My name is Tara Ghalambor and I am a first year medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix with a passion to educate people about skin health and diseases. I became more familiar with the field of dermatology as a writing intern for Dermveda, an integrative skin health and education website led by Dr. Raja Sivamani that focused on the intersection of the skin, body, and mind. With the guidance of dermatologists and residents, I wrote numerous blog-style articles using biomedical literature to explain the science behind skin care trends, procedures, and products. I researched prevalent ingredients in skin care products and treatments, such as gold nanoparticles and platelet rich plasma, to inform consumers of their effects. Through this experience, which gave me the opportunity to attend the 2018 Integrative Dermatology Symposium, I explored the roles of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine practices in dermatology, which expanded my interest and understanding of ways to address skin conditions.
I continued to explore my passion for skin health as a leader of the Imani Clinic, a student-run organization dedicated to addressing healthcare inequalities in the Black community of Sacramento. Here, I lead the dermatology clinic with Dr. Samuel Hwang, professor and chair of Dermatology at UC Davis, where I worked to expand dermatology services to the Oak Park community through monthly clinic days. I created informational materials on skin conditions prevalent in darker skin tones, the importance of sun protection, and typical signs of skin cancer. These experiences, along with my gap year as a research assistant in hepatobiliary surgical oncology, have sparked my curiosity in cutaneous oncology. I hope to continue exploring the field of dermatology and dermatologic research with an integrative approach throughout my medical school career.