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How Dr. Karen McKoy is making dermatology accessible for all

It was an eighth-grade assignment that lit Dr. Karen McKoy’s passion for medicine. She was asked to write about what she wanted to be when she grew up. And having just read a book about a life in a hospital, Dr. McKoy interviewed a local pathologist and set herself on the track to medical school.

Now, Dr. McKoy is a board-certified dermatologist who trained at Yale and Harvard. She spent nearly forty years working at the Lahey Clinic near Boston, where she developed expertise in diagnosing and caring for challenging cases. So much so that Dr. McKoy has consulted on dermatology cases all over the New England area, internationally including Pakistan and China, and for the past four years with community health care clinics through MAVEN Project.

“I love being able to give back during retirement,” Dr. McKoy shared. “It gives me a chance to both help care for the patient and to educate providers on where they can find answers and what tools are available for learning.”

And because Dr. McKoy loves a challenge, dermatology was perfect for her.

“Working in dermatology encompasses all ages and all sorts of disorders that are often linked to other problems,” she added. “Volunteering with MAVEN Project is so valuable because clinic providers often don’t have the background to diagnose these issues, and the wait time to see a local dermatologist can be lengthy.”

Though she retired from active clinical practice in 2020, Dr. McKoy loves to stay engaged with dermatology. She’s a part of the Merck Manual editorial board and she has volunteered at a local women’s shelter where she addressed dermatology-related concerns.

And over the past two decades, she ventured abroad with international group, Health Volunteers Overseas, providing care everywhere from Peru and Vietnam to Haiti and Indonesia.

Today, Dr. McKoy resides in the Boston area with her husband, who is also a physician. She enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, as well as reading, gardening and cooking.


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