Until recently, data on skin disease incidence had not been updated since 1979. On behalf of the SID, then-President Luis Diaz testified in front of Congress in March, 2001, asserting that accurate, current data that quantified the burden of disease must be used to direct future research. The bill report directed that NIAMS hold a workshop that enlisted field experts and could determine an effective method of data collection. That data would then be reported in the “Burden of Skin Disease.”
The workshop was held at NIAMS in the fall of 2002. SID President, Dr. David Bickers testified in front of Congress in May, 2003, again seeking added funding for the NIH and NIAMS. The bill included commendations to the workshop and its’ participants, and encouraged NIAMS to consider supporting the “development of new tools to measure the burden of skin diseases and training researchers in this area.”
The primary goal of the study is to determine the incidence and prevalence of skin diseases and disorders in the United States, and provide a comprehensive view of the impact of the burden of skin disease on society. It will help better forecast the changing pattern of health needs and the potential yield in terms of measurable health gain that can be achieved from the better use of scarce resources. The study will be used as baseline data. The data will show trends in disease occurrence.
The translation of statistical data and methodology into improved bedside care is a priority. The study will act as a springboard upon which an increased advocacy effort focused on skin disease can be launched. The data will reveal discrepancies between research funding and unfulfilled need (expressed as burden, at a patient level). Burden of Disease and cost effectiveness studies can and should translate into changes in policy, funding and subsequent clinical applications.