them coming again to do an all-day anatomy course, which I think is great for those that are into the injectable world. Also on Wednesday, we have something called Lasers 101, which has always been one of my favorite teaching courses. A gentleman named Pat Clark, who has been in the laser business for as long as I have, can explain [lasers] in a way that everybody can understand. He can take the complicated physics and make it understandable, and I think that’s great for our attendees. 

We’ve built into the program other panels and discussions from the social media world with some experts from the practice management teams. Wendy Lewis is going to have a panel with 6 or 7 of the executives from industry, CEOs, and chief medical officers of the different companies to explore how the world of aesthetics is actually moving and what’s trending. Leslie Tracy from Boston will also be speaking about the aesthetics market. We have a company called RepeatMD that’s going to show how you can do memberships in a way that actually works. So again, different panels are set up that hopefully interest everybody; there’s something for everybody.

Also on the medical dermatology side, we have a panel that I put together this year on exosomes, which seems to be the hottest topic. It’s run by Glynis Ablon and Jane Yoo, 2 dermatologists that are very into exosomes. We have a panel that includes 7 or 8 companies, either their chief science officer or the head of the company, to talk about their exosomes and how they are moving the science to the rest of us. That’s different than somebody just talking about their raw exosomes; we want to know what’s behind everybody’s compound. We also have an Access to Medicines panel because again, it’s tough to get medications on the medical dermatology side. They’re expensive, but we have to be able to access them. So, we have Mark Kaufmann, who’s the past president of the American Academy of Dermatology, Leon Kircik, and Adrian Rodriguez, but we also have industry members that are participating. This panel is going to talk about how they and how we can access the medicines that are important in our space.

Dermatology Times: You are also speaking on quite a few topics at SCALE, what will your presentations cover?

Gold: I’m mainly going to discuss devices. We have great medicines for acne, eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo, but we also have devices for all these. There has been an explosion of devices recently. So, I’m going to talk about the science based on what has been done with these, do they work, how do they work, how do they target the specific areas that we’re treating, and how do we incorporate them into our practices? Because when you bring devices in, it becomes cash-based, which can be a little bit different for some, but it’s doable. 

In the acne world, we have several new devices that have become very popular, so I want to cover those. I want to make sure people understand how they work and what their mechanisms of action are. The same goes for psoriasis, there are new devices that we’re using as adjuncts for our patients’ therapies.

I’m also doing a talk on skin care; I like to call it “skincare potpourri.” I’ve been dispensing skincare products for almost 30 years. I work with a lot of companies in doing their clinical research. And I think that’s where I fit into giving patients the product and explaining the science behind the product. You can decide if it’s something you want to use, but I’m going to tell you how we got from A to B.

Dermatology Times: Do you have any closing thoughts about SCALE 2023?

Gold: I’m biased, obviously, but SCALE is the meeting of the year. We want to make it an environment where every facet whether you’re dermatology, plastic, ocular plastic, medical dermatology, med spa owner, or a med spa worker, everyone feels comfortable. SCALE is for everyone. We want everybody to feel welcome and to feel that they get something out of it at the end of the day. And at the same time, I want our industry colleagues who are our supporters to feel that they have been able to do their educational part and that they can get value out of being at a meeting. There are so many meetings in our space that you have to differentiate because they can’t be everywhere at the same time. So, we put a great deal of effort into working with our industry partners. Hopefully at the end of the day, they’re as happy as we are.

For more information on sessions and faculty members at SCALE, click here.

[This conversation has been edited for space and clarity.]

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