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Vail Dermatology: A one-stop skin spa

Ariel Levine
Vail, CO, Colorado

EDWARDS ” It was June 2004 when the director of the Shaw Regional Cancer Center called Dr. Karen Nern to ask if she might volunteer her time to help with a cancer screening. Although she was living and practicing in Denver, Nern agreed.

It was Nern’s decision to make that two-hour drive that eventually led to the creation of Vail Dermatology.

“Everyone kept telling me (they) needed a full-time dermatologist, who took insurance, and was female,” Nern said. “Initially I expected to have a part-time practice. My husband and I talked to Denis Page, of Vail Vision, who rented us a space. By October it was full-time.”



Nern said Vail Dermatology’s focus has always been comprehensive medical care. Its cosmetic line, Skin, was developed in 2008 in response to patient need. Vail Dermatology provides what Nern described as a “one-stop shop for anything,” and the staff is made up of of board-certified dermatologists, certified physician assistants and licensed medical and cosmetic staff.

“In the state of Colorado, an individual doesn’t need advanced medical training to practice dermatology,” Nern said. “There are only three board certified dermatologists in the Eagle Country area ” we have two of them.”



Nern is a Colorado native, and attended The University of California, Davis. She is a board-certified dermatologist and a dermatologic surgeon. She’s the only person that she knows of in the area who does the innovative Mohs micrographic surgery, which uses “blue” light to destroy developing skin cancer cells. Her colleague, Dr. Jean Liu Urquhart, is also board certified and specializes in dermathopathology.

Vail Dermatology’s new 4,200-foot location in Edwards has comfortable patient rooms, separate operating and cosmetic spaces and private recovery rooms. Nern described the space as a “medical spa,” with the advantage of always having a

doctor present.



“Let’s say Geri (Dellacroce), our medical aesthetician, is performing a photofacial, and sees something that may or may not be a cancer spot ” she can, right then, pull me or Dr. Urquhart aside to take a look. We are able to provide our patients with peace of mind,” Nern said.

Nern described most of her patients as “dynamic and healthy people with a lot of sun exposure.” The most common things her patients come in for are cancer screenings and acne care. On the clinical side, Vail Dermatology also provides wart and mole removal and treats skin disorders, cancer and Melanoma. The clinic can also treat Actinic Keratosis, lesions caused by long-term sun exposure. Skin provides a variety of treatments for skin rejuvenation including facials, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion.

When asked about his experience at Vail Dermatology, Ted Martin had good things to say.

“I was with a doctor Karen Nern for 10 hours last week, which is a long time,” Martin said. “It surprised me the extent I had to be cut, but given the circumstance, it was a very professional day.”

Brian Austin has gone to see Nern twice because of skin cancer cells present in his face. When asked about his experience, he said, “Dr. Nern was able to spot the (problem) during my visit, biopsy it and then set me up with the Mohs surgery. She’s a perfectionist, and made sure the skin cancer was completely removed. One thing that always impresses me about Karen is that she follows up with a call to see if you need anything. That’s is what it’s all about. Going that extra mile.”

Austin is the general manager of the Lodge at Vail and said he is encouraging his spa staff to attend Vail Dermatology’s seminar, Recognizing Skin Cancer, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. because “If staff can recognize suspicious spots on a person’s body, they may potentially save lives.”

Vail Dermatology offers four free cancer screenings a year, as well as other programs, including the Dec. 2 seminar.

One in five Americans develop a skin cancer in their lifetime. Nern said that if detected early, skin cancer is curable. A consultation at any age is a good idea, she said.

Vail Dermatology accepts all insurance, treats people of all ages, and has someone on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, go to http://www.vaildermatology.com.


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