The Skin Cancer Foundation
In the 1970s, people worshipped the sun and tanning, and Perry Robins, MD, wanted to change that. “I knew we needed to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer, and get people screened for it,” he says. “We also needed to change behavior to help prevent it. My goal was to save lives.” He approached several organizations and was rebuffed by all of them. So he decided to do it himself, and began raising money.
He founded The Skin Cancer Foundation in 1979 as the first charitable organization to focus exclusively on skin cancer, and he served as its president until 2016. He did this while also being a busy skin cancer surgeon, professor of dermatology, chief of Mohs surgery at NYU Medical Center, publisher of a medical journal, an international lecturer and entrepreneur.
Dr. Robins is professor emeritus of dermatology at NYU Medical Center, where he served more than 40 years. A pioneer in Mohs Micrographic surgery, he was chief of the Mohs Micrographic Surgery Unit at NYU and performed about 47,000 skin cancer surgeries in his career. He was the first to offer one-year fellowships in Mohs surgery and was also the first to train Mohs techniques to dermatologists from other countries. Dr. Robins has trained more than 70 doctors from around the world who are now leaders in dermatologic surgery and skin cancer care. Approximately 40 percent of all doctors who specialize in Mohs surgery were either trained by Dr. Robins or doctors he trained.
He has lectured in nearly 50 countries and in four languages. In addition, Dr. Robins is the founder-president of the International Society for Dermatologic Surgery, a founder and former president of the American College of Mohs Surgery and former president of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.
The American Academy of Dermatology made Dr. Robins an honorary fellow for outstanding contributions in dermatology, and, on behalf of The Skin Cancer Foundation, he received its Award for Excellence in Education, 14 Gold Triangle Awards for Excellence in Community Education and a Presidential Citation. He has been honored as a distinguished member of both the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, and was awarded a Presidential Citation by the International Society of Dermatologic Surgery. The impact of Dr. Robins' work is far-reaching, and more than a dozen international dermatologic societies have presented him with honorary memberships.
Dr. Robins published more than 60 articles in leading medical journals and is the founder of The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. He has written five books for the general public: Sun Sense: a Guide to the Prevention and Early Detection of Skin Cancer, Understanding Melanoma: What You Need To Know with Maritza Perez, MD, Understanding Basal Cell Carcinoma: What You Need to Know, Understanding Squamous Cell Carcinoma: What You Need to Know, and Play it Safe in the Sun, an illustrated book for children. He is currently working on a memoir.