Indigenous Skin Spectrum Summit 2022
Dr. Chacon was the first dermatologist to work in the U.S. Arctic in northern Alaska, as a physician contractor of the Arctic Slope Native Association, a tribal and nonprofit social services organization. She served Inuit and local communities throughout the north slope borough in the most rural parts of America in the most extreme, freezing temperatures. Due to weather and geographical difficulties posed by the arctic tundra, there is no way to access these areas by land or water, requiring much time spent flying on bush planes to get from one village to another. In these areas she was able to observe first hand the disparities of healthcare within minority and rural communities as well as the toll on the skin that extreme temperatures play. Her medical care spanned the regions of Utqiagvik, Anaktuvuk Pass, Olgoonik, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsuit, Tikiġaq, and Kali.
Dr. Chacon was an invited guest by the director of Dermatology at University of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Conakry, Guinea, a francophone country in West Africa where she provided free consultations to inhabitants in remote islands off the Ivory Coast, in the islands of Loos and Kassa. She was also an invited guest for the World Skin Health Day in Conakry, Guinea. Topics included the cutaneous manifestations of infection, not to mention the impact of the pandemic on patients with chronic dermatoses or immunocompromised individuals. In Guinea, artificially induced depigmentation contributes to extensive skin damage in the population and acquired skin disorders, such as ochronosis, irreversible darkening of the skin attributed to misuse and inadequate use of hydroquinone, a bleaching cream.
Dr. Chacon provides dermatological care to patients at the Lake County Tribal Health Consortium and serves as their very first dermatologist. The LCTH promotes positive changes through culturally sensitive healthcare services including dermatology, promoting physical, spiritual, emotional and social health status in American Indians.
The patient population serviced includes the Lake County Pomo Indians are direct descendants of the Pomos who inhabited the Clear Lake area for thousands of years. As a dermatologist working at the Lake County Tribal Health Consortium, Dr. Chacon’s mission includes providing necessary and culturally appropriate health services to all Native Americans.
Dr. Chacon traveled to Tanzania and Kilimanjaro with the American Academy of Dermatology for a tropical dermatology immersion, a unique experience at the Regional Dermatology Training Center at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.
In Tanzania there are many cases of oculocutaneous albinism, characterized by a lack of pigment in the hair, skin and eyes. Although rare in the Western world, albinism is very common in sub-Saharan Africa including Guinea and Tanzania, and has been associated with stigma and superstitions in that region. Recently a notion emerged that albino body parts possessed magical powers and were good luck charms. As a result there has been albino murders in parts of Africa such as Tanzania which have garnered international attention from the dermatologic and medical community, such as the American Academy of Dermatology. To ameliorate the plight of the albinos, a coordinated effort between dematologists is necessary to address skin cancer prevention education, stigma and discrimination among these groups as well as prosecution of albino hunters.
Dr. Chacon is well versed in tropical dermatology including diseases seldom seen in the developing world and public health concerns in sub Saharan Africa