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Dr. Sharyn A. Laughlin, Founder of Laserderm, M.D., FRCP(C)

Sharyn A. Laughlin graduated with a BSc. (Distinction) in Biology from Carleton University in 1970 and received her M.D. from the University of Ottawa in 1976 (summa cum laude), and was awarded the Gold Medal in General Surgery. She is a dermatologist and was certified in 1980 by both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Canada), and the American Board of Dermatology (USA). Dr. Laughlin is an Assistant Professor, in the Division of Dermatology, at the University of Ottawa and has been on the active attending staff at the Ottawa Hospital since 1980.

Dr. Laughlin had the distinct privilege to receive her Cutaneous Laser Surgery & Medicine fellowship training in 1983 at the University of Cincinnati, under the late Dr. Leon Goldman, considered to be the renowned ‘father’ of laser medicine. She is a Canadian pioneer in laser skin surgery, one of a select group of 3 dermatologists who started the sub-specialty of laser-dermatology over 3 decades ago. She is the author of six chapters in dermatology, cutaneous surgery, and photobiology textbooks, and has authored or co-authored 35 articles and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals or refereed conference proceedings. She is a local, national, and international speaker, and has given numerous lectures, grand rounds, workshops, and symposiums as an invited speaker. Dr. Laughlin has been the Course Director for many postgraduate courses at major international meetings, and provided teaching for hundreds of physicians in laser dermatology here in Canada and abroad, as a visiting lecturer at universities in Europe, Great Britain, and Australia.

In the field of cutaneous laser surgery, Dr. Laughlin is considered to be a leading expert and luminary by her peers in the medical community and the laser industry. She has been the lead or co-investigator in many research trials. She has been an innovator in the development of new technology. Many of the new advances in cutaneous laser surgery and the pilot research for Health Canada or FDA approval took place at Laserderm under Dr. Laughlin’s experienced guidance.

Patient care in cutaneous laser surgery has been influenced by Dr. Laughlin and her team of co-researchers for three decades. This includes research and development of long-pulse yellow light lasers for the treatment of vascular lesions, various ruby laser systems for photoepilation and pigmented lesions or tattoos, and flash-scanning carbon dioxide laser systems for skin resurfacing. She was the pioneer and first North American investigator for the use of combined light and radiofrequency devices, which are now in widespread use for photoepilation, photorejuvenation, and a variety of other applications. Fractionated ablative and non-ablative technology for cutaneous re-surfacing was introduced to Ontario at Laserderm by Dr. Laughlin, and she was one of the first physicians in Canada trained to provide cosmetic treatments with the new injectable agents. Most of the new technology advances in laser dermatology were introduced to Canada by Dr. Laughlin. For 30 years she was an acknowledged national and international expert in the treatment of vascular, pigmented, and complex cutaneous malformations, and ran the only facility licensed by the Ontario Government to treat benign vascular lesions.

Dr. Laughlin created the first structured Fellowship Program for dermatologists in the sub-specialty of Cutaneous Laser Medicine & Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology in 2000. Eighteen dermatologists from Canada and abroad have received fellowship training under her mentorship and teaching. She continues to be the Medical Director of Laserderm, now in its 33rd year, and continues to teach senior residents in dermatology who rotate through the facility. The Laserderm team now includes three other board-certified dermatologists as Associates, all with sub-specialty fellowship training. Dr. Laughlin remains at the helm of a comprehensive tertiary-care program for Cutaneous Laser Medicine & Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology providing access to tertiary diagnosis for referring physicians, over 28 light-based systems, and a team of four injectors, and four nurse practitioners, providing care for thousands of patients each year.

Dr. Laughlin retired in February 2021 and we wish her a well-deserved retirement.