Exceptional Women in Medicine

Memphis Flyer posted "Exceptional Women in Medicine" and features Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel and includes information and highlights from her career as a dermatologist.

Good health is the baseline. For everything. How we work, how we play, what we choose to eat, where (and how often) we travel. The Mid-South has an abundance of hospitals and clinics that exist for the shared mission of a thriving community: wellness. Within those institutions, though, are women who have made it their own life mission to heal the sick and keep those blessed with good health on the right path, regardless of life stage.

Let this year's list of Exceptional Women in Medicine be your first resource should you be in need of care, be it a sprained wrist or lingering stomach discomfort. These specialists have been chosen among peers as the best in their field. Your good health is their baseline.


Castle Connolly Top Doctors is a healthcare research company and the official source for Top Doctors for the past 25 years. Castle Connolly's established nomination survey, research, screening, and selection process, under the direction of an MD, involves many hundreds of thousands of physicians as well as academic medical centers, specialty hospitals, and regional and community hospitals all across the nation.

The online nominations process — located at castleconnolly.com/nominations — is open to all licensed physicians in America who are able to nominate physicians in any medical specialty and in any part of the country, as well as indicate whether the nominated physician is, in their opinion, among the best in their region in their medical specialty or among the best in the nation in their medical specialty. Once nominated, Castle Connolly's physician-led team of researchers follow a rigorous screening process to select top doctors on both the national and regional levels.

Careful screening of doctors' educational and professional experience is essential before final selection is made among those physicians most highly regarded by their peers. The result — we identify the top doctors in America and provide you, the consumer, with detailed information about their education, training, and special expertise in our paperback guides, national and regional magazine "Top Doctors" features, and online directories.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

Physicians selected for inclusion in this magazine's "Top Doctors" feature also appear online at castleconnolly.com, or in conjunction with other Castle Connolly Top Doctors databases online on other sites and/or in print.

Castle Connolly was acquired by Everyday Health Group (EHG), one of the world's most prominent digital healthcare companies, in late 2018. EHG, a recognized leader in patient and provider education, attracts an engaged audience of over 53 million health consumers and over 780,000 U.S. practicing physicians and clinicians to its premier health and wellness websites. EHG combines social listening data and analytics expertise to deliver highly personalized healthcare consumer content and effective patient engagement solutions. EHG's vision is to drive better clinical and health outcomes through decision-making informed by highly relevant data and analytics. Healthcare professionals and consumers are empowered with trusted content and services through the Everyday Health Group's flagship brands including Everyday Health®, What to Expect®, MedPage Today®, Health eCareers®, PRIME® Education, and our exclusive partnership with MayoClinic.org® and The Mayo Clinic Diet.® Everyday Health Group is a division of J2 Global Inc. (NASDAQ: JCOM), and is headquartered in New York City.

The Exceptional Women in Medicine (EWIM) award was created by Castle Connolly in order to recognize female physicians who are often underrepresented among award recipients from various aspects of medicine.

EWIM physicians have greatly contributed to healthcare through clinical care, research, community service, education, and/or leadership

EWIM physicians have made significant outreach efforts to underserved communities.

EWIM physicians improved health outcomes for issues specific to women, such as increased childbirth options, better diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, heart disease in women, gender specific hip and knee replacements, etc.

Dr. Purvisha J. Patel, M.D.

Dermatology — Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Associates

Born in London, Dr. Purvisha Patel spent most of her first 12 years in Wales before her parents — refugees from Uganda — seized an opportunity to run a motel in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She spent her formative years in Ashland, Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia as both an undergraduate and medical student. She completed her dermatology training at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, where she served her residency under Dr. William Rosenberg. ("Dr. Rosenberg was an amazing thinker," says Patel. "He had skin-care lines and patents, which inspired my own career.")

"As an immigrant family, [my parents] thought being a doctor was the ultimate career choice," she says. "Seeing my parents work so hard, never having a vacation ... you want to do whatever it takes to make them happy. I loved science, and I was good at it. I often took care of our grandparents, who would come and live with us. I was a caregiver, so doing medicine flowed naturally from that."

Patel describes her decision to specialize in dermatology as a "eureka moment," one that came with a serious dose of heartache. "My parents were thinking cardiology or neurosurgery, maybe pediatrics," she says. "Nobody [in my family] really knew what dermatology was. But skin is the largest organ in the body. I feel like a Sherlock Holmes of medicine. I can tell if a patient is vitamin-deficient, if they have thyroid disease, diabetes, if they're taking their medicine. I can see what people are doing for hobbies, if they're swimming in a pool, what kind of pets they have. Before we had lab tests, this was medicine. Looking at a person's body for signs and symptoms of disease."

Patel's father died at age 57 from skin cancer, just as she was choosing her specialty. "I chose to be a skin-cancer surgeon," she reflects, "when my dad looked at me and asked, 'You could have gotten rid of this before it spread?' That's how I knew. It was an easy decision."

Dermatology offers about the closest thing a doctor can find to instant results. An ailment can be diagnosed, addressed, and often removed in a single visit. "A patient gets to see a disease go away," Patel emphasizes, "and that's really gratifying. We get to see the progress of treatment. It's super fun."

Reflecting on two decades as a dermatologist, Patel notes advances in technology — as with any field of medicine — but stands by the same general approach she studied at the turn of the century. "When it comes to skin cancer," she explains, "the answer is to still take it out. The procedure I do most — micrographic surgery — is considered cutting-edge, but it hasn't changed much since I left my training. When it comes to medicine, we're using immunotherapies now for melanoma treatment. Science has changed the field, but it's still kind of ancient in its roots."

The coronavirus pandemic has and will impact dermatology, but Patel already sees progress in the area of remote treatment. "We've been utilizing telemedicine throughout the lockdown," says Patel. "It has a good place in dermatology when it comes to follow-up visits, acne and rashes, or refilling prescriptions. Still, when doing a full skin exam — looking for skin cancer — seeing the person [in the same room] is the gold standard." — Frank Murtaugh

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