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Q&A Spotlight: Kristen Franceschina

Author: The Dermatology Specialists

Kristen Franceschina The Dermatology Specialists

Specializing in both medical and cosmetic dermatology, Kristen Franceschina brings compassionate care, passion for knowledge and personal insight to her role as a Physician Assistant at The Dermatology Specialists.

A native of Long Island, New York, Kristen relocated to Baltimore, Maryland to study at Loyola University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Philosophy. Afterward, Kristen spent a year working as a Medical Assistant in urgent care, learning a vast amount about common disease treatments including numerous dermatological conditions.

Kristen graduated with a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant studies from the Bronx’s Mercy College. Soon after, she began at The Dermatology Specialists where she completed a rigorous training program under the leadership of Dr. Buka and The Dermatology Specialists team.

Kristen is certified through the NCCPA and belongs to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA).

We spoke with Kristen to learn more about her background and passion for dermatology.

What inspired you to become a Physician Assistant in dermatology?

When I first went to college, I knew right away I was interested in science. I loved biology in high school and I had a teacher who inspired me to major in the field. I was also interested in healthcare, but it wasn’t until my Sophomore and Junior years at Loyola that my mother (who is a Registered Nurse) suggested the Physician Assistant field. The opportunity to work as a mid-level clinician and collaborate with other healthcare professionals, while getting to interact closely with patients, seemed ideal.

I had the opportunity to shadow a couple of Physician Assistants in the hospital where my mother worked and the experience opened my eyes to the inspiring and supportive bonds that PAs can have with their patients.

Are there any specific aspects of the Physician Assistant role that you particularly enjoy?

Physician Assistants here enjoy a high level of autonomy. I love being able to work independently and one-on-one with patients, yet still have the ability to confer with other PAs and Dermatologists on staff when needed. That unique set-up means each patient gets the most personalized care possible and the attention they deserve. It’s one of the best parts of working at The Dermatology Specialists.

Are there any dermatological treatments or innovations that excite you?

One innovation that has really inspired me is the first injectable medication approved for our atopic dermatitis patients: Dupixent. In my time at The Dermatology Specialists, I’ve seen it transform patients’ lives. With an injection every two weeks, their symptoms are dramatically improved, which has a profound, positive psychosocial impact. Since a long list of biologics already exist for psoriasis, this biologic medication stands out and has proven to be a game changer for our patients who have previously struggled with atopic dermatitis.

Are there any dermatological subspecialities you’ve developed an interest in?

I have a passion for helping patients with acne. It may seem like a simple and one-dimensional issue, but there are many factors that can contribute to this mainstream dermatological problem. Rarely are two situations exactly the same — I see teenagers and 40-year-olds with very different causes for their acne flare-ups.

For that reason, individualizing acne treatment is super important and keeps things interesting. For example, my conversation with the 40 year old female with intermittent hormonal acne will vary greatly from the list of available therapies I suggest for the 15-year-old male with nodulocystic acne. These two patients will have different concerns and expectations, and it’s my job to listen with compassion while working towards their skincare goals.

I struggled a lot with acne as a teenager. I had to go on Accutane my senior year of high school, so I use that as a conversation point to help make the experience easier for patients, and empathize with their struggles. My experience with acne is one of the reasons I went into dermatology in the first place. Just because it’s common doesn’t make it any less important.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m really into hot yoga. I enjoy it not only for its physical benefits, but also because of the mindfulness it promotes. It’s like hitting the reset button. For me, maintaining a clear head is especially important when taking care of patients every day. It’s something that has been extremely helpful throughout my professional experience.

I also love listening to murder-mystery podcasts during my commute – it’s a great way to wake up!

On my days out of the office, I frequently visit my family and my dog who live a short drive away in Suffolk County, Long Island.