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Q&A Spotlight: Dr. Dina Began

Author: The Dermatology Specialists

Dina Began The Dermatology Specialists

Dr. Dina Began brings passionate care and versatile expertise to her role as a board-certified dermatologist at The Dermatology Specialists. Named a Castle Connolly Top Doctor, her specialities include acne, rosacea, cosmetic dermatology and procedures among others. Dr. Began holds the distinction of being part of a small group of dermatologists in the United States to be certified in both dermatology and internal medicine.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Began completed an accelerated B.S./M.D. program, graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Began graduated from Albany Medical College and then went on to complete her Internal Medicine Residency at Albany Medical and Montefiore Medical Center and her dermatology training at the Indiana University School of Medicine where she served as Chief Resident.

She later served as Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. She sat on the Executive Board of the New York University Medical Center and today is on the voluntary teaching staff at the Kimberly and Eric Waldman Department of Dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Among Dr. Began’s achievements, she has received the Irwin Lubowe Fellowship for outstanding academic scholarship and the NYU Full Time Dermatology Faculty of the Year Award in 2001. She also earned the Special Recognition Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Unified Division of Dermatology in 2014 for outstanding mentorship of dermatology residents, medical students and colleagues.

We sat down with Dr. Began to learn more about her background in dermatology and her extensive knowledge of medical and cosmetic dermatology.

How did you become interested in dermatology?

I became interested in dermatology at a very young age. It stemmed from my love of science, but also my passion for life and its preservation. Growing up, I knew many family members and acquaintances who lived with and died of cancer. When I struggled with acne as a child, visiting the dermatologist offered a hopeful and positive experience in the medical field compared to seeing someone suffering from cancer in a hospital. Dermatology was a ray of sunshine.

I was also fortunate enough to train with a wonderful dermatologist whose bedside manner, excellent acumen and knowledge really inspired my interest within the field. This experience led me to my passion and desire to do what I do today.

How does your background in internal medicine impact your dermatological career?

I remember giving a presentation on Leonardo DaVinci in grade school and learning how his expertise encompassed several different areas — science, art, medicine, tech. I later realized dermatology incorporates all these areas too; we’re medical doctors, but we also use technological innovations and get creative in how we personalize treatments for our patients.

Internal medicine gives me one more layer to add to that palette. It allows me to gauge what underlying diseases may be responsible for certain skin conditions, and how a patient’s skin may behave based on changes in diet, behavior, life stressors, etc. I feel very lucky to have that training because the knowledge is priceless.

Can you tell us about your long-standing interest with lasers?

My interest in lasers stems from my background in science. I attended an engineering school where I learned from expert teachers that excelled in physics. That scientific background has given me a deeper understanding of the laser devices we use every day in dermatologic treatments. New technologies and laser advancements are being introduced all the time to our field, and I’m fortunate to have a strong understanding of the intricacies involved.

What innovations are you most excited about in the dermatological field?

The medical field is constantly evolving, and I believe dermatologists have to be life-long learners. I’ve certainly seen significant improvements in the treatments and techniques we offer patients compared to when I was in my residency. It’s exciting to be a part of that journey.

Treatments like Botox will always stand the test of time, but as we incorporate more technological advancements, it’s becoming clear that we’re really just at the earliest stages of our technological capabilities. I don’t know if it will be achieved in my lifetime, but I’m excited for genetic testing tools to become so robust that we can make skin cancer diagnoses without a full-body screening.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m an animal lover and I have a cocker spaniel who is a survivor of AIHA. Watching her resilience as she’s healed was a very rewarding experience.

This same passion for animals has also inspired my newest interest: bird watching. One of my earliest mentors is a regular bird watcher and I’ve always wondered what the fascination was. Now that I’ve done it myself, I completely understand!

In my spare time, I also love writing and oil painting.