Arianne Shadi Kourosh, MD, MPH, is a practicing dermatologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She is the founding director of the Pigmentary Disorder and Multi-Ethnic Skin Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of community health for the Department of Dermatology. She also founded and directs the award-winning Project Phoenix, MGH's pro-bono tattoo removal program for people seeking to escape gangs and human trafficking.
Public health and patient advocacy go hand-in-hand with the practice of medicine for dermatologist Arianne Shadi Kourosh, MD, MPH.
Not long after starting her medical career in 2017 as an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Kourosh realized that there was a huge gap in education about skin issues in patients of color. "This was an area that has been historically underserved and understudied," she says
She thought a dedicated clinic would help solve it, so she founded the Pigmentary Disorder and Multi-Ethnic Skin Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, which she now leads.
"A very important role of this clinic...is its mission of overcoming racism and disparity in medicine," she says.
Kourosh’s passion for the underserved and patient advocacy started while in medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where she worked in a free clinic.
While a dermatology resident in 2012, she designed a free app that would help connect doctors and their patients with resources. That app is still in use, now operated by the Society for Investigative Dermatology.
Her training in public health, with a degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, also spurred her in 2015 to start Project Phoenix, a program in which former gang members and youth victims of human trafficking can have tattoos removed for free.
"People have died trying to escape gangs because of the gang tattoos," Kourosh says. Tattoos also can be a barrier to employment and a visible reminder for people exploited in human trafficking. The program won Harvard's community service award in 2020.
Kourosh sees all her work as integrated, from doctor to patient advocate to teacher. "I'm working to raise the next generation of culturally competent physicians who are patient advocates, and who understand how to navigate the system [for patients] when the safety net system is broken for them," she says.
As part of Medscape's celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, we're recognizing 25 young physicians who are rising stars in medicine, poised to become future leaders of their fields. View the full list here.
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