International Psoriasis Council

Advancing Knowledge. Improving Care.

Advancing Knowledge. Improving Care.

Shining a Spotlight on our 2022 Fellows: Get to Know the Future Leaders in Psoriasis – Leandro Leite, MD, MSc

Leandro Leite, MD, MSc

Hospital São Lucas da PUCRS

Porto Alegre, Brazil

Bio

Can you tell us briefly about your background and what led you to apply for this program?

Since my time in medical school, I’ve had a deep fascination for inflammatory diseases. Opting for dermatology as my specialization, my passion for understanding psoriasis only grew stronger.

Upon completing my residency, an exciting opportunity presented itself: spearheading the establishment of an outpatient clinic for a residency program. During this time, I actively contributed to a protocol integrating biologicals into the Brazilian Public Health System, specifically tailored for treating psoriasis.

In 2021, I first engaged with the International Psoriasis Council (IPC) by participating in the IPC Masterclass for Latin America. Because of my excellent experience, I sought to deepen my involvement and applied for the IPC’s International Fellowship Program, and I was happily approved.

How has this program helped you grow personally and professionally?

Participating in this program was a life-changing experience. Throughout the virtual classes, we thoroughly studied and discussed the most pertinent topics related to psoriasis, benefiting from the expertise of professionals from various parts of the world.

Even though I had daily experience with patients and participated in resident training on psoriasis, I needed guidance from more experienced professionals. The online discussions and the on-site experience were fundamental in giving me confidence and helping me make everyday therapeutic decisions.

“Participation in the IPC Fellowship Program was fundamental in dealing with the complex and challenging cases I have encountered in this hospital.” 

How has the program prepared you for your future career goals?

Recently, I assumed the position in the Dermatology Department at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, the largest hospital in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, where I currently reside, and one of the largest in Brazil.

Participation in the IPC Fellowship Program was fundamental in dealing with the complex and challenging cases I have encountered in this hospital.

Can you share a specific project or accomplishment you're proud of from your time in the program?

The knowledge acquired in the program led to a deep dive into the realm of systemic manifestations of psoriasis, facilitating my presentation of a symposium on cardiovascular risk in psoriasis at the 2022 Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD) Congress.

Furthermore, in collaboration with my mentor, IPC Board Member Catherine Smith, we are currently engaged in research focused on treating psoriasis and utilizing biologics by dermatologists in Brazil. Following a review of the existing literature, we formulated a comprehensive questionnaire. Subsequently, we secured approval from the Brazilian Dermatology Society, enabling the distribution of the questionnaire via email through SBD to dermatologists nationwide. This initiative aims to garner insights into the perspectives of dermatologists regarding the treatment of psoriasis.

Preliminary data has already yielded significant insights. Notably, approximately 35% of dermatologists do not incorporate biological therapy into their treatment plans. Additionally, we have successfully gathered data elucidating the underlying factors influencing dermatologists’ decisions to refrain from prescribing biologics.

Moreover, we are progressing in conducting research with patients to understand how they describe the control of their diseases and their awareness of biological therapy. This multifaceted approach seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of psoriasis treatment dynamics from both the healthcare provider and patient perspectives.

How has the program fostered collaboration and networking among IPC Board, Councilors, and Fellows?

It was excellent! I had the privilege of engaging with esteemed experts from around the globe, fostering connections that hold the potential for collaborative endeavors in the forthcoming years of my career.

Can you describe the mentorship and support you've received from the program faculty, IPC staff, and other IPC Fellows?

Throughout the year, we received regular online classes covering essential topics about understanding and managing psoriasis. These activities were divided into classes and co-mentoring sessions.

The six classes covered systemic manifestations of psoriasis, infections and psoriasis, leadership, optimization of treatment, and personalized care. I participated in co-mentorings about psoriasis and cardiovascular disease, complex cases, and pediatric psoriasis.

Additionally, the IPC staff played a crucial role in facilitating our involvement in IPC events and symposia during various meetings and providing support with the on-site experiences.

My on-site experience occurred at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology in the Tower Wing of Guy’s Hospital in London. This institute serves as a referral center, receiving complex cases from other specialists and tertiary centers, primarily from the South of England and the entire country. The substantial patient volume and the opportunity to observe the care administered by highly skilled professionals made it an excellent environment to train and learn.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for this program?

I encourage you to give it a shot—it’s truly uplifting. If it doesn’t work out on the initial attempt, don’t be disheartened; persist and try again.

In what ways do you think this program is unique and sets itself apart from other programs?

This program stands out for its uniqueness, and my profound gratitude extends to the entire staff and advisors for their unwavering dedication to delivering top-notch training on the most important topics related to psoriasis.

The in-person and online events allowed interaction and networking with leading experts from around the world. Undoubtedly, this experience has altered my perspective on psoriasis, reshaping my approach to the disease. Today, I feel more capable of dealing with challenges associated with managing patients with psoriasis and addressing adversities linked to treatment.

If you are a young dermatologist or researcher passionate about improving the lives of people with psoriasis and want to expand your horizons, consider applying to participate in IPC’s International Fellowship Program. Applications for the 2025 program will open in September 2024.

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