Enduring Friendship Inspires Dermatology Professorship

More than 50 years ago, Dr. Shing-Yiu Yip, FHKCP, FRCP, and Dr. Martin C. Mihm Jr. struck up a friendship while studying in the Harvard Combined Dermatology Residency Training Program. Even though Yip returned to his native China and Mihm stayed in Boston after finishing residency, the two have stayed close over the years.

“Dr. Yip is a renowned Chinese dermatologist who has practiced medicine all over Asia, and was the first American Board certified dermatologist in China,” says Mihm, director of the Melanoma Program in the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). “I have remained great friends with Dr. Yip and his family through phone calls, visits to each other’s home countries, and professional conferences.”

In 2000, in an effort to continue advancing dermatology education, research, and care, Mihm made a seed gift of $250,000 to begin to establish a professorship in dermatology at Harvard Medical School. Mihm intended to provide the remaining funding through his will, but last year, Yip stepped forward with a $2 million gift and the Department of Dermatology contributed additional resources to complete the professorship.

“I am honored to support my dear friend,” Yip says. “Having our names associated with this professorship in perpetuity is very meaningful to me. I’m pleased it will help retain wonderful faculty and train future generations.”

Initially, the professorship is named the Shing-Yiu Yip and Cecilia M. Hepp Professorship in Dermatology, celebrating Mihm’s longtime friend as well as his mother. Once Mihm retires, it will become the Martin C. Mihm and Shing-Yiu Yip Professorship in Dermatology, forever celebrating the two friends and their shared commitment to the field.

“This is simply extraordinary,” Mihm says in appreciation of Yip. “I can’t thank him enough.”

One of Mihm’s former trainees, Dr. Rachael A. Clark, has been selected as the professorship’s first incumbent.

“I am very grateful to Dr. Yip and Dr. Mihm for their generosity,” says Clark, a physician-scientist in BWH’s Department of Dermatology. “This professorship is a great honor and will facilitate our ability to study skin immunology, cancers, and inflammatory diseases.”