Quick facts about The Skin Care Centre

  • 21,000 patient visits annually to our general and subspecialty dermatology clinics
  • 35,650 light treatments in fiscal 97-98; we’re the busiest light treatment centre in Canada
  • 2,430 laser surgery procedures in fiscal 97-98 at the Lions Laser Skin Centre
  • 1,200 Mohs micrographic surgeries for complicated skin cancers
  • 2,800 non-Mohs surgical procedures per year
  • 1,310 patients with contact/occupational dermatitis are tested each year at the Patch Test Clinic
  • 679 patient visits/treatments were made to the Wound Healing Clinic last year

What is The Skin Care Centre?

The building in SpringThe Skin Care Centre was officially created in 1992 with the functional merger of the VGH/UBC Divisions of Dermatology, Shaugnessy Psoriasis Daycare Program, Dermatologic Surgery Unit, Patch Test Unit, and the Lions Laser Skin Centre. In 1995 these component programs were brought together at the new home of the Skin Care Centre on West Tenth Avenue. The Skin Care Centre reports as the Dermatology Subunit to the CPU of Community, Emergency, and Specialty Medicine, and clinical programs at the Skin Care Centre are organized around multidisciplinary work teams encompassing dermatologists, nurses, social workers, clerks, and trainees. All programs and services involving the management of patients with skin disorders are mandated to incorporate patient care, education, and research. Primary, secondary, and tertiary care dermatologic services are provided to residents of Vancouver/Richmond, the Lower Mainland, and the rest of British Columbia and Western Canada respectively. In a number of our specialized programs, many international patients are also seen at the Skin Care Centre.


What services are available at The Skin Care Centre?

In addition to providing comprehensive general dermatologic services, the Skin Care Centre has developed specific foci of clinical subspecialization based on patient needs, staff expertise, and available resources.


Provincial dermatologic services provided uniquely at the Skin Care Centre:

Psoriasis & Phototherapy Clinic The Psoriasis & Phototherapy Clinic’s daycare program admits patients with severe and resistant psoriasis to the Skin Care Centre for intensive ultraviolet light and topical skin therapy, who would otherwise have been admitted to general medical wards. The daycare is complemented by an outpatient phototherapy program that offers extended hours of operation (7 am - 7 pm) for light treatments.
Dermatologic/Micrographic Surgery Unit The first unit of its kind in Canada, the surgery program uses specialized Mohs micrographic surgery to treat critical and complicated skin cancers. A full range of cutaneous surgical procedures are also performed.
Lions Laser Skin Centre Created through a partnership with the B.C. Lions Society, the laser centre’s fundamental mandate is to provide leading edge laser surgery for the removal of severely disfiguring birthmarks in children and adults.
Immunodermatology Clinic The fact that there are many skin disorders which can be life-threatening is not widely recognized, even in the medical community. Such disorders require aggressive treatment with the same classes of drugs used in oncology and organ transplantation, and these are managed in our Immunodermatology Clinic.
Pigmented Lesions Clinics With increased public awareness of skin cancer, more patients and their primary care physicians are relying on the consultative advice of the Skin Care Centre for assessing suspicious or complicated skin lesions.
Hair Clinic Although often trivialized, hair disorders can reflect significant systemic disturbances in nutritional, hormonal, metabolic, and autoimmune states. The Hair Clinic focuses on medical disorders of hair growth, and has pioneered the use of topical immunotherapy for alopecia areata.
Wound Healing Clinic Managing chronic non-healing and painful ulcers in an institutional setting is expensive care. In the Wound Healing Clinic, patients are evaluated and taught how to care for their wounds at home in collaboration with Home Care Nurses from Health Units througout the Lower Mainland.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Clinic Not only are genital warts the most common sexually transmitted disease, but warts in general are especially prevalent among patients who are immunosuppressed through infection (e.g. HIV) or drugs (transplant recipients). The HPV clinic offers specialized treatments and investigations unavailable at other clinics in B.C., and also receives referrals from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Patch Test Unit Occupational dermatitis is fast becoming one of the most common causes of worker disability. At the Patch Test Unit, patients with suspected contact allergy can be tested against allergen panels that are specific for different occupations or exposure settings.

Who are our partners?

Our patients and staff have been fortunate to draw upon several community partnerships including the B.C. Lions Society for Children with Disabilities (Lions Laser Skin Centre), Vancouver Richmond Health Board (Wound Healing Clinic), B.C. Children’s Hospital (inter-hospital treatment of pediatric laser patients), Canadian Psoriasis Foundation and National Alopecia Areata Foundation (patient support groups and advocacy), Canadian Cancer Society (Sun Awareness Program and “Mole Patrol”), and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (HPV Clinic).


What about teaching?

The Skin Care Centre is currently home to 6 dermatology residents, 3 subspecialty fellows in (surgery, lasers, and hair disorders), and 41 full and part-time faculty. Rotating subspecialty residents, medical student interns, nursing students, and clerical students from UBC, BCIT, Langara, Douglas College, Capilano College, and VVI have all been incorporated into the teaching programs. The classroom facilities at the Skin Care Centre have hosted not only continuing medical education (CME) courses for specialists and family physicians, but also public education forums and support groups for patients and their families. Specific educational resources are featured on the Internet at the centre’s web site, DermWeb. In 1999, the Skin Care Centre will welcome the Canadian Dermatology Nurses Association for its annual general meeting.


. . . And research?

Through the Skin Care Centre’s Clinical Trials Unit, we are able to provide the latest novel drug, surgical, and laser treatments to our patients under careful medical supervision. The close proximity of the Skin Care Centre to basic science dermatology laboratories at the Jack Bell Research Centre, the VGH Research Pavilion, and the BC Cancer Research Centre has facilitated translational bench to bedside research in cancer epidemiology and biology, skin cancer detection, hair disorders, lipids and the skin barrier, and skin immunology. All staff disciplines at the Skin Care Centre are represented in our research efforts.


The future at The Skin Care Centre

In developing our strategic plan this year, we have identified that one of our key strengths is the high level of patient satisfaction with the quality, range, and integration of our programs, both within the Skin Care Centre and with our community partners. The nurturing of focused areas of clinical subspecialization has led to national and international recognition, of which we are very proud. In terms of future directions, our broad goals are to completely integrate quality improvement practices and attitudes throughout the centre, to enhance our teaching capabilities at all levels, to lead the development of clinical pathways in dermatology, and to maintain and expand our network of community partners.

        The Skin Care Centre Homepage
Report to the VGH Board: Aug 1998
Converted to HTML: 01 Jun 1999