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History of KSP

KSP President

History of the Foundation
and Development of
the Korean Society for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common, recurring skin disorder that significantly affects the patient’s quality of life. However, when the Korean Society of Psoriasis was first established, the impact of the disease was not acknowledged by the society as a whole.

Interest in terms of research or treatment of the disease among physicians was scant. Many patients believed that psoriasis was an incurable disease, gave up hope on treatment and turned away from hospitals, and relied on home remedies or non-approved therapies.

Fig. 1

There were even cases that resulted in fatalities due to pustular psoriasis or when patients developed terminal conditions after trying non-approved remedies. Some people, who were not certified dermatologists, referred to it as aggravation as a process of healing, in which the ‘poison’ that causes inflammation on the skin is drained from the skin.

It was then agreed that a Korean Society for Psoriasis must be formed to serve as the center of education and knowledge on psoriasis among dermatologists while promoting studies on psoriasis to enhance the quality of treatment provided to the patients and the importance of psoriasis to the doctors. Later, after a discussion with Professor Nakin Kim, a foundation committee was formed to include Jai Il YOU, Nakin Kim, Gwangjung Kim, Taeyoon Kim, Seungkyoung Han, Jiho Choi, Woonchel Yeo, Jinho Jeong, etc., on October 8, 1996.

Finally, on October 25, 1996, a preparatory meeting to form a society for the Research Association on Psoriasis of Korea (tentative name) was held at Ritz Carlton. (Fig. 1)

Fig. 2

The founding members were selected at the preparatory meeting, and it was decided that a founders' meeting would be held regularly. Then, on November 23, 1996, the founders' meeting was held at Hotel Shinra. I was appointed as President, while Professor Nakin Kim of Kyounghee Medical School was appointed as Administrator, along with 29 professors as founding members. The list of the founding members who participated in the founding convention, and the contents of the discussions at the convention are shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 3 also shows a scene during the convention.

while Professor Nakin Kim of Kyounghee Medical School was appointed as Administrator, along with 29 professors as founding members. The list of the founding members who participated in the founding convention, and the contents of the discussions at the convention are shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 3 also shows a scene during the convention.

Fig. 3

Here, the founding members decided to form a Preparation Committee for the Establishment of the Association. Professor Voorhees of Michi gan University, who was visiting Korea at that time, sent words of congratulations as well.

Later, the Preparatory Committee discussed the details required in establishing the Association.

The official founding convention of the Korean Society for Psoriasis and its first workshop was held at the InterContinental Hotel on May 9, 1997. Fig. 4 and 5 show the poster and the abstract of the initial academic convention of the Society.

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

At the general convention, I was elected as the first president of the Psoriasis Research Association, while Professor Nakin Kim of the Kyounghee Medical School was appointed as administrator. The promotional material that conveyed the news of the foundation of the Society (Fig. 6) and the financial report submitted after the initial academic convention (Fig. 7) are as shown below.

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

The media also disseminated the news of the foundation of the society (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8

Since then, the Society has been holding academic conventions yearly and publishing academic journals regularly. The Psoriasis Research Association was approved by the Korean Dermatological Association on March 28, 2002, and was admitted as an official sub-association under the Korean Dermatological Association, automatically rendering the Psoriasis Research Association as a sub-Committee of the Korean Dermatological Association. As a result, I was appointed as the first chair of this sub-committee. The research association has been growing and developing steadily, and was renamed as the Korean Society of Psoriasis at the 5th convention on May 19, 2001 (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9

Since the foundation of the Society in 1997, I served a total of four years through 2001, including two additional years after the end of my initial term. During the general convention after the 5th academic convention in 2001, Professor Nakin Kim was elected as the second president of the Society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the foundation and development of the Society. After the end of my term as president, I continued to serve as a member of the operations committee until 2011, when I started to serve as advisor. We have established a cooperative relationship with Japan, after the two countries invited respective members from their countries to share knowledge on psoriasis and strengthen ties. In particular, Professor Ozawa has been participating every year in the academic convention of our Society since the 5th convention with other faculty members of Tokai University. On October 22 and 23, 2003, the Jeju Psoriasis Symposium 2003 was held, and specializing professors in the field of psoriasis in both countries participated in the convention in the island of Jeju (Fig. 10, 11).

Fig. 10

Fig. 11

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Society, the Psoriasis Forum was held to cover the latest topics in the field at Novotel Ambassador Hotel on May 12, 2006. On May 24, 2011, the Psoriasis Ancillary Meeting was held on the occasion of the 22nd World Congress of Dermatology at Coex.

September 2012 saw the holding of the 16th convention of the Society, in which it was shown to mature to its blooming youth. After serving as the first president of the Society, I faced my own retirement from the Seoul National University at the end of August 2012. By then, the Society was a recognizable organization and a serious academic association, publishing its own journal, an essential requirement for admission as a member of the Korean Academy of Medical Societies. The endeavor resulted in the publication of the 1st Issue of Volume 1 of the Journal of the Korean Society of Psoriasis in May 2004. The first issue included articles, such as ‘Psoriasis of Koreans,’ which I wrote myself, as well as five other articles, 3 papers, and 1 case report. The year 2002 saw the publication of the 8th volume, and, in 2013, the website of the Society was launched (http://kspder.or.kr). By that time, Korea became a member state of the worldwide psoriasis organization, the Psoriasis International Network.

The Society participated in many joint research programs, and published papers from such studies in its journal. It developed its capability for joint research activities through other endeavors as well, including presentation in international academic conventions on psoriasis. The Society also participated in international events proactively. Many joint and exchange programs with JSPR, or the Japanese Society of Psoriasis, resulted in our members presenting in their conventions several times, thus widening our scope of cooperation.

Sixteen years after the foundation of the Psoriasis Research Association, the Society has become a model to other sub-societies under the Korean Dermatological Association, including contributions in financial, academic, and international activities, and cooperation among members, resulting in many achievements. Most importantly, search results for the keyword ‘psoriasis’ has reached an overwhelming amount, signifying awareness on the importance of the disease. Thus, it was time to choose genuinely valuable data from the sea of information.

I am certain that the progress of the Society will continue, and it will be realized through relentless research efforts, either by individual or joint researchers, publication of research papers, and education of next-generation researchers. I am also sure that the progress and development of our Society will contribute to the treatment and integration of the bodies and minds of the patients who suffer from this disease.

  • Jai Il YOUN
  • Honorary Professor, School of Medicine,
  • Seoul National University
  • Department of Dermatology,
  • National Medical Center
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