Inspiring clinicians and investigators since 1950

The 71st Annual Montagna Symposium will bring together clinicians, anthropologists, and scientific investigators engaged in research and treatment of diseases that disproportionately affect skin of color (SOC) and diseases impacted by social determinants of health.

We are enthusiastic about bringing together the strongest leaders and speakers in the field for the benefit of the dermatologic community, for trainees and junior faculty, and for people with skin of color. This forum will also promote increased interest in health disparities and cutaneous disorders that disproportionately affect people with pigmented skin, furthering the frontiers of the field.

Program Chair
Tamia Harris-Tryon, MD, PhD

Ginette A. Okoye, MD
Angel Byrd, MD, PhD
Donald Glass, MD, PhD
Shawn Kwatra, MD

Symposium Co-directors
Sancy Leachman, MD, PhD
Dennis Roop, PhD

Symposium Director Emerita
Molly Kulesz-Martin PhD

Symposium Goals:

  • Discuss health disparities in dermatology and the relative roles of genetics / ancestry and social determinants of health in these disparities.
  • Highlight the work of clinicians and researchers underrepresented in science and medicine.
  • Bring together established and junior researchers interested in Skin of Color (SOC) dermatology to ignite collaborations, and foster mentorship and networking opportunities, ultimately advancing SOC dermatology research.


  • Ginette Okoye, MD (Howard University). Exploring cutting Edge Science in Diseases that Disproportionately Impact patients with Skin of Color. The session aims to highlight recent advances in the pathogenesis and treatment of diseases that disproportionately impact patients with skin of color, including central centrifugal alopecia, pigmentary disorders and mycosis fungoides.
  • Tamia Harris-Tryon, MD, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center). Exploring the role of the microbiome and metabolism in skin diseases, including how diet and the environment impact skin immunity. Dr. Harris-Tryon will chair this session dissecting interactions between environment, diet, and the microbiome in diverse patient populations. The session aims to determine how the microbiome is established and how these communities of microbes entrain skin immunity and drive inflammatory skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, acne, and hidradenitis suppurativa.
  • Shawn G. Kwatra, MD (Johns Hopkins University) Inflammatory Itch and the Skin Barrier in Skin of Color. This session will focus on health disparities and precision medicine in chronic pruritic diseases, with a focus on the skin barrier, atopic dermatitis, prurigo nodularis and psoriasis.
  • Angel Byrd, MD, PhD (Howard University) Define ways in which social determinants of health intersect with Hidradenitis Suppurativa immunobiology. This session aims to improve outcomes in skin diseases by leveraging the current understanding of Hidradenitis Suppurativa pathophysiology as well as highlighting unmet needs in the field.
  • Donald Glass, MD, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) Explore keloid research including germline genetics, genome wide association studies (GWAS), epigenetics, immunobiology and wound-healing, the role of the microenvironment, and available in vitro model systems.

Target Audiences:

Practicing clinicians in dermatology, rheumatology, oncology; new and established investigators in dermatology, biology, and anthropology; dermatology residents; post-doctoral scholars; population scientists; community health experts; pathologists.

The breakdown of attendees with a PhD and MD shows that clinicians and researchers attend this conference in comparable numbers, meeting our goal to bridge the gap between research and clinical care and create a multi-disciplinary event.
  • Past attendees have provided the following feedback:
    • 95% of respondents had met researchers or clinicians with whom they might consult or collaborate.
    • 92% of surveyed attendees said they learned new information and strategies that they can apply to work or practice.
    • 98% of attendees indicated they had learned novel ideas/strategies to treat skin conditions.
    • 97% of survey respondents rated the contribution to their research knowledge as excellent or good.
    • 30% of survey respondents indicated they were practicing MDs/DOs in the medical field.