David Peng, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and president of the USC Care Medical Group, has been awarded a 2020 Research Achievement Award in Public Policy and Medical Education from the American Skin Association (ASA), a national organization advancing research and championing skin health.

The ASA Research Achievement Awards were instituted in 1989 to identify established scientists in investigative dermatology and cutaneous biology. This year, the ASA recognized six physicians with a wide range of expertise. Peng was recognized for his contributions to public policy and medical education.

“The ASA Research Achievement Award is very prestigious, and throughout the years, many of my mentors have received it,” Peng said. “It is a huge honor to be recognized as a significant contributor to the dermatology community.”  

Peng’s research revolves around skin cancer and preventive medicine. He is a recognized expert in severe cutaneous drug reactions, which are injuries to the skin, eyes, nose or the body’s mucous membranes caused by medications. Under his guidance, Keck Medicine of USC has become a recognized national leader in preventing, diagnosing and treating these rare but life-threatening conditions.  

Peng consults virtually with dermatologists, critical care doctors and emergency room physicians around the world on skin-related drug reactions. Due to his expertise in telehealth, he has played a large role in bringing virtual care to the Keck Medicine community, a service that has been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to play an important role.

Peng has been dedicated to training the next generation of physicians since he joined the Keck School faculty in 2013. Previously, he served as associate professor and director of the Department of Dermatology’s Residency Training Program at Stanford University.

“I am very proud of our trainees who have become exceptional dermatologists in their communities, and of the dermatology residents who have gone on to become faculty members at various institutions,” he said. “It is one of my key goals that USC residents go on to make a difference in the lives of their patients and their students.” 

Under Peng’s leadership, the dermatology program has grown in reputation and its faculty has increased four-fold from six to some 25 professors. The Keck School dermatology department is currently ranked among the top 20 medical schools receiving funding for the National Institutes of Health-sponsored research.

In his role as president of the USC Care Medical Group, Peng oversees a faculty practice plan of approximately 2,000 doctors, extending his leadership beyond dermatology to the broader physician community across Keck Medicine.

“David possesses many talents and skills, and this award reflects his commitment to both clinical research and medical education,” said Rod Hanners, interim CEO of Keck Medicine. “He is a true leader in the dermatology field, here and worldwide, and I look forward to continuing to see the significant impact of his work.”

— Alison Rainey