Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position:
Aleah Hartung: The Skin Clinic was created as an extension of Dr. Charles Virden’s current plastic surgery practice as well as his medical spa, Renovation. The Skin Clinic’s purpose is to solve the ongoing problem of people not having immediate access to a provider in addressing skin concerns. In northern Nevada, the average wait for a dermatologic appointment can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months, which can be a long time if you have something concerning going on. Our model is to be accessible, affordable and available for anyone and everyone! Though this is a cash pay clinic, it’s affordable, straightforward and it ameliorates insurance frustrations and unanticipated costs. My goal with The Skin Clinic is to see and help anyone with a skin concern whether that means a mole needing removal, a lesion needing a biopsy, a treatment plan for acne or scars and a myriad of other skin conditions.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Hartung: While attending Stanford University, I was able to work with a plastic surgeon and many of the PA’s, NP’s and RN’s at his medical spa. This was my first exposure into the vast scope of plastic surgery, skin care and the many roles of physician assistants in this field. While working with this practice, I observed the office referring out patients with simple skin conditions and concerns to a dermatologist instead of helping them while they were in the office. There are a number of skin conditions that should be referred to a dermatologist, however, many things crossover into plastic surgery, especially when it comes to lesion removals and skin care. While working at that office, I wanted to be able to help this type of patient and make their treatment more convenient. Once I became certified, I met Dr. Virden who shared the same ideas and thus we created The Skin Clinic here in northern Nevada.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Hartung: I love being able to incorporate my medical knowledge with surgical procedures to help people feel their best and to take care of often life threatening skin lesions. Although busy and stressful at times, I’m helping people to get and feel better. You can’t beat that.
NNBW: What’s the most challenging part about your job?
Hartung: Although I joined Dr. Virden’s very established practice, The Skin Clinic is new and it takes time and a lot of effort to establish a practice or new service. Outside of the practice itself, technology and procedures in skin care are ever evolving. It is imperative that someone in my field offer the best possible care and that means staying current on new developments and adapting my skill set accordingly. Currently, much of my focus is in studying advanced laser treatments.
NNBW: What advice would you give anyone who wants to get in your profession?
Hartung: Be open-minded! The beauty of being a Physician Assistant is you can work in any field of medicine at any point in your career. You never know where your career will take you and you never know how much you may love a certain field until you work in it.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Hartung: Very simple, love what you do and be happy in your work.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Hartung: I was a retail associate at American Eagle Outfitters.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Hartung: I spend a lot of time with my family, either getting my toes done with my mom or just relaxing, sipping my dad’s famous “frothy coffee.” I love bar classes for exercise along with snowshoeing with my boyfriend and puppy. In the summer, we spend most of the time outdoors, either at the lake or hiking.
NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Hartung: Hanalei Bay in Kauai because it is low key with amazing snorkeling, beautiful beaches, paddle boarding, and hiking the Na Pali coastline.
NNBW: If you had one moment in time to cherish for the rest of your life either professionally or personally, what would it be and why?
Hartung: Last year my mom and I planned a surprise trip to see my grandma in Pennsylvania for her 87th birthday party. We took a red eye from Reno to New York and drove into Scranton, Pa., (which was a journey in itself, given we couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee for the 2 hour drive). Once we arrived at the hotel, we called my grandma and apologized that we couldn’t find a way to make it to her party, but as the party started and all 50 of her guests had arrived, my uncle gave us the cue to make our appearance. My grandma’s reaction when she saw us had the entire room in tears. This moment is one I will cherish forever.
NNBW: Last concert or sporting event attended?
Hartung: Boston Red Sox game in the Bay Area!
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming as a kid?
Hartung: Besides a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, haha? I wanted to be a 3rd grade teacher! But I also loved science, so medicine was always in the back of my mind.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Hartung: I was born and raised in northern Nevada. My dad and mom, Vaughn and Sandy, and boyfriend, Andrew all live here, so it was natural for me to come back home after I finished school. This is such a beautiful area, especially with Lake Tahoe next door. It has been amazing to watch this city grow and evolve. No matter what, northern Nevada will always have a special place in my heart.
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