Hadassah Lurbur ’24

Dermatology Specialists, Boulder, CO

Dermatology Specialists is a dermatology practice with offices across Colorado. During my time as an intern, I trained and worked as a medical assistant under Dr. Shawn Allen ’93, the founder of the practice. Dr. Allen focuses mainly on MOHS surgery, a procedure to cure non-melanoma skin cancer, and in my first few weeks, I applied my learning on the types of skin cancer that patients were seeking treatment for and learned the basics of MOHS surgery.

Hadassah Lurbur at work.In addition to learning about different skin cancers, I also spent the first few weeks learning medical note-taking and EMA, the medical record system that the practice uses. Learning EMA allowed me to take visit notes on my own and properly record every aspect of a patient’s visit and procedure.

As time went on, I became more comfortable assisting with MOHS procedures and was able to room patients on my own and assist with some aspects of the procedure, including cautery and bandaging. I kept patients comfortable throughout their procedure and taught them proper wound care for their MOHS sites. During a MOHS procedure patient tissue is frozen in the lab, which is in the office, and 360-degree margins of the tissue are checked for any remaining cancer. This allows for an over 99% cure rate of basal and squamous cell carcinomas, the highest cure rate in cancer treatment. Assisting with such a powerful procedure was incredibly special, as patients often arrived for their procedure with anxiety and fear and left the clinic just a few hours later cancer free.

As an intern, I worked alongside medical assistants, many of whom were taking time after their undergrad experience to apply to medical school. Because of this, I gained a whole new understanding of the medical school application process and learned what it takes to be a competitive applicant. This new understanding will be incredibly helpful should I choose to apply to medical school in the future. Additionally, the many doctors in the practice shared their career and life paths with me, illustrating the many paths to a career as a doctor.

Moving forward, I hope to use my broadened understanding of a career as a doctor and what it takes to inform my choice of courses at Williams. From this experience I have learned how much I value hands-on and skill-based work. I also loved the problem-solving element of healthcare. While I greatly enjoyed my time at Dermatology Specialists, I have also begun thinking about other careers in the sciences that involve similar hands-on problem solving. In my upcoming classes I plan on continuing with my biology major and neuroscience concentration while shifting away from other pre-med requirement classes and exploring more computer science courses.

Finally, I would like to thank the Estate of Bruce C. Davey and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for the opportunity that allowed me to explore a new field and broaden my knowledge with this internship.