More Than Skin Deep
By Adama Dyoniziak
INGREDIENTS:ONE WORLD TRAVELER. International health interest, CDC epidemiology experience, Master’s degree in public health. Mix all ingredients vigorously, and liberally add vibrant watercolors. Let grow and flourish. Makes one Project Access volunteer dermatologist and watercolor painter: Dr. Paul Dean, of Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic.
Dr. Dean knew he wanted to help people and to travel internationally. He dabbled in a dental track before going to University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He was an exchange student in Nigeria and Pakistan, and got hooked on international health. In his two years in the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service, he went to Pakistan during a cholera epidemic after the country was hit by a typhoon and cyclone, killing 2 million people. After achieving his board certification from the American Board of Dermatology, he has served patients at Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic ever since. Dr. Dean was also the Medical Director for Project Concern International and a board member for the International Medical Corps (an organization that sends physicians to disasters and war zones). His experiences prompted him to complete the educational program at UCLA School of Public Health and receive a master’s degree in public health.
Dr. Dean likes to treat each person holistically: he is concerned about their life. He wants to know how the patient and their family are handling their circumstances during the pandemic. “My four tips for a long and happy life: (1) Exercise and move any way you can every day. (2) Take high doses of Vitamin D. (3) Eliminate red meat from your diet. (4) Lower your stress levels — the best way to do that is to turn off the news.” Dr. Dean says.
Grossmont Healthcare District has its annual Grossmont Health Care Heroes Awards recognition event on Sept 16, and we nominated Dr. Dean. He has been a volunteer dermatologist with Project Access since 2018, seeing patients for consultations, skin cancer screening, and in-office procedures like biopsies and lesion removals. His patient-centered care approach ensures patients have better health outcomes. For example, he made sure a patient was referred to behavioral health because her dermatological complaints were tied more to her emotional and mental wellbeing. “When I work with Project Access patients, it reminds me of all the people I have met on my travels in the U.S. and abroad.” Dr. Dean says, “I enjoy being of service to others.”
This healthcare hero is very humble, socially conscious, and wants to stay connected to his community. Besides seeing Project Access patients pro bono, Dr. Dean also sees more uninsured patients through another free clinic in the East County. He even designated one day a week to see his pro bono patients in his office. We also credit him with securing us with another volunteer MOHS surgeon.
To keep balance in his life, Dr. Dean loves to travel with his wife and spend time with his five grandchildren. He is also a watercolor artist of 20 years with an art studio in Liberty Station. “Watercolor has always fascinated me because of its spontaneity.” Dr. Dean says, “It is quick and must be done in one sitting. There is no going back in watercolor. Watercolor is vibrant! The white paper of watercolor is what makes the painting sparkle.”
Share your time and talent through Project Access and contact Adama Dyoniziak at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (858) 300-2780. Also, help us help others by sharing your treasure and click on the donation button at www.championsforhealth.org.
Adama Dyoniziak is executive director of champions for Health.