Dr. Mark Lowitt, a dermatologist at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, has been practicing in the field for 22 years. What does your job entail? The patient care part of my job involves medical care of thousands of different skin conditions. The surgical part of my job includes treatment of skin cancers and suspicious moles. Much of what I do is actually teaching: Most importantly, I teach my patients. I also teach other doctors about dermatology: Internal medicine residents from GBMC spend time in my office seeing patients with me, I go down to the University of Maryland School of Medicine to give unknown slide quizzes to the dermatology residents, and I am often invited to teach practicing physicians in a variety of specialties about dermatology as it relates to their fields. As a physician in solo practice I am also a small business owner, and in that capacity I manage the day-to-day and year-to-year elements of running the business and working with my wonderful staff. What kind of schooling or training did you go through? It all started with 4 years of college, with a set of premedical science requirements. Then came medical school, four years of intense learning that results in ones transformation into a physician. After this, I did a three-year residency in internal medicine, followed by another three-year training program in dermatology. What inspired you to this career? From early childhood, I knew that I wanted to be a doctor. My specific career goals changed many times as I moved through my training. I ultimately decided on internal medicine. During my training in Boston I had the good fortune to learn from an inspiring dermatology professor who conducted weekly derm rounds in the hospital. I found skin conditions to be challenging and interesting. The dermatologists I met were bright and cheerful and truly happy in their work. What do you like best about your job? Its a privilege to have the opportunity to sit down and talk to people about things that are really worrying them. I get to take care of patients of all ages: I am called to see babies who are only hours old and I have several patients who are over 100. I opened my practice at GBMC seven years ago, and in that time I have cared for more than 21,000 patients. As I try to help each person overcome his or her challenges I feel that I am fulfilling my own mission or ministry. What are the challenges? Facing the external challenges and pressures that come from a health care system in crisis and transition is one of the hardest parts of the job. Drug companies, for example, stop making drugs that are effective and safe because they dont bring the company enough profit. These changes impact me and my patients on a daily basis. Physicians are all trying our best to cope with the ground moving under our feet. Staying focused on the most important elements of what we do taking care of people and keeping their best interests foremost our minds is how I am managing. Salary Median salary is $386,068, according to a 2011 survey by the American Medical Group Association.
Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun