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Toronto to host Canada’s first scientific symposium on hidradenitis suppurativa

Registration has opened for the first North American scientific symposium on hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), which will be held in Toronto on Oct. 22 and 23. The goal of the symposium is to bring together leading academic scientists, clinicians and researchers to share their experiences with the skin condition and to discuss the latest HS-related innovations and research.

“Hidradenitis suppurativa, or acne inversa, is a disease for which awareness is growing. Until recently it was an orphan disease,” said Dr. Afsaneh Alavi, assistant professor of dermatology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and director of the wound healing fellowship at Women’s College Hospital. Dr. Alavi is a member of the symposium’s organizing committee.

“It is a joint meeting of Canadian and U.S. HS foundations. It will present the most recent scientific work that has been done in North America,” she said.

HS is an interdisciplinary topic, said Dr. Alavi, and she said that she hopes a range of medical professionals attend, including dermatologists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, primary care physicians, and nurses. Industry members and patients are also encouraged to come, she said.

“We have multiple panels of experts, we have a patient forum where patients can discuss their perspective and ask questions of experts. We have a group from public health coming to discuss HS as a model of chronic disease and how the lessons that we learned from diabetes and other diseases we can apply here to decrease the burden of HS,” said Dr. Alavi.

Speakers in the symposium’s scientific program include:

● Professor Falk G. Bechara, Head of the Department of Dermatologic Surgery, and senior physician of the Department of Dermatology, Allergology and Venereology at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

● Dr. Howard Hu, inaugural Dean and professor of Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Medicine of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto

● Dr. Alexa Boer Kimball, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC, Inc. at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts

● Dr. Errol Prens, dermatologist-immunologist from the Netherlands, medical advisor of the Netherlands Psoriasis Society and the Netherlands Hidradenitis Suppurativa patients organization councillor of the International Psoriasis Council and a board member of the European Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation.

In addition to learning about the most recent treatment plans and research about HS, Dr. Alavi said she hopes that discussion at the symposium leads to the development of an algorithm for management of HS patients.

“Plus, networking will make it easier for all of us to see who has interests in HS, where we can refer our patients,” she said.

“I am also very excited that for the first time we have a patient forum, where we will have six or seven patients that are coming to discuss their perspective, and what they expect from us,” Dr. Alavi said.

Anyone interested in attending the symposium can register online at the Foundation's website:

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