Department History

Dermatology began at Indiana University School of Medicine with the appointment of Alembert Brayton, MD, in the early 1900s as the first Professor of Dermatology and Syphilology. At that time, as in most medical schools, dermatology was a section of Internal Medicine. Brayton was succeeded by a number of dermatologists who taught at the medical school while maintaining private practices in Indianapolis; these included Frank Cregor, MD; Frank Gastineau, MD; John Brayton, MD; James Gosman, MD; Boynton Booth, MD; and Robert Jenkins, MD.

The residency program was established at the Marion County General Hospital, which became the Wishard Memorial Hospital, by John Dalton, MD, who served as Chief of Dermatology from 1948 to 1960. Booth directed the residency program.  This is now called Eskenazi Health.

In 1963, Dermatology became its own department. Victor Hackney, MD, was recruited from Stanford University to be the first chairman. The residency program and clinical service at the Marion County General Hospital and the clinical service at Indiana University were merged into the department. The department grew with the addition of full-time faculty, including Arthur Norins, MD, in 1964 and Walter Epinette, MD, in 1971, both from Stanford.

In 1976, Norins succeeded Hackney as chairman and recruited Stephen Wolverton, MD. The dermatology residency expanded to six residents. Clinics at Riley Hospital for Children and the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center were incorporated into the training and service program. This period also saw the expansion of the research efforts with the establishment of the Hackney Laboratory for Investigative Dermatopathology in 1990. Dan Spandau, MD, was appointed the director and has developed a research program in molecular biology of the skin.

In 1993, Evan Farmer, MD, was recruited from Johns Hopkins University to succeed Norins as chairman and in 1997, was appointed the first Kampen-Norins Chair.  Farmer’s interests included dermatopathology, graft-versus-host disease and clinical dermatology with emphasis on outcome studies. Farmer recruited Charles Lewis, MD, from Brooke Army Medical Center to head the Regenstrief Dermatology Clinics at Wishard in 1994. In 1995, Jeffrey B. Travers, MD, PhD, joined the faculty.

In 2001, Farmer became dean and provost at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Following a nationwide search, Travers was chosen as chair. Newer additions to the faculty included Gary Dillon, MD (general dermatology, dermatopathology), Nico Mousdicas, MD (contact and occupational dermatology), Anita Haggstrom, MD (pediatric dermatology), Lawrence Mark, MD (melanoma, lymphoma), Ally-Khan Somani, MD (Mohs surgery, investigative dermatology), Najwa Somani, MD (dermatopathology, hair disorders), and Alison Klenk, MD (general dermatology). Three new satellite offices opened and the number of residents was expanded to nine.

In 2010, Melanie Kingsley, MD (cosmetic dermatology), Joanne Trockman, MD (general dermatology), and Lisa Xu, MD (medical dermatology) joined the department.  In that same year, following a national search, Elliot J. Androphy, MD, became the fifth chair of Dermatology, having previously held administrative leadership roles at the University of Massachusetts and Tufts Medical Schools.  An internationally renowned papillomavirus researcher, Androphy has made pioneering discoveries in studies of spinal muscular atrophy and is co-inventor on the first FDA-approved treatment for this neurodegenerative disease.

The faculty has expanded over the past eight years, although there have been several departures. Xu took a fellowship in laser medicine at MGH and currently practices in California; Travers moved to Wright State University to become Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology; Mousdicas works at an off-campus site for the Indianapolis Veterans Administration; and Trockman retired in 2018.  Sadly, our dear friend and colleague Charles Lewis, MD passed away in 2018.

The department continues to grow with the additions of: Patricia Treadwell, MD (pediatric derm), Christiane Machado, MD (transplant), Elizabeth Bryant, MD (melanoma), Kristin Hoffmann, MD (cutaneous lymphoma), Nidhi Avashia-Khemka, MD (immune disorders), Matthew Turner, MD, PhD (atopic dermatitis), Sahand Rahnama-Moghadam, MD (complex medical derm), Diane Turvy, MD (general derm), Sarah Skillman, MD (pediatric), Keena Que, MD (Mohs surgery), Jay Wolverton, MD (general derm), Ginat Mirowski, DMD, MD (oral and genital disorders), and Jenna Streicher, MD (pediatric derm).

Nidhi Avashia-Khemka, MD became Director of the residency program in July 2018, switching positions with Anita Haggstrom, MD who transitioned to Associate Director after serving for nine years as the Program Director.  The number of residents has grown to thirteen toward its planned target of five per year. Haggstrom established a fellowship in pediatric dermatology (Skillman was our initial fellow) and Somani was approved by the ACGME for a fellowship in Mohs and procedural dermatology. His first fellow, Michael Kunz, MD began in July 2018.

The Department maintains large outpatient clinics at University Hospital, Eskenazi Health, and the Roudebush Veterans Administration Hospital.  We also hold regular clinics at IU Methodist, IU West (Avon), IU Saxony (Fishers), Epler Parke (South Indy), and Zionsville (Anson). In 2018, we opened a newly constructed12,000 sq. ft. office for general and pediatric dermatology, with attached suites for cosmetics and Mohs surgery. Dermatology faculty are active in multidisciplinary clinics in the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center for lymphoma and melanoma, and Vascular Disorders in the Riley Children’s Hospital.

Philanthropy has contributed to the ability of the faculty to fulfill the Indiana University School of Medicine and the department’s missions of excellence in teaching, research and investigative dermatology, and clinical care. The Kampen-Norins Chair was a kind gift from the Kampen family and is designated for the Department Chairman. The Arthur Norins Professorship was established by grateful alumni and friends of the Department – Anita Haggstrom, MD is its current occupant.  Stephen Wolverton, MD is the Theodore Arlook Professor, with funds donated by the family of the late dermatologist.  Lawrence Mark, MD, PhD holds the Charles Lewis Professorship, made possible by the generosity of departmental alumni, friends, and Dr. Lewis’ former trainees. The Resident Education fund underwrites Grand Rounds speakers, educational materials and travel to national meetings.