The 47th Annual Reunión, Sociedad Venezolana de Dermatología y Cirugía Dermatologíca, Valencia, Venezuela was an extraordinary event held November 9-12, 2011 in Valencia, Venezuela’s third largest city and the Carabobo state capital.
Society President Elda Giansante, Congress President Raúl Fachin Viso, Society Vice President Nahir Helena Loyo Zambrano, Secretary-General Rosanelly Roye, Treasurer José Angulo Márquez, Evaristo Arrieta (Vocal), Rolando Hernández Pérez (Past President) and Congress Scientific Committee Head Ricardo Pérez Alfonzo led an extraordinary effort with pivotal contributions by Felix J. Tapia, Congress Honorary President José R. Sardi, and Revista Dermatología Venezolana Editor Amalia Panzarelli Herrera (Fig 1).
This lofty Congress commenced in robust Venezuelan style, with many tributes to noteworthy Venezuelan colleagues. The opening ceremony included a welcoming speech by Henrique Fernando Salas Feo, the popular governor of Carabobo State. Congress President Raúl Fachin Viso and others also had the privilege of shaking the hand of Zulia state governor and future Venezuelan President Pablo Martín Pérez Álvarez (Fig 2).
Many prominent speakers shared their expertise, including international luminaries Horacio A. Cabo (Argentina), Peruvian Society of Dermatology President Lucía Canales de Delgado, Emilia Cohen Sabban (Argentina), Christine Echeverria (Argentina), Alex Ginzburg (Israel), César González (Colombia), Alberto Lavieri (Argentina), Francisco Le Voci (Brazil), Camilo Morales (Colombia), Edgar Olmos (Colombia), Peruvian Society of Dermatology Secretary-General Celia Moisés Alfaro, Ebert Quijano (Peru), Marius Rademaker (New Zealand), Robert A. Schwartz (USA), Colombian Dermatology Society President Angela Seidel, Manuel del Solar (Peru), Luiz Roberto Terzian (Brazil), and Sandra Yepes (Colombia) (Fig 3). Celia Moisés covered erythema toxicum neonatorum and other transitory neonatal disorders. Angela Seidel incisively promulgated the latest concepts of Giannoti-Crosti syndrome. Ebert Quijano elucidated the epidemiology of condylomata acuminata in children. Marius Rademaker perspicaciously advocated low-dose oral isotretinoin for acne starting with 10 mg/day and decreasing to 10 mg for 2 or 3 times a week as the acne clears, noting lengthening of therapy does increase the exposure risk in women for possible pregnancy.
He stressed that isotretinoin side effects are dose-dependent, with those utilizing doses under 0.25 mg/kg/day having a much lower incidence than those on more than 0.75 mg/gm/day. This stellar event attracted a variety of dignitaries and young colleagues. Dermatology residents lectured as well, with the finest recognized with an award and monetary prize (Fig 3).
Distinguished professors honored included Felix J. Tapia, who shared his years of research excellence in a dynamic and scholarly lecture, Antonio Rondón Lugo, and Jaime Piquero-Martín, who attended with dermatologist son Jaime Piquero-Casals, dermatologist daughter Vanessa Piquero-Casals, and dermatologist son-in-law Edgar LaRotta-Higueras and celebrated the 40th anniversary of his medical school graduation from the University of Carabobo.
Venezuelan culture, history, and beauty were also appreciated. Valencia was a fitting congress site, being Venezuela’s first and former national capital and home of its first President, Simon Bolivar’s close associate General José Antonio Páez (Fig 4). Nearby Puerto Cabello’s scenic colonial old town was also enjoyed, thanks to Antonio Rondón Lugo gracious and elegant wife Natilse Rondón Larez. The stunning natural beauty of nearby coastal Parque Nacional Morrocoy was admired, a slice of mainland with offshore islands and islets surrounded by coral reefs and superb white-sand beaches exemplified by those of Cayo Sombrero.
Culturally, the distinctively Venezuelan word or “Venezuelanismo” employed to describe this event was “chévere,” which can be translated into English as awesome.
Robert A. Schwartz MD, MPHNewark, New Jersey