Spotlight On: Ali Alikhan, MD

What made you decide on a career in dermatology?

Extremely positive experiences throughout medical school – amazing mentorship, excellent patients and fantastic research opportunities. Each new experience built upon previous positive experiences, and the day came when I realized I would not be happy doing anything else.

What is a typical day like for you?

In academic practice, every day is different. I split my time between patient care, research, teaching and administrative responsibilities. I love seeing patients of all ages, from all walks of life, with all types of dermatological maladies. I love working with residents and medical students and helping them become better physicians. Finally, I enjoy contributing to the growing knowledge of our field through research and publication.

What difficulties and/or mistakes do you see residents make and how can they avoid them?

I have had the pleasure to work with amazing residents, who don’t make too many mistakes. My best advice would be to learn as much as you can during residency, as it is the beginning of a long and fruitful journey. Take advantage of the amazing educational experiences around you (every patient gives you an opportunity to become a better dermatologist), and read, read, read!

What should someone do if they score low on the Boards?

Demonstrate their passion for dermatology – a dedicated research year, for example, is a great option.

How competitive is the job market after residency?

The overall job market is great, though the job market in very desirable areas can be competitive.