Ten years ago, New Orleans native John Young, MD relocated his entire family to Oregon following Hurricane Katrina. They built a home here, and Dr. Young hung out a shingle in a tiny office in Silverton with a staff that consisted of himself and his parents (pictured). On July 5, Silver Falls Dermatology celebrates ten years, seventeen locations and a team of 125 known as the Blue Crew.
“We go where people need us. So many communities are underserved when it comes to specialty medical care.”
“It’s been quite a ride,” says Dr. Young, who says his practice started with an earnest vision to be a good community partner and to provide quality care to his neighbors. But then, Dr. Young has never been a modest achiever. Dr. Young earned his bachelor’s degree at Louisiana State University, where he was valedictorian of 2000 graduates. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas on a US Air Force scholarship, became a flight surgeon for the Air Force and was deployed to the United Arab Emirates. He was the youngest officer in twenty years to be accepted into the dermatology residency program in San Antonio, Texas.
Despite the skeleton crew in the first office, the decision to expand was an easy one, says Dr. Young. “We go where people need us. So many communities are underserved when it comes to specialty medical care.”
Dr. Young has spent the last decade growing an impressive team that has adapted to the changing needs of the communities it serves. In 2008, Dr. Young recruited Board Certified Dermatologist William Lear, MD as Director of Dermatological Surgery. One of only a handful of fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons in Oregon, Dr. Lear has performed more than 12,000 Mohs procedures since joining Silver Falls, and has built a professional team of technicians that ensure clinical efficiency and a positive patient experience.
Dr. Lear also trains board certified dermatologists in Mohs surgery, reconstruction and procedural dermatology. He frequently collaborates with Oregon State University in research on wound healing and wound closure technologies and publishes in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Lear’s most recent publication was a chapter on suture materials and surgical instrumentation in Robinson’s Surgery of the Skin, 3rd edition, the primary textbook of dermatologic surgery.
Dr. Young says adding an allergy department in 2015 made good clinical sense. “Allergic reactions often manifest in the skin and are quickly recognized by our dermatologists as conditions that require specialized care,” he adds. It is a medical model that is growing in prevalence across the country, and the two specialties complement each other.
With more than 20 years of experience in private practice, Board Certified Allergist-Immunologist James Sweet, MD joined Silver Falls to launch its allergy department. He is also a Board Certified Internist and completed his Allergy and Immunology Fellowship at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California. Dr. Sweet was in private practice in Honolulu, Hawaii for 18 years before joining Billings Clinic in Billings, Montana. He has published several articles in the field of allergy and immunology.
The logistics of having seventeen locations has been a challenge and an opportunity for the entire staff at Silver Falls. Accounting, scheduling, marketing and other administrative tasks are centrally managed from our main location in Salem. A courier keeps supplies moving between offices. An I/T company keeps phones and computers talking to each other over three states and hundreds of miles. An in-house dermatopathology lab, led by Board Certified Dermatopathologist Angela Bohlke, MD processes all the tissue samples from every location to ensure efficiency and accuracy.
Second only to Dr. Young’s commitment to community care is his dedication to the future of dermatological medicine. We are the only private practice in Oregon to offer a prestigious Dermatology Residency Program, one of the most sought-after residencies in all of medicine. Each year, Silver Falls admits a new class of two Residents Doctors, licensed Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, who are serving an additional three-year Dermatology Residency to become Board-Certified Dermatologists.
Dermatology Residents see patients in a variety of our clinics and complete rotations with plastic surgeons and other specialists as part of their training. Dr. Lear also offers a Mohs Fellowship for one Resident per year.
“Thanks to all of you for making this possible and helping us do some good in this world!”
At the conclusion of their three-year residency, some doctors are offered positions within our growing practice, and stay on board as staff dermatologists. Others pursue private or group practices in other parts of the country, which Dr. Young says is bittersweet. “Even when our doctors leave at the conclusion of their residency, I feel good knowing they will be providing confident care in their new practice.” He says. “They leave here with not only excellent clinical skills but the ability to be good colleagues in their medical community.”
Rounding out our care team are dermatology-trained nurse practitioners and physician assistants who receive six months of specialized training under the supervision of Dr. Young and other senior providers. Licensed Aestheticians provide cosmetic services in the Salem aesthetics suite.
Being an academic facility means that sometimes there are more eyes on your dermatological concern than just the two belonging to your provider. Since there are always providers in the office at varying stages of specialty training, a patient might not only see their doctor, but also another doctor or nurse shadowing. “We take great responsibility in our charge to train future leaders in dermatology,” says Dr. Young. “We find that our patients benefit greatly from this teaching model.”
So what’s next for Silver Falls? Dr. Young is working on a smartphone app that will provide patients with a doctor consultation by photograph.
“I believe everyone should have access to dermatology care, regardless of financial, scheduling or geographical challenges,” says Dr. Young. “Short of putting one of our doctors in every town, this app will allow us to care for patients in remote locations online at a very reasonable fee.”
It’s a project that stays true to Dr. Young’s original vision of service.
In an anniversary message to the Blue Crew, Dr. Young summed up his practice philosophy in typical modest form: “Thanks to all of you for making this possible and helping us do some good in this world!”