Presenting Dermatology Research for Medical Students

Opportunities to Present Dermatology Research for Medical Students

Are you a medical student aspiring to be a dermatologist one day? Do you struggle to find opportunities to present your research? If so, this is the place for you.

I had a difficult time getting into research during my first year of medical school. I didn’t know what I was doing in terms of scientific writing. I didn’t know what opportunities existed to present the little research I had done. And it seemed that every time I found a conference, the abstract acceptance deadline had just passed. To help remedy that situation I’m going to list here the major dermatology conferences I have attended or submitted to over the past year or so and when the general timeline of when you need to have your abstract ready.

Florida Dermatology Conferences

Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference

Location: Orlando, Fl

Dates: January 15-18, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: November 5, 2015


Free to submit a poster. Registration is somewhat expensive though. If your poster is accepted they will give you a discount for 50% the price of registration. Prices increase closer to the date of the meeting.

giselle poster

My first ever poster presentation at the Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical conference.

South Beach Symposium

Location: Miami Beach, Fl

Dates: February 11-14, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: January 8, 2016


This conference has a $2000 poster submission fee. Free registration for medical students. I was unable to submit a poster because of the prohibitive cost, but it’s a great networking opportunity.

Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery

Location: Naples, Fl

Dates: April 15-17, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: Check closer to date.


I haven’t attended this meeting or submitted a poster, but I plan on doing so next year because it’s close to home.

Nation-wide Dermatology Conferences

American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting

Location: Washington, D.C.

Dates: March 4-8, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: August 17, 2015 (Passed)


This conference has a $60 poster submission fee. I haven’t attended the annual meeting before, but I submitted 3 posters this year. Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Society for Pediatric Dermatology Pre-AAD Meeting

Location: Washington, D.C.

Dates: March 3, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: January 12, 2016


This is hard to get into because they only accept a few cases of the year for oral presentation. I submitted a case last year but was rejected. It’s specific to pediatric dermatology.

American Academy of Dermatology Summer Meeting

Location: Boston, MA

Dates: July 28-31, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: Unknown yet.


This conference has a $40 poster submission fee. I went to the NY meeting last year with a poster. Unfortunately, it’s only e-posters so there’s no really set time for attendees to come to a poster session. It’s still a good networking opportunity.

Society for Investigative Dermatology

Location: Scottsdale, AZ

Dates: May 11-14, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: January 12, 2016


I went to the Atlanta meeting last year with a poster. This has a set poster session where the poster presenters stand around their poster and are able to see other posters. I was only able to attend for one day because of school, but still a good chance to get your name out there. This meeting is very basic science oriented.

poster present SID

Another poster at the Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting in Atlanta.

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

Location: New Orleans, LA

Dates: November 10-13, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: Unknown yet.


I submitted a poster to this meeting but it turned out that a medical student couldn’t present the poster. It has to be a resident or attending. We had to withdraw the poster because only the medical students could attend.

Skin of Color Seminar Series

Location: New York, NY

Dates: April 30- May 1, 2016

Poster Submission Deadline: March 2016


I didn’t personally attend this meeting, but a colleague of mine sent in a poster that was accepted. This meeting is set up by the same group as the Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical meeting.

poster present FMA

Presenting at the Florida Medical Association’s annual meeting.

Research for Other Competitive Specialties

If you don’t plan on being a dermatologist, but you want to match into a similarly competitive specialty you can use this same template for X specialty.

Do your research into what conferences exist.

Keep track of submission deadlines.

Ask the doctors in that field what conferences they know about.

Ask Around

There are many small meetings that are not well known by outsiders. There are at least 2 meetings I did not mention here because they’re small, and I only learned about them from the resident or fellow. Speaking of residents, they can be very helpful in getting an “in” with a certain program. For grand rounds the residents are generally the ones who submit the cases. If you work on a case together with a resident and they’re at a program you want to go to, suggest submitting the case for their program’s grand rounds.

Submit an Abstract Before You Have Final Results

The great thing about submitting an abstract months in advance is that you have that much longer to complete the actual poster. Putting together a 500 word or so abstract is easy to do and doesn’t require more than a few hours. Even if you only have part of your results available, most conferences will accept your submission pending the final results.

Don’t have any project or research to present?

Contact your local dermatologist and ask him or her for a project. A case report or series is the easiest thing to write up. Maybe your new dermatology mentor has an idea for a project but doesn’t have the time to do it. That’s where the medical student comes in. Be eager and follow up often. Your mentor might even have a bigger project that can turn into a publication down the line.

What if my research isn’t good enough?

On the other hand, if you’re worried that your research isn’t good enough, novel enough, or interesting enough to get accepted, you’re dead wrong. Almost anything can be accepted as a poster if you have a well-written abstract. For medical students especially, you don’t usually have a lot of time to complete a long basic science project. Maybe you had one summer off where you did a big project, but chances are you have a lot of little side projects that don’t warrant publication in a journal. These are perfect for posters and oral presentations at conferences.

Don’t be afraid to submit! Residency interviewers will ask you about your research, and although a poster doesn’t seem like a big deal, it shows interest in the field and maybe it’s a topic that your interviewer is passionate about. Weirder things have happened.

Funding Your Research Presentations

Is the cost of attending all these conferences breaking the bank? Look into what opportunities may be available at your school for funding. Ask your friends or older students who have attended conferences before what resources are available at your school.

Always email the conference organizers about discounts for medical students! A polite email explaining your situation (i.e. broke medical student on massive amounts of student loans but with a passion for research) can get you far in terms of either free or severely reduced registration fees.

I will be submitting abstract applications to these same conferences again this year. It doesn’t cost me anything to submit to most of them, and I’m only setting myself up to 1) meet more dermatologists, 2) grow my CV, and 3) learn even more about the field of dermatology! All positives in my book.

What’s your game plan when it comes to presenting your research at conferences? How have you found this method helpful?

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