April 11 2018

Skinsense Dermatology is Dr. Nicole Hawkins, Dr. Monica Miliszewskand i Dr. Angela Law

Although it may not be an ideal situation for everyone, getting to see a dermatologist in Saskatchewan just got a whole lot better. The demand for these specialist physicians is great and up until a year and a half ago, getting to see one in this province took some time. Now, thanks to three dermatologists who call Saskatoon home, the wait to see a one is shorter.

“We’ve (our clinic) only been around for about a year and half, but on any given day each of us see between 30 and 50 patients. It is busy. But, we see something new every day and that is really what keeps us on our toes. It is challenging, but rewarding knowing that your patient interactions are making a difference,” said Dr. Nicole Hawkins, part owner of SkinSense Dermatology.

Making a difference with the people they treat is something that Dr. Hawkins, Dr. Angela Law and Dr. Monica Miliszewski feel great about. Since they’ve set up their practice here in Saskatoon they’ve noticed something different compared to other places they’ve practiced – the people. Because each of the doctors completed their residency requirements at different schools they notice a difference in how patients here interact with them compared to other parts of the country.

“Each of us has practiced in different locations throughout Canada as we completed our residencies at different universities,” said Dr. Law. “The one thing we all noticed about practicing here is the people. When we consult or treat a patient, you notice right away that they really appreciate what you’re doing for them; they listen to what you have to say; they ask lots of questions; and, they really place value on what you’re doing. That is something I think is unique to Saskatchewan and it feels good.”

Each one of the doctors at Skinsense Dermatology says they owe a lot to their mentors: Dr. Duane Lichtenwald and Dr. Peter Hull. Dr. Hull is currently the Head of the Division of Clinical Dermatology & Cutaneous Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, but was previously at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Lichtenwald is in the same building as Skinsense, just a few floors above. While they may not interact with their mentors every single day, they do appreciate how much of an impact these two physicians had on their career choice.

“There is no upcoming dermatologist in the province that has not learned something from Dr. Hull or Lichtenwald,” said Dr. Miliszewski. “They have been great mentors, and in fact when there’s only one or two of us here in the office and we are seeing a difficult or challenging case we are easily able to ask Dr. Litchenwald for help. “On any given day these three dermatologists see people from all walks of life. They have patients who live downtown and can walk right to their office. They also see patients who live in the far reaches of the province, who have waited a very long time to see a specialist and travel hundreds of miles just to do so; and, they see worried parents who have a child with a rash or skin abrasion that needs attention. One common diagnosis these physicians believe is not quite as prevalent in other provinces is skin cancer.

“We see a lot of people with skin cancer. When I say that I think the common perception, at least here in Saskatchewan, is that it affects someone who has worked outside a lot and hasn’t used sunblock. While that may be the case in a lot of instances, it is certainly not the only reason. Unfortunately, we see a lot of younger people come through our doors with skin cancer because of tanning beds,” said Dr. Hawkins. “That is something I think all of us, whether we’re a parent or not, should pay closer attention to.”

These three dermatologists have their hands full with a busy practice and family life as well. Each one of them relies on each other to balance their professional and personal lives. In addition to practicing medicine, the three of them teach at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). This means that the clinic gets to take in medical residents from other specialties to learn and show other physicians what exactly dermatologists do on a daily basis. Combined, it makes for a very busy clinic with very busy lives for its three doctors. All three admit they wouldn’t be able to do all of this in any other city in Canada and still maintain the work-life balance that they have here in Saskatoon.

“My husband is from Toronto,” said Dr. Hawkins. “He has been welcomed, accepted, he has a great job with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan – how much more Saskatchewan can you get! Our daycare is literally 10 minutes away from my office and I can run back and forth from here to there if I have to. It wouldn’t be easy to balance things like that anywhere else.”

“We get the best of everything here: we earn a good living, we can manage our family and the workload and we are tied into the community,” I like that about Saskatoon,” said Dr. Miliszewski.

“Setting up a practice here was a great idea. We were all just finishing our residency, we wanted to practice dermatology and we liked the idea of coming to Saskatoon. We found this place, which was a vacant physician’s office at the time, did some minor remodeling and here we are. We have a great clinic that we’re proud of, said Dr Law.”

If you want to find out more about these three Saskatchewan physicians, and the clinic they practice out of, please visit their website www.skinsensedermatology.ca

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