De Tocqueville observed that Americans had more of a tendency to form
societies than Europeans. Indeed, even though Americans
frequently went to Vienna or Paris for training at that time, the first
dermatologic society was formed not in Europe, but in New York.
The first dermatologic society in the world was the New York
Dermatologic Society, founded in 1869. The Berlin Society was the
next, and it was established two years later.
In 1876 a national dermatologic society, the American Dermatologic
Association, was established. In 1900, the Manhattan Dermatologic
Society was formed and shortly later the Metropolitan Society
began. Each of these was quite exclusive. In 1924 the Bronx
Dermatologic Society was founded. This society was open to
new members and soon enlarged, subsequently changing its name to the
Dermatologic Society of Greater New York. In 1938, Dr. Howard Fox
led the formation of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Our society began in the 1940’s. At that time Queens General
Hospital had a busy dermatology clinic. Its dermatologists, who
volunteered to work there twice weekly, started meeting informally at
the end of clinic sessions to present challenging patients to each
other. Also around this time Dr. Conrad Stritzler organized
doctors for discussions of patients at his home office in Queens.
At the end of the decade, a more formal structure evolved with the
election of officers and the adoption of our name.
Early members of the society included Drs. Ida Mintzer, Conrad
Stritzler, Charles Miller, Irving Fishman, Stanley Altshuler, Adrian
Neumann, Louis Hutner, Max Boxer, Zoltan Rubin, Steven Laurnes and Alex
Fisher. Dr Mintzer, the director of Dermatology at Queens General
Hospital, served as the first president followed by Charles
Miller. Adrian Neumann was the secretary-treasurer. And
while presidents held office for one year at a time, Dr. Neumann served
for ten years or more.
Dr. Royal Montgomery went to his first meeting of the society in
1970. The meeting just happened to be the day for the election of
the Society president. So on that day he emerged from the meeting
as both a new member and as president. At that time, the
society’s most significant events were dinner meetings, held once or
twice a year, at the Meadowbrook Motel in Jericho, or at the John Peel
Room in Westbury. Usually about ten to fifteen members attended
these meetings. In 1971, Dr. Zoltan Rubin was elected
president. He started clinical meetings at the U.S. Naval
Hospital in St. Albans, as well as Queens General, improved the quality
of the meetings, and extended the president’s term to two years.
When Dr. Marvin Dannenberg became president in 1972 the society had
about 40 members, almost all from Queens county. He encouraged
Nassau and Suffolk dermatologists to join, and two years later
membership had reached 70 members. During his tenure we
started having dinner meetings at Westbury Manor, and clinical meetings
were initiated at three different hospitals. Dr. Lewis Shapiro
organized meetings at Long Island Jewish Hospital, Dr. Eugene Bodian at
North Shore Hospital and Dr. Ralph Grover and Fred Mebel at Meadowbrook
Hospital (now Nassau University Medical Center). And in 1991 Dr.
Richard Clark initiated clinical meetings at the University Hospital in
Around 1975 a new set of By-Laws was approved, and in 1987 the Society
was incorporated in Huntington, New York, as the Long Island
Dermatological Society. In 1984, the American Academy of
Dermatology granted us the right to award continuing medical education
credits in connection with the State University of New York at
Stonybrook. In the same year we joined the Atlantic Dermatologic
Over the past 30 years there has been progressive expansion in
membership. Currently the society is composed of
approximately 140 dermatologists, dermatologic surgeons and
dermatologists from the New York metropolitan area, and includes some
of the most prominent and well respected dermatologists in the
nation. We meet 5 times yearly for dinner meetings at different
venues where we receive presentations on varied dermatologic
issues. And once a year we have a clinical meeting at Nassau
University Medical for discussion of patients with unusual challenges
to diagnosis or treatment.
A partial list of our presidents includes:
1970-1971 Royal Montgomery M.D.
1971-1972 Zoltan Rubin M.D.
1972-1974 Marvin Dannenberg M.D.
1974-1976 Lewis Shapiro M.D.
1976-1978 Ralph Grover M.D.
1978-1980 Eugene Bodian M.D.
1980-1982 Charles Baraf M.D.
1982-1984 John Ruppe M.D.
1984-1986 Frank De Mento M.D.
1986-1988 Irwin Zimmerman M.D.
1988-1990 Lawrence Pacernik M.D.
1990-1992 Roy Stephens M.D.
1992-1994 Martin Brownstein M.D.
1994-1996 James Krivo M.D.
1996-1998 Robert Feinstein M.D.
1998-2000 Lynn Silverstein M.D.
2000-2002 Gavan Moynihan M.D.
2002-2004 Neil Sadick M.D.
2004-2006 Michael Dannenberg M.D.
2006-2008 Deborah Sarnoff M.D.
2008-2010 Richard Clark M.D.
2010-2012 Peter Reisfeld M.D.
2012- Robert Skrokov M.D.
Our By-Laws state that our society was founded for the “promotion of
better understanding of dermatology among its members, the community,
and the general public.” There have been many changes in
medicine and dermatology since 1950, but that goal is no less important
James M. Krivo M.D.
Franklin Square, New York
This synopsis was based on informal talks with Drs. Vincent Cipollaro,
Irving Fishman, Marvin Dannenberg, Ralph Grover, Louis Shapiro, Ronald
Stritzler and others. Please contact the society if you have
corrections or wish to provide additional information.