History of OHSU Dermatology

The OHSU Department of Dermatology stands on the pillars of an extensive and rich history of dermatological pioneering. Names such as Kingery, Fitzpatrick, Lerner, Lobitz, Montagna, Storrs, and Hanifin, have significantly shaped the specialty as we know it today. It is this pioneering spirit of dermatological advancement excellence that still drives the department today, as we work to honor those who came before us.

Since the founding of the medical school in 1887, dermatology has been a part of the curriculum. In 1922, dermatology was formally recognized, making it one of the earliest established Dermatology-specific departments in the country. In 1929, Lyle B. Kingery, M.D., took on the leadership of the division. From that time to now, the contributions of the department to the Pacific Northwest and to dermatology overall have been extensive. 

Our esteemed faculty and staff provide exceptional care to patients in the Pacific Northwest and beyond and have contributed important advances to the understanding and treatment of many dermatologic diseases. Our hope is that our work makes a difference in your life.

  • Dermatology emerges from internal medicine and is formally recognized as a division of medicine.
  • Lyle B. Kingery, M.D., is appointed head of the dermatology division, a volunteer position.
  • Patient care is provided at the People’s Institute and Portland Free Dispensary, the school’s main outpatient facility at Fourth and Burnside.
  • Increasing activity within dermatology provides for the first dermatology resident to be trained through volunteer clinical faculty (1940).
  • First full-time professors hired for dermatology division (1952).
  • New head of division takes over: Thomas Fitzpatrick, M.D.
  • The Medical School Teaching Hospital opens on Marquam Hill and most downtown clinics are relocated to the hill-top campus.
  • Research efforts continue to build, as does resident training.
  • Walter C. Lobitz Jr., M.D., is hired as new head of division in 1959. He leads for nearly 20 years. 
  • Five years after Lobitz becomes chair, the faculty grows from two to six, and the number of residents in training increases to 12. Frances J. Storrs, M.D., the first female resident, is accepted into the full program.
  • Research continues to grow, and a professor, Richard Dobson, M.D., is brought in to help its continued development.
  • By the 1970’s, the department faculty includes up to 10 professors, multiple fellows and has educated nearly 100 residents.
  • The Division of Dermatology leaves the Department of Medicine to become a department in its own right.
  • Some of today’s experts join the department: Clifton R. White Jr., M.D., the department’s first dermatopathologist, Frank Parker, M.D., who takes over as chairman in 1978, and Jon M. Hanifin, M.D., now one of the world’s experts in atopic dermatitis.
  • Basic science research continues to flourish with increasing collaborations, including William Montagna, Ph.D., the new head of the Oregon Primate Center, a comparative cutaneous biologist who has worked with Lobitz at Brown University. 
  • The department’s clinical practice grows steadily. Additional expertise is brought in with the hiring of Lynne H. Morrison, M.D., who has just completed an immunodermatology fellowship, and Neil A. Swanson, M.D., a dermatologic surgeon with expertise in Mohs micrographic surgery.
  • Neil Swanson, M.D., takes over chairmanship of the department and additional surgeons are brought in to help support the growing surgical needs of the department and the community. (1994)
  • Molly Kulesz-Martin, Ph.D., a cancer researcher is hired to direct research within the department.
  • The department clinical offices are relocated to the 4th floor of the Outpatient Clinic on Marquam Hill.
  • Clinical expertise and patient numbers continue to grow with more than 25,000 patients seen each year.
  • Clinical offices are relocated to the Center for Health & Healing in the new South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • Additional researchers and clinicians are hired, including Alfons L. Krol, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., a pediatric dermatologist. Faculty grows to 20+ physicians and researchers.
  • The Center for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis, a multidisciplinary center, is developed by Andrew Blauvelt, M.D. and rheumatologist, Atul Deodhar, M.D.
  • Sub-specialty expertise continues to grow: Anna A. Bar, M.D., provides surgical and cosmetic expertise; Eric Simpson, M.D., has special interests in atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis and Kevin P. White, M.D., adds to the dermatopathology resources of the department.
  • Residents trained number more than 200.
  • Kim Sanders, P.A.-C., joins the department as the first physician assistant on faculty.
  • Phoebe Rich, M.D., heads the new sub-specialty clinic focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of complex nail disorders.
  • Alvin R. Solomon, M.D., joins the faculty, providing dermatopathology consult services.


  • Alfons L. Krol, M.D., F.R.C.P.C. becomes Interim Chairman, 2010.
  • Samuel Hopkins, M.D. is recruited to provide the full range of general medical dermatology services, including acne and skin cancer.
  • Heather Onoday, R.N., M.N., F.N.P., a long-time part of the dermatologic surgery team, increases her scope of care for patients with surgical, medical and cosmetic needs, including providing laser procedures.
  • Upon completing her Pediatric Dermatology fellowship, Sabra L. Leitenberger, M.D., stays on as faculty and continues to work with Dr. Krol.
  • Patricia Norris, M.D. takes over the Contact Clinic after Frances Storrs, M.D. retires from the department.
  • Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., joins the department as the new department chair and the director of the Melanoma Research Program at the Knight Cancer Institute.
  • Nicole Fett, M.D., certified in both internal medicine and dermatology, joins faculty and takes over as the Residency Program Director.
  • Upon Clifton White's retirement, his son, Kevin P. White, M.D., takes over as the head of dermatopathology.
  • Upon completion of residency and fellowship at OHSU, Justin Leitenberger, M.D., joins faculty and co-directs dermatologic surgery, as well as co-directs the High-Risk Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Clinic.
  • Faculty continues to expand, reaching nearly 30 board-certified dermatologists, and 40+ faculty members overall.
  • The department gains several faculty emeritus, after the well-earned retirements of Drs. Frances Storrs, and former chairmen Neil Swanson, M.D., and Alfons Krol, M.D.
  • Chair Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., launches a formal War on Melanoma™, an all-fronts effort to reduce melanoma related deaths in Oregon and beyond.
Department of Dermatology History Book

From the book, OHSU Department of Dermatology 1922-2010


Usually the background and history of a department in an academic institution is carried down in a vague oral tradition, very much as societies without the written word passed stories to their successors. Documentation, sparse as it was, rested mostly in local libraries or in the memories of those around to recall. Little priority was devoted to orderly gathering and sorting available information to be presented on paper.

Here is a marvelous tale of a small subspecialty teaching program that over a century gradually became one of the finest centers for dermatology in the nation. Now it is all on paper, the result of a great effort initiated by Neil Swanson, M.D., and led by Molly Blauvelt with the able assistance of writer Lee Lewis Husk and Sara Piasecki, the OHSU history librarian who know how to find things. Their combined talents are responsible for gathering and sorting the background events leading up to today's OHSU Department of Dermatology.

I have been around to witness this development, first with my father, Lyle Kingery, the first chairman, and then as a clinical faculty member for the last 50 years. I find it exciting to see the story told that allows us to know some of the facts and faces that led to our department today.

Fredrick A.J. Kingery, M.D.
Affiliate Emeritus Professor of Dermatology, OHSU

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