How does a dermatology practice in Ponchatoula become one of the largest and most comprehensive practices in the entire South?
“There is no substitute for the human touch.” This statement by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Robert Benson, who came to Tangipahoa Parish in 1980 upon completing his chief residency at LSU Medical School and Charity Hospital, encapsulates the “extra” that accompanies every encounter within each of his medical offices.
Beginning as a solo practice in Hammond and later in Ponchatoula, Benson Dermatology has now expanded its outreach to Amite, in addition to another busy office in Covington. Along with Dr. Benson, five other board-certified providers, Christel Malinski, M.D., Sandra Thornhill, APRN-FNP, Susan B. Smith, APRN-FNP, Julie O’Donnell, MCMS, PA-C, and Kim Bordelon, APRN-FNP, are skilled in skin cancer detection and in skin disorders. Dr. Malinski, who also completed her residency at LSU, brings a wealth of knowledge in new techniques and treatments as well as a woman’s touch to the cosmetic surgery aspect of the practice. Benson Dermatology’s nurse practitioners and physician assistant possess decades of experience and treat patients of all ages.
“One wouldn’t guess that the dermatology practice offering the broadest array of services in the entire state is right here in Tangipahoa Parish. In the realm of skin cancer and skin disorders, the providers have a combined experience of over one hundred years. We diagnose an average of 30 melanomas each year, and most by far are cured. That’s 30 lives that could have been cut short. To accommodate our patients the best we can, our practice sees over 2000 patients per month. Every patient is of singular importance to each of us as we use the most proven and latest treatments available with an emphasis on compassion for those who come to us with a variety of conditions.”
Last year the practice became affiliated with a nationwide network of dermatology practices called the Integrated Dermatology Group in order to negotiate through the increasingly “red tape” complexities in the world of medicine. This partnership opened up yet another avenue of service called On-site Dermatology, a mobile program that visits nursing and retirement homes, making dermatological care much easier and more accessible to the elderly of our parish.
Because dermatology encompasses such a wide variety of medical, surgical, and cosmetic services, Dr. Benson founded QnA Cosmetic Surgery and QnA Medical Spa to complement the dermatological services provided at Benson Dermatology. Offering a repertoire of permanent fat-melting treatments for almost any area of the body with unwanted fat deposits, QnA Cosmetic Surgery has been the destination of many patients, not only from all over the U.S. but also many places in the world as well. Dr. Benson has decades of experience in liposuction and body sculpting and is a leading laser liposuction (Smartlipo) surgeon in the south. TCA peels and CO2 resurfacing are also performed at QnA Cosmetic Surgery, and only board-certified dermatologists Dr. Benson and Dr. Malinski administer a wide variety of cosmetic injections.
QnA Medical Spa boasts a talented staff of five board-certified aestheticians, experienced in laser hair removal; rejuvenation procedures, including micro needling and SilkPeel Dermalinfusion; spider vein removal; and spa services.
“Because of the continual growth of the practice throughout the years, a high level of staff coordination and teamwork is a must, and the management team’s approach and success have been praised and highlighted at national management courses, within the Integrated Dermatology group of forty-plus dermatology practices, and, most importantly, by the many patients the practice serves. Every issue which compromises compassionate care, whether with a patient or staff, is immediately and thoroughly addressed and resolved.”
Benson Dermatology’s manager, Katey DeMarco, has excelled in every position she has held in the office over the last fourteen years, and LPN Heather Clay, manager of QnA Cosmetic Surgery, and licensed aesthetician Lauren Cutrer, manager of QnA Medical Spa, are stars in their own right. These three managers along with their staffs work diligently to provide an optimal experience for each patient and cohesiveness among the offices.
"‘Worldwide Experience; Hometown Care’ harkens back to my time spent in New Zealand, the skin cancer capital of the entire world, but it also emphasizes our goal to frame our patient encounters with good ole’ Southern hospitality throughout Tangipahoa and St Tammany parishes,” says Dr. Benson. “Our mission has been and will always continue to be to serve our community with the most effective, compassionate care possible.”