Forefront Physician Voices:
Not all PE-backed Dermatology groups are the same—a firsthand account
John Soderberg, MD, MPH, is a Board-certified Dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. He joined Forefront Dermatology in 2018 and practices in South Boston, VA. Dr. Soderberg earned his Medical Degree from Yale University School of Medicine and Masters of Public Health degree from Boston University, and he completed his residency at Duke University.
When I was a dermatology resident, the discussions about our practice setting options were pretty straightforward. Mentors of mine certainly had their own personal preferences, but no one was pushing residents away from or toward any one setting. That objectivity wasn’t absolutely necessary in my case—my heart was always in private practice—but it still made it possible for me to consider alternative options clearly. At the time, it was acknowledged that each setting would have its pros and its cons, and it was up to us as individuals to find the setting that best suited our particular style.
I believe it is critically important that residents receive this kind of balanced view of their options. Yet recently, the recognition that different paths will work for different people seems to vanish whenever the topic of private equity-backed group practices comes up. There are some loud voices out there telling residents that—no matter the details—these practices are bad for them and bad for the specialty, and should be avoided altogether. Having worked in private practice and at two very different PE-backed group practices, I wanted to correct some of the more sweeping generalizations I’ve heard. What I hope I can offer here is an informed and candid perspective on the diverse options available to residents today.