Press Releases

February, 2005

Thomas G. Olsen, MD Recipient of the Dermatology Foundation's
2004 Clark W. Finnerud Award

Thomas G. Olsen, MD

Thomas G. Olsen, MD, Dayton, OH, a dermatologist and dermatopathologist in private practice and Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Wright State University School of Medicine, is the 2004 recipient of the Dermatology Foundation's Clark W. Finnerud Award, which recognizes a dermatologist who epitomizes commitment to the specialty as a part-time teacher and clinician.

This annual award was presented to Dr. Olsen at the Dermatology Foundation's Annual Meeting on Saturday, February 19, 2005, in New Orleans, LA during the American Academy of Dermatology's Annual Meeting and is named in honor of the late Clark W. Finnerud, MD, whose career symbolized his commitment to excellence during his 47 years at Rush Medical College in Chicago as teacher, practitioner, researcher, and committed supporter of the specialty. In addition to this commitment, Dr. Finnerud's personal generosity helped launch the Dermatology Foundation in 1964 and started it on an on-going and successful 40-year movement to shape and benefit all of dermatology.

Dr. Olsen received his B.S. and M.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. Following a residency in internal medicine, Dr. Olsen's career as a dermatologist began as a resident in dermatology at Cincinnati General Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, in the late 1970's. Dr. Olsen then spent several years in research at the Public Health Service of the National Institutes of Health and was an Osborne Fellow in dermatopathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. In 1980, he joined the department of dermatology at Yale University, New Haven, CT as an assistant professor and was a clinician in Yale's health service as well as in a community health clinic. Since the mid-80's, Dr. Olsen has practiced as both a dermatologist and dermatopathologist in Dayton, OH and is also Clinical Professor, Dermatology, at Wright State University School of Medicine.

At Wright State Dr. Olsen demonstrates his commitment to teaching dermatology and dermatopathology to residents and medical students. Both in the academic setting of the division and in his private dermatopathology practice, where he invites residents to read slides with him, Dr. Olsen challenges residents and students to think in new ways and be aware of his motto that medicine is not black and white, but shades of gray.

That Dr. Olsen is a role model and mentor is evident from the selected commentary of residents over the past decade. They describe him as the core and cornerstone of their education in dermatology and dermatopathology; someone who always has time to step through even the most difficult diagnoses. Dr. Olsen's gentle nature and soft-spoken manner -- with patients and residents -- combined with his commanding knowledge of dermatopathology complete the profile of a teacher and practitioner who is a profound inspiration to them in their careers.

Dr. Olsen's colleagues and peers cite his other contributions to his chosen specialties over the years. He has co-authored articles for such publications as Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and New England Journal of Medicine. Through his involvement in state and national dermatology and dermatopathology organizations, Dr. Olsen has served as an officer of the Ohio Dermatological Association, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology's Board of Directors and a member of the American Society of Dermatopathology. He has dealt with many policy and socioeconomic issues related to Medicare and managed care and was a key player in resolving the controversies surrounding reimbursement for the treatment of solar keratoses. Moreover, in the tradition of Dr. Finnerud, Dr. Olsen is also a philanthropist among his colleagues. An early member of the Annenberg Circle of the Dermatology Foundation, he is an active member of the Committee asking his peers to join him in this $25,000 lifetime commitment to benefit all of dermatology.

The Dermatology Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1964 by a group of concerned dermatologists to advance patient care by developing the research and teaching careers of the next generation of medical and surgical dermatologists. Second only to the federal government as a source of funding for dermatologic research that addresses both medical and surgical practice concerns, the DF is supported by contributions from individual members of the specialty and the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and surgical industries to support its broad-based programs.

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