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HMSA Member News > Board Member ProfileFall 2002 IS Magazine10/2/02 IS Online

More than Skin-Deep

This dermatologist carries on her father’s dedication.

By Gwen Hulleman

When Carla Nip-Sakamoto was growing up, dinner conversations around the family dining table often centered not only on the food they ate, but how it was digested. Not surprising, since sitting at the head of table was their surgeon father, George Nip.

But it was more than medicine and biology that the Nip family talked about.

"The idea of being of service, of being able to help people was something that was instilled in us at a very young age," says Nip-Sakamoto, 42, a Honolulu dermatologist in private practice. Two of her five siblings also joined the medical profession: One brother is a plastic surgeon and a sister is an internist.

Service is not a concept Nip-Sakamoto takes lightly. She serves on the HMSA board of directors and on the advisory council of Hawaii Meals on Wheels, and is a volunteer attending physician at the Queen Emma Clinic. That's in addition to her associations with several other professional and community organizations, including the University of Hawai'i John A. Burns School of Medicine, the Hawaii Dermatological Society, and The ARC in Hawaii, a nonprofit group for adults with developmental disabilities.

Being a doctor is gratifying, Nip-Sakamoto says, because you develop close relationships with patients and become their confidante. "You really respect that position that people allow you to have. I think that's actually one reason why I gravitated toward dermatology, because it does allow for relationship-building."

But the intricacy of skin is what initially attracted Nip-Sakamoto to dermatology, she says. "What is fascinating about the skin is how complex this simple-appearing 'body wrap' really is. It interfaces the world around us and is the window to internal disease."

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