Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Gelfand Clinical Research Lab

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Clinical Image and FED-PET/CT results after 12 weeks of NB-UVB phototherapy


Dr. Joel M. Gelfand

Joel M. Gelfand is Professor of Dermatology and of Epidemiology (tenured); Vice Chair of Clinical Research (Dermatology), Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Associate Fellow, Center for Public Health Initiatives; Medical Director of the Clinical Studies Unit in the Department of Dermatology; Director, Psoriasis and Phototherapy Treatment Center; Founding Director of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Track in the Masters of Clinical Epidemiology program; Associate Director of the Center for Dermatoepidemiology and Translation; and a Member of the Cancer Center, Center for Pharmacoepidemiology Research and Training, the Penn Institute for Immunology, and the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, all at the University of Pennsylvania.

He is a board certified dermatologist whose clinical work focuses on general dermatology and psoriasis. He has created a multi-disciplinary approach to the care of psoriasis patients at PENN through his recruitment and mentoring of a rheumatologist and cardiologist who now specialize in systemic complications of psoriasis. His research focuses on clinical trials and epidemiology. His clinical trials research is aimed at improving trial efficiency through the development and validation of surrogate endpoints, the use of efficient statistical designs, and the use of innovative and mechanistic biomarkers. He has designed and conducted clinical trials to evaluate novel therapies for psoriasis, hidradenitis, atopic dermatitis, hair growth, and cutaneous T cell lymphoma. 

Dr. Gelfand’s epidemiologic research focuses on the natural history of diseases associated with psoriasis and the effectiveness of psoriasis treatments. He has published extensively on the epidemiology of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, the impact of psoriasis on health related quality of life, and the risk of various co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, lymphoma, renal disease, dementia, major cardiovascular events, and mortality associated with psoriasis. His original research articles have appeared in JAMA, BMJ, Annals of Internal Medicine, Annals of Rheumatic Disease, European Heart Journal, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Archives of Dermatology, British Journal of Dermatology, and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Many of his research publications have been covered by national and international print (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post), internet (CNN, Medscape), and television news media (ABC, CBS, CNN).  Dr. Gelfand is the author of over 140 research articles, reviews, and text book chapters which have been cited over 9900 times (h-index 44, i10 index 104 per Google scholar). He is an Associate Editor for Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Continuing Medical Education Editor, Emedicine, Dermatology section. He is also an ad hoc editor for over 20 peer reviewed medical journals. 

Dr. Gelfand received his undergraduate training at Tufts University, (BS, Biology, Certificate Community Health, Summa Cum Laude), and his medical degree from Harvard (Magna Cum Laude). He performed an internship in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, (New York, NY), and completed his residency in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania as well. Dr. Gelfand’s research and career are supported by grants from the National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases, the National Heart Lung Blood Institute, the Food and Drug Administration, the American Skin Association, the National Psoriasis Foundation, and the Dermatology Foundation as well as numerous investigator initiated grants from major pharmaceutical companies.

He is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Investigative Dermatology and the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology. In 2011, he was the recipient of the prestigious American Skin Association Achievement Award for Psoriasis Research and the Perelman School of Medicine’s Marjorie Bowman Award for Clinical Research excellence. In 2013 he was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Dermatology Association. He has been delivered numerous keynote lectures and endowed lectures worldwide including the 2014 Society for Investigative Dermatology’s Eugene M Farber lecture for his work advancing the science of psoriasis. 

In 2015, Dr. Gelfand was the winner of the "Excellence in Teaching Epidemiology Award." This honor is presented to a member of the epidemiology faculty who, based on course reviews of students and decisions of the Awards Committee, has demonstrated exemplary teaching in any of the courses in the MSCE program.

Gelfand Clinical Research Lab

For over 20 years, Dr. Gelfand has conducted research on dermatology and epidemiology. He has mentored and collaborated with a multi-disciplinary team of post-doctoral/pre-doctoral fellows, clinical research staff, students, and other investigators from various institutions, all of whom contribute to research on common and rare skin diseases. One of the major goals of the Gelfand research program is improving psoriasis patient outcomes in the skin and joints, while lowering the risk of diabetes, CV disease, and mortality.