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The School of Medicine launched its new curriculum, Translational Education at Carolina (TEC) in August 2014.  TEC is composed of three phases: Foundation Phase (formerly Years 1 and 2), Application Phase (formerly year 3) and Individualization Phase (formerly year 4).  For more information on TEC, visit  UNC Dermatology offers several educational experiences for medical students.

Foundation Phase (formerly years 1 and 2)
For more information on Foundation Phase, visit

Course Objectives:

  1. To familiarize the student with the field of dermatology through an overview of types of disorders, procedures, and treatments common in dermatology.
  2. To familiarize the student with the possible sources of knowledge through their peers, faculty members, textbooks, and websites.
  3. Students should develop a basic dermatologic vocabulary that enables them to appropriately describe skin lesions.  For example, students should be familiar with primary and secondary skin lesions and the difference between them.  It is also important to learn some basic terms such as erythema, violaceous, verrucous, etc. This is one of the most important objectives of this week, regardless of the student’s future clinical plans. Dermatology language will be helpful regardless of future practice setting.
  4. This is an overview, and by no means comprehensive. Therefore, the materials covered should serve as a foundation that can be built upon in clinical training. The contents of the course were determined by feedback from those who have taken it before, topics tested on the USMLE, and what the faculty feel is essential for a physician in any specialty to know.


Course Organization:

  1. Virtual didactic lectures: Currently, in the setting of the Covid-19 pandemic, our lectures will be presented through Zoom. The lecturers will be using large numbers of clinical photos to illustrate their topic.  As dermatology is a visual field that cannot be fully appreciated through text alone, these clinical photographs are crucial to developing a full understanding of the lecture material.
  2. Small group sessions (3), virtual: Attendance at the small group sessions is required. To make the most of the time together in small group, it is expected that the material will have been reviewed before so students are ready to engage.  The first two small group sessions will introduce new skin disorders and the last will be a review session of some of the week’s material. Students will describe the skin lesions, formulate a basic differential diagnosis, and discuss basic pathophysiology or clinical features of these conditions. Participation in past years has contributed 6% of the final MSK block grade.
  3. Examination: Questions are selected from established NBME multiple choice question bank. The integument week material will be the focus of the midterm exam but there will also be some integument week questions on the MSK final exam. Because our course if part of the MSK block, in past years the integument exam has contributed 14% of the final block grade.

There have been many questions about how best to evaluate skin conditions in different skin colors. Please see the Dermatology Image Library Google doc on Sakai. This will be an excellent resource. All images are from primary literature or textbooks and have references listed if you would like to look at the associated article or textbook.

This is being transitioned to a website format:

Teaching Materials:

  1. Dermatology Online Atlases: There are many available.  Some have excellent quality images and didactic information.  See below.
  2. General Dermatology References: These are available for students interested in further reading on a particular topic.  All these texts are available in the Health Sciences Library:
    1. Bolognia JL, Ko C, Duncan KO, Schaffer JV. Dermatology Essentials. Excellent shorter version of Bolognia Dermatology which is a key resource for all dermatology trainees. Many photos from the course are from this textbook for your reference.
    2. Jackson-Richards D, Pandya AG. Dermatology Atlas for Skin of Color. Excellent resource for seeing variation in cutaneous presentation on darker skin types. PDF available for download from Health Sciences Library site.
    3. Silverberg NB, Duran-McKinster C, Tay YK. Pediatric Skin of Color. PDF available for download from Health Sciences Library site.
    4. Freedberg IM, Eisen AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Fitzpatrick TB (editors). Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine.  This is the essential dermatology text for dermatologists.  It offers a comprehensive discussion of dermatology with color photos.
    5. Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 3rd edition, St. Louis, Mosby, 1996. This is a great book for the non-dermatologist interested in dermatology.  The outstanding facet of this book is the top rate photos.


Course Director:

Rachel Blasiak, MD () – Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology

Contacting the faculty: During this course, the faculty will continue to work in clinics and laboratories.  We are happy to answer any questions that may arise.  If there are specific questions about a lecture, contact the faculty member that gave the lecture.  Dr. Blasiak will be available for office hours by Zoom each afternoon during integument week but also available by email.

We are also available to any student who might be interested in pursuing dermatology as a career.  Feel free to contact us with questions.


Additional Resources

VisualDx: Excellent library of dermatology images

DermIS: image atlases, differential diagnoses, case reports and additional information on almost all skin diseases

DermNet: 23,000 images of skin disease