Our History

1890s: The University of Michigan Dermatology and Syphilology clinic opens at the University Hospital on Catherine Street.
1900s: The Department of Dermatology and Syphilology is established in 1905 at the University of Michigan Department of Medicine and Surgery. It is one of the few independent departments in the United States.
1910s-1920s: The first formal university hospital training program for dermatology in the United States begins at the University of Michigan. Dermatology moves to the new University Hospital, maintaining an active outpatient service as well as inpatient beds.
1930s-1940s: The first major endowment for dermatology in the nation, the Babcock Fund, is created and is still a significant source of research funding for the department today.
1950s-1960s: The Department of Dermatology service expands in the areas of radiotherapy, mycology, histopathology and immunology. In 1967, Chairman Arthur C. Curtis retires and is succeeded by Dr. E. Richard Harrell.
1970s: The Dermatology Research section and the Mohs Chemosurgical Unit for treatment of cutaneous carcinomas are initiated. Research shifts to basic science with practical applications. A psoriasis research program begins. The Clinical Research Unit is opened in the Department of Dermatology. Dr. John J. Voorhees is appointed as chair to the Department of Dermatology in 1975.
1980s: A full range of subspecialty programs are now available within the department. The state's first Dermatology Treatment Center is initiated. The Dermatology Department moves to its present location in the A. Alfred Taubman Health Care Center, attached to the new University Hospital. Research activity includes clinical studies of retinoids, psoriasis, pemphigus and pemphigoid, and basic epidermal regulation. Basic research in areas of immunology and molecular genetics expands. The psoriasis research program is internationally prominent.
1990s: The University's first distinguished professorship, the Duncan O. and Ella M. Poth Distinguished Professorship in Dermatology, is established with a two-million dollar gift from department alumnus, Duncan O. Poth, MD, and his wife, Ella. In 1995, John J. Voorhees, MD is named to this professorship. The William B. Taylor Professorship is funded with donations and pledges from department alumni and friends. A skin cancer research program is established within the Cancer Center. The search for psoriasis' genetic origins focuses on two haplotypes.
2000s: The Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser Unit is established in response to a growing demand for dermatologic cosmetic procedures performed by our highly skilled physicians. In 2005, the Lewis and Lillian Becker Distinguished Professorship in Dermatology is established with Dr. Timothy Johnson named as the first Becker Professor. The Department of Dermatology handles more than 40,000 outpatient visits each year and is recognized as one of the nation's finest programs in dermatology.


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