Dr. Sax & University Park Dermatology
Glowing, healthy, flawless skin is a prized asset for men and women that can be elusive with Florida’s sunny clime and active lifestyles, but still achievable with a little care and a bit of help. Beach visit by beach visit, golf game by golf game, bit by bit damage from sunlight’s ultraviolet (UV) rays results in premature aging of the skin and can lead to a dermis more like Dumbo’s than Diaz, Dunst or Duff.
Fortunately, advancements in medical and cosmetic dermatology can reverse signs of aging dramatically even without surgery. High-tech treatments can effectively reduce cellulite or scars, treat psoriasis and rosacea, and much more, according to Dr. David Sax, a board certified dermatologist who founded University Park Dermatology and its sister company, Sanctuary At the Park, which provides spa services as well as advanced medical-grade cosmetic procedures.
“When I first founded the practice in 2001, I was a little shocked at the extent of photo-aging and skin cancer here,” said Dr. Sax. He hails from Philadelphia and completed his schooling in the East and Midwest as a Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate of Penn State University and as a graduate of Thomas Jefferson University Medical College. He completed a dermatology residency at the University of Michigan.
“I am a strong advocate of a good skin cancer surveillance exam once or twice a year depending on family or personal history, and I am surprised at the number of people here who don’t follow this regimen. They must not realize that a number of skin cancers can be deadly,” he said. “One woman came in with a spot on her face, and I convinced her to let me examine her chest and back, and sure enough, we found a melanoma, which can be very serious. She didn’t even know she had it because for the most part there are no symptoms until the later stages.”
Dr. Sax also has been specially trained in MOHS micrographic surgery for skin cancers, which has an extremely high cure rate while being able to preserve more of the surrounding healthy tissue. This is particularly important for facial cancers where patients fear being scarred. “Sometimes I run into people two or three years later who will tell me how great their faces looked after surgery,” he said. “It makes me feel really good to have helped them.”
In building his practice here over the past nine years, Dr. Sax has carefully assembled the most comprehensive medical and cosmetic dermatology practice in the area under one roof and serving all ages. Pediatric dermatology was added three years ago when Dr. Alla Gruman joined the practice. Dr. Gruman, who received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed residency programs at Harvard Children’s Hospital and Boston University, is double board certified in pediatrics and dermatology. She is a recipient of the National Patients’ Choice Award for 2008. “We are very fortunate to have her in this area,” Dr. Sax said.
Two years ago, Dr. Sax opened Sanctuary At the Park to offer a broad range of cosmetic options, skin care and traditional spa offerings of massage, facials, sea salt body polishes and body wraps. “My vision was to create a practice that could do everything for the skin with no need to go anywhere else,” Dr. Sax said. “I believe in working proactively with patients and clients. Someone can come in for a spa day, immerse themselves in a serene spa setting and not know they are a couple of steps away from a dermatology practice.”
While the décor, and even the music are different, the spa and medical areas are separated by a large salt water aquarium that connects the two visually. “We want people to know that we can help everyone,” Dr. Sax said. “A Mom may come in because her child has a rash, but she wants some information about Botox. We can help her. Maybe Grandfather has a concern about skin cancer; we can help him as well. We want to make sure our cosmetic clients have their medical needs met and our medical clients have their cosmetic needs served in state-of-the-art facilities with leading edge technology and treatment.”
University Park Dermatology’s and Sanctuary At the Park’s dedication to proven, highly-advanced technologies even extends to patient records, which are recorded digitally on hand-held computer “tablets.” A newer high-tech addition, the UltraPulse® ActiveFXTM fractional laser, provides long lasting results with only one treatment for sun damage, wrinkles and scarring. One of the practice’s front office staff members had deep acne scars that bothered her for years. She had received a number of treatments, but was not satisfied with the results, Dr. Sax said. “We treated her with the ActiveFX laser, and she was very happy with the results and grateful we were able to do it,” he said. “She took one day off and then was back to work, which helped us to know that there is very little downtime with this procedure.”
Just as important as having the latest technology, staff members are selected for their educational background and expertise. Anna Wiak is a physician assistant who, along with Dr. Sax, performs general dermatology as well as cosmetic treatments such as intense pulsed light, laser hair removal and cellulite body contouring treatments. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her master’s degree in medical science from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Carol Miyazaki was trained as an esthetician in Japan and has 20 years of experience. She performs skin assessments, facials, microdermabrasion, peels, and addresses other skin care needs for cosmetic clients.
At the same time, creating a comfortable atmosphere is paramount. In addition to acquiring the latest technology and selecting highly credentialed staff, a caring attitude is a prerequisite. One way that caring is shown is by managing wait times, both in the waiting room and in making sure patients don’t have to wait a long time for an appointment to see the doctor. “I don’t think people should have to wait two months to get in when they have a health issue or concern,” Dr. Sax said. “We work hard to give our patients and clients a great experience with us whatever their needs are, and they support us in return. Forty percent of our new patients come to us by referral. That is a phenomenal number, and we are all proud that our patients are willing to give us that kind of endorsement.”