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Chren named inaugural chair of Department of Dermatology

Sep. 29, 2017, 10:02 AM

As Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) Division of Dermatology transitions from a division within the Department of Medicine to become the Medical Center’s newest clinical department, Mary-Margaret “Meg” Chren, M.D., professor of Dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has been named to serve as the department’s inaugural chair. She will join the faculty in January 2018.

Mary-Margaret “Meg” Chren, M.D.

“By elevating the division to a department we are able to increase the size and scope of clinical services, expand and explore new avenues of research and increase training opportunities. Dr. Chren is an outstanding selection to serve as the department’s inaugural chair. She is a highly accomplished and widely recognized leader in academic dermatology who is committed to mentoring across all mission areas. We are truly excited to have Meg join our leadership team and look forward to her contributions,” said Jeff Balser, M.D. Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer for VUMC, and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I want to express my appreciation to Dr. Nancy Brown and the other members of the search committee for their tremendous work to identify a very strong cohort of candidates, and their assistance in recruiting Dr. Chren as our first Dermatology chair.”

Chren will lead a department currently housing 18 faculty that offers a comprehensive range of clinical, educational and research programs.

The department also provides an accredited and competitive residency program in Dermatology, and a fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery.

VUMC’s dermatologists provide both outpatient and inpatient care. In addition to general dermatology services and Mohs surgery, they also offer highly specialized services such as phototherapy and extracorporeal photopheresis. Faculty members have expertise in medical dermatology, dermatologic surgery, dermatopathology, photochemotherapy, pediatric dermatology, cutaneous oncology including lymphomas, and in the diagnosis of atypical moles and melanoma.

“Dermatology has long served a strategic role among the services we are able to provide. For some patients Vanderbilt may be the only resource in this region available to treat complex skin diseases,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC. “Dr. Chren’s extensive clinical experience in both outpatient and inpatient settings will serve us well as we expand to meet the region’s explosive population growth. I look forward to working with her in this new department chair role.”

At UCSF, Chren’s clinical responsibilities are based in the Dermatology Service at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVA) where she attends on teaching services for outpatients and inpatients with a wide variety of skin diseases. For the past decade she has held a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded K24 award to support mentoring in patient-oriented research.

She is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, and her work has been funded by grants from the NIH, Veterans Administration and the Dermatology Foundation. Her research focuses on understanding, measuring and improving health outcomes of patients with skin diseases.

Chren developed and validated a skin-related quality-of-life tool, Skindex, which is widely used as an outcomes measure.

Her current work focuses on measuring and communicating complex health attributes in user-friendly and interpretable ways.

The search committee was chaired by Nancy Brown, M.D., Hugh J. Morgan Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine. Other members of the search committee include: Andre Churchwell, M.D., Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH, Seth Karp, M.D., M.A., Ian Macara, Ph.D., Elizabeth Phillips, M.D., Ann Richmond, Ph.D., MNS, Samuel Santoro, M.D., Ph.D., and Roy Zent, MBBCh, Ph.D.

“The search committee reviewed and interviewed many outstanding candidates as part of the work that led to Dr. Chren’s being identified as the top candidate. I want to express my gratitude for their efforts. Meg is an exceptional choice and I look forward to collaborating with her through continued close alignment between the Departments of Medicine and Dermatology,” said Brown.

Chren is a member of multiple professional societies including the American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, American DermatoEpidemiology Network, Women’s Dermatologic Society, Medical Dermatology Society and the American Dermatological Association.

She has provided service to these societies and other professional organizations in a number of roles, including serving as president of the International DermatoEpidemiology Association Americas Chapter.

She has served as associate editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and has been a member of multiple committees for the American Academy of Dermatology, including the Ad Hoc task force that developed and instituted DataDerm, a new nationwide registry of patients seen by dermatologists across the country.

Chren is a graduate of Smith College where she earned an AB in Biological Sciences, followed by an M.D. from Yale University. She trained in internal medicine at Stanford University, and in dermatology and clinical epidemiology at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Prior to joining UCSF, Chren held positions at Case Western Reserve University where she was an assistant professor and also served as a staff physician at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“The environment at Vanderbilt is incomparable, and I’m very honored and excited by this opportunity. I look forward to working with the division’s exceptional faculty, as we build on the strong foundation and legacy of excellence that the previous leaders have established,” Chren said.

Chren’s husband, Seth Landefeld, M.D., is chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They have three grown children who live in San Francisco, Cleveland and New York.

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