Welcome from the Dermatology Chairperson

Michael D. Tharp, MD

Welcome to Rush Dermatology!

Rush University Medical Center and Rush Dermatology have a rich heritage. Rush Medical College was established in 1837 and was the first medical school in Chicago. The institution is named after the physician Dr. Benjamin Rush, who was an original signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Department of Dermatology was establish by Frederick Malkinson, MD, in 1970. Malkinson was a national and international leader in dermatology for many years and served as the department chairperson until 1993. I had the privilege to follow in his footsteps in 1995.

Rush Dermatology is dedicated to providing the highest quality of comprehensive and specialized care for patients with skin, hair, nail and mucous membranes diseases, not just in Chicago, but in the country. We have a number of nationally and internationally recognized faculty with a wide range of clinical expertise. One of the strengths of the department is the breath of the faculty training and experience  in treating complicated dermatologic/medial problems. The department has four faculty members who are boarded in both dermatology and internal medicine. We have a range of interests and specialty clinics, including pigmented lesion and melanoma surveillance, skin cancer, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, connective tissue diseases, immune blistering diseases, mast cell disease, hidradenitis suppurativa, vasculitis and dermatopathology. The department also offers a wide range of aesthetic services and procedures. We provide dermatologic care, with more than 28,000 patient visits annually, at three different locations: the Rush main campus, the River North office and our Westmont office.

The department is invested in both clinical and basic research, with a mission to better understand the pathogenesis of complicated skin disorders that ultimately will lead to new/ better treatments.  The department has ongoing basic research in immune-mediated and auto-inflammatory diseases such as pyoderma gangrenosum and mast cell related disorders, including mastocytosis and urticaria. We have an active clinical trials program, with six to eight studies ongoing in areas of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, warts, cutaneous T cell lymphoma and the itch associated with CTCL. 

We also are dedicated to the education of medical students, residents and other health care providers in the diagnosis and management of cutaneous diseases. The department has six to seven residents in our program, in which there is a very favorable faculty-to-resident ratio, with nine full-time and seven volunteer faculty. Residents and medical students work alongside the faculty daily in the clinics, where they see a wide range of rare and common skin diseases. Teaching is constant and stimulating. Training is focused on the diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment/prevention of skin diseases, and there is a special emphasis on systemic disease as it relates to the skin. The understanding of normal skin care as it relates to aesthetics is also an important aspect of the training program. Many of our residents remain in Chicagoland area after training and enjoy productive, life-long careers as a dermatologist.

Thank you for visiting our website, and we hope you will come to Rush for your care and training.    

Michael D. Tharp, MD
The Clark W. Finnerud, MD Professor and Chairperson
Director, Dermatology Residency Program