Allison Legler, MD
What is your hometown?
When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?
How/when did you become interested in science and medicine?
When I was eight, I began forming my goal of becoming a doctor like my father, a diagnostic radiologist.
At elementary school, my friend, Carolyn, and I would love to spend our recess time making “potions” to cure cancer and AIDS. Over the years I began looking through my father's medical journals and medical books in his study. I remember loving the intricate details of the eye and would spend hours at his desk drawing diagrams of it.
What interested you to pursue a career in Dermatology?
During my final year of medical school, I chose an elective in dermatology. I was immediately attracted to the diversity of dermatology: the broad patient population, the fascinating diagnoses, and both the medical and surgical aspects of treatment.
Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?
My parents have always guided and supported my goals.
How or why did you choose the University of Iowa?
I chose the University of Iowa residency program for its excellent reputation and the genuine people that I met when I interviewed here.
The opportunity to train medical students and residents is challenging and rewarding, and the collaborative efforts exhibited by all contribute to interesting and innovative advances.
The University of Iowa’s faculty members are united to provide exceptional patient care while advancing innovations in research and medical education. How does your work help translate new discoveries into patient-centered care and education?
Since becoming a faculty member, I have continued a branch of cosmetic dermatology within the department. I am strongly interested in advancing patients healthy skin care, including educating the patient on safe cosmetic procedures and overall skin protection.
The prevention of skin cancer is still a paramount goal in my practice of dermatology.
What kinds of professional opportunities or advantages does being a faculty member at an academic medical center provide?
As a faculty member at UI Hospitals and Clinics, one has the tremendous opportunity to enjoy the art and science of medicine. Whether it is conferring with a senior staff member on an interesting case or leading residents through a difficult case, it is the embodiment of academic medicine which continues to shape the present and future of our field.
Please describe your professional interests.
Medical and cosmetic dermatology are my passions.
With a background in medical dermatology, I see a broad range of problems and with the cosmetic side, I am engaged in the latest and most exciting therapies that help patients look and feel their best.
What led to your interest in your field?
The field of dermatology allows me to work with a diverse patient population. The dermatologic care of patients ranging from children to adults offers a variety of disease diagnoses and, in some cases, the ability to diagnose based on observation alone.
It is extremely satisfying to see the progress of treatment to elimination of a skin disease in some patients, while illuminating and challenging to follow the problems presented in others.
How does working in a collaborative and comprehensive academic medical center benefit your work?
The occasion to work in a comprehensive academic medical center brings cross-departmental collaborations and opportunities to teach and learn. The chance to discuss interesting cases or research projects with colleagues would not be available anywhere else.
In addition, the same applies to my opportunity to lecture medical students and teach residents.
What are some of your outside interests?
My outside interests include running, mountain biking, hiking, racquet sports, skiing, traveling, and being with my family.
Do you have an insight or philosophy that guides you in your professional work?
My philosophy is to always perform at the best of my ability and treat patients like family members.
If you could change one thing about the world (or the world of medicine/science), what would it be?
With the amazing medical advances occurring every day, I am always hopeful that one day we will find a cure for immunodeficiencies.
What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?
The biggest change I have experienced in my field since I was a student is in pharmacologic research, the continued advancement toward newer and more effective medications.
What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?
My advice to today's students is to work hard, play hard, enjoy life, and always remember to be courteous, kind, and respectful.
What do you see as "the future" of medicine/science?
The future of medical science will provide advancements in diagnostic abilities and treatment, and hopefully enable those with unfavorable prognoses to live a longer and fuller life.
In what ways are you engaged with the greater Iowa public (i.e., population-based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagements off campus, etc.)?
I volunteer to help on committees for the American Academy of Dermatology and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. I lecture medical students and have pre-medical students rotate with me at Iowa River Landing and enjoy the association.