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Raising Awareness for Icthyosis: Dr. Andrea Rustad

Raising Awareness for Icthyosis: Dr. Andrea Rustad
We decided to feature dermatologist Andrea Rustad, MD in a spotlight, on Rare Disease Day, Feb. 29.

Table of Contents

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a PGY1 resident going into dermatology, with a special interest in pediatric dermatology.

I am originally from Minnesota, went to college at Boston University where I majored in Chemistry and minored in Dance, French, and Biology.

I graduated from medical school in 2023 from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and matched in dermatology at the University of Wisconsin!

 

Any interesting story from your medical journey?

I had the amazing chance to combine my French studies with dermatology and do a global health rotation in Strasbourg, France in my fourth year of medical school. I first discovered my interest in pediatric dermatology when I volunteered at Camp Discovery in Minnesota for children with skin conditions, which motivated me to explore the field with research, rotations, and volunteering while in medical school.

Outside of medicine, I am a dancer and perform with a local dance group as well as take classes on my own, I teach barre fitness classes, and love to bake and cook and explore restaurants.

 

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2. Why did you create the specific post/reel for this spotlight?

(Note: you can watch the reel right below this reply)

February 29 is Rare Disease Day, so this would be the perfect time for a spotlight discussing rare genetic skin diseases such as ichthyosis!

I have been involved with research and advocacy for ichthyosis since even before beginning medical school, and wrote a children’s book called Skin-vincible to raise awareness for ichthyosis! I would love this book to be spotlighted to celebrate diversity in skin, and hope to encourage readers to purchase the book, as the profits fundraise for the Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types (FIRST).

 

 

Tell us more about your side ventures: your research project and book

I am finalizing a research project on bullying and its psychosocial consequences on children with ichthyosis and their caregivers.

Through research and creating my book, I have worked closely with FIRST, learning from many wonderful members of the ichthyosis community. It is really powerful for young people with ichthyosis to have positive media representation, and I have received many touching messages from around the world from those who have read Skin-vincible and what it means to them or their family!

Doctors also should recognize that investigating and addressing social factors is very important when treating patients with skin conditions. People with ichthyosis, especially children and adolescents, experience a lot of bullying and mistreatment, and a lot of this stems from a lack of public awareness about the condition – for example, strangers often think it is a contagious disease.

The book is great for families and kids with or without a visible difference, and teaches kids to stand up against bullying, and celebrate their unique qualities without being defined by a medical condition.

(You can view, and purchase, Dr. Rustad’s book through Amazon, here.)

 

3. What’s your favorite part of Instagram?

My favorite part of Instagram is connecting with people who share my interests, and having a way to share evidence-based, knowledgeable information about health and skin in a creative way!

 

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4. What is the goal of your online work?

I want to raise awareness for ichthyosis and other rare skin conditions, combat mistreatment and stereotypes of people with skin conditions, and provide evidence-based, knowledgeable information about health and skin.

There is so much problematic misinformation online about health and skincare and skin conditions from people with no medical background, and it is important for those of us with medical training to combat this by having a presence and sharing truthful information in a way that is accessible to the public.

I also aim to be an advocate for health equity and access, inclusivity in health and society, and human rights, which are interrelated and have a huge impact on healthcare outcomes.

Follow Dr. Andrea Rustad on Instagram here.

Andrea Rustad, MD

Andrea Rustad, MD

I am a dermatology resident and also a fitness instructor, dancer, and recipe creator!

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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Andrea Rustad, MD
Andrea Rustad, MD

I am a dermatology resident and also a fitness instructor, dancer, and recipe creator!

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