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UTHSC Officially Names First Dermatology Department the Kaplan-Amonette Department of Dermatology



Rex Amonette, MD, and Robert Kaplan, MD

Memphis, Tenn. (July 30, 2013) — The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) Dermatology Department in the College of Medicine has been officially named the Kaplan-Amonette Department of Dermatology, in honor of Robert Kaplan, MD, and Rex Amonette, MD. Drs. Kaplan and Amonette, both UTHSC dermatology alumni, provided the ongoing support and participation that made the new department possible.

“We owe the solid foundation for this new department to the dedication and philanthropic spirit of both Bob Kaplan and Rex Amonette,” said David Stern, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine. “We are most grateful for the generosity and stewardship Rex and Bob continue to demonstrate. The university community is very pleased to bestow a permanent name for our Department of Dermatology that reflects the partnership and impact of Drs. Kaplan and Amonette,” he stated.

Dr. Kaplan practices in Memphis at Kaplan and Kaplan Dermatology. He holds multiple leadership positions within UTHSC, including serving on the UT Foundation’s board of directors and the UTHSC College of Medicine Alumni Council. Dr. Kaplan’s philanthropy has been nothing short of transformational for the UTHSC campus. His financial support of the Kaplan Clinical Skills Center at UTHSC has had a profound impact on the education of Tennessee’s future physicians.

“The Kaplan Center is where students begin the process of developing their patient care skills, and we owe Bob Kaplan a great debt of gratitude for his interest in making our graduates into patient-centered physicians,” said Robert Shreve, EdD, and UTHSC associate dean for Medical Education. Dr. Shreve continued, “Very little of what we have accomplished would have been possible without Bob’s interest and extraordinary commitment to helping us make our students among the best trained in the South.”

Dr. Kaplan’s recent gift to the UTHSC Department of Dermatology, a major multi-year commitment, will have a tremendous impact on the expansion of the department. “Bob’s passion for medical education is palpable. He wants the next generation of UTHSC physicians to be trained according to the very best practices,” Dean Stern said. “This vision has guided his support of the clinical skills center and this impacts most positively on the education of every student who passes through our doors.”

Dr. Amonette served as the first interim chair of the Department of Dermatology from its creation in November 2012 until May 1, when Kathryn Schwarzenberger, MD, was appointed chair of the department. Describing Dr. Amonette’s contributions to dermatology, Dr. Schwarzenberger said, “Rex Amonette is among the most well-respected and accomplished members of the dermatology community. His commitment to quality patient care and continuous improvement in dermatology education and training are well known.”

Dr. Amonette is founder of the Memphis Dermatology Clinic, and was an early pioneer of the Mohs Micrographic Surgery procedure for skin cancer treatment. He was only the second fellowship-trained doctor in the nation to begin the practice. The Mohs procedure focused more on preserving healthy tissue than the traditional treatment at the time.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery was initially controversial. When Dr. Amonette first opened the Memphis Dermatology Clinic, no one was doing the Mohs procedure between Chicago and Miami, and the clinic saw patients from 28 states in its first year. Since then, Mohs Micrographic Surgery has become widely accepted as the standard treatment procedure for skin cancer.

Dr. Amonette has been president of numerous organizations such as the Memphis Dermatological Society, the Tennessee Dermatological Society, the American Academy of Dermatology, and the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology. He has served on numerous boards and hospital staffs, and has taught throughout most of his career.