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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Michi Shinohara

October 23, 2020
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Dr. Michi Shinohara, associate professor, wears many hats in service to the patients, faculty and trainees in the Division of Dermatology.

Beginning with her medical degree and then residencies in Internal Medicine and Dermatology, Shinohara has been at the University of Washington since 1998 (with the exception of a dermatopathology fellowship at University of Pennsylvania from 2006-2009).

Since joining the Dermatology faculty, she has made a noteworthy impact on the educational, research and patient care mission of the division. She serves the division as a strategic leader in her roles as associate chief and the Michael W. Piepkorn Endowed Chair in Dermatologic Research.

Caring for patients with CTCL

Shinohara specializes in the care of complex medical dermatology patients, and maintains a multidisciplinary Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic, in addition to holding the title of Director of Inpatient Consultative Dermatology, at the University of Washington Medical Center.

"My most-current, most-precious baby (besides my son, of course) is a several-year project looking at the health-related quality of life of patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma," says Dr. Shinohara.

"Patients with CTCL are profoundly affected across multiple arenas of their lives, but especially the psychosocial; we are learning that many feel quite stigmatized with their disease. This work is culminating and ready for publication - I can't wait!"

Leading new expansion of dermatopathology

Shinohara has additional expertise in dermatopathology, a medical specialty for diagnosing skin disease by examining molecular samples under a microscope.

After the recent merger of the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, she has been named the Director of Dermatopathology, an expanding service offered in partnership with the Division of Dermatology, at UW Medicine.

Activism in the medical profession

Shinohara applies her clinical experiences to propel research in the fields of cutaneous skin disease and dermatopathology practice as well as equity and inclusion in the medical profession. She is the corresponding author of “Dermatologist Burnout: Contribution of gender and impact of children” published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and served as a guest editor of the special “Gender Gap” issue of the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology.

In all aspects of her work, she is a passionate teacher and mentor for aspiring dermatologists, having had such influential mentors throughout her training.

"One of my proudest moments was having our former Division Head John Olerud tell me they he was proud of what I have become; he's watched me grow since I was a resident.

Back when I was thinking about going into medicine, one of my college mentors discouraged me, and told me I should think about shooting lower. I often think about how different things could be if I had listened to him.

The proudest moments of my career by far, though, have been seeing my mentees have successes. It's really magical to witness someone else struggle, learn, and then succeed!"

Shinohara serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Dermatology Society, United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium, Society of Dermatology Hospitalists, and is active in the Association of Professors of Dermatology and the American Society for Dermatopathology.

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