Newswise — Irvine, Calif.  - October 20, 2020 - Kristen M. Kelly, MD, has been appointed chair for the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine Department of Dermatology, effective September 6, 2020.

Kelly is a board-certified dermatologist with more than 25 years of experience using lasers to treat vascular birthmarks, scars and other dermatologic conditions. She is at the forefront of research in the treatment of vascular skin conditions, and contributes to the development and implementation of the latest energy based technologies, techniques and treatments in dermatology. 

“I have always been impressed and drawn to the spirit of collaboration and innovation embodied by the UCI School of Medicine and the Beckman Laser Institute,” said Kelly. “At UCI, I can provide the best care for my patients and participate in cutting edge research that can positively impact both individual patients and the field of dermatology.”

Kelly has contributed to the work at the world-renowned UCI Health Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic in Irvine, California for over 20 years. She is also past president and board member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and has lectured locally, nationally and internationally on the treatment of vascular lesions and light based treatments and diagnostics in dermatology.

Kelly replaces UCI physician Christopher B. Zachary, MD, MBBS, FRCP, who stepped down from the position after serving 15 years as chair of the Department of Dermatology.

“Dr. Zachary grew the department in wonderful ways and I want to continue this positive trajectory, broadening our clinical outreach with additional patient care sites and expanding our research faculty, collaborations and grant funding,” said Kelly. “We also intend to work with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County to augment pediatric dermatology services. “

Kelly has worked as a dermatologist and professor at UCI School of Medicine for more than 20 years. During her tenure as program director, she augmented and expanded the dermatology residency program achieving full accreditation and built the program to a highly desired residency where the department receives over 400 applications for five slots each year.

“We have an outstanding residency program and we want to continue to attract the top applicants in the country and expand our residency and fellowship programs,” said Kelly. “We want to embody the UCI School of Medicine vision statement and be ‘powered by discovery, innovation and inclusive excellence’.”

Kelly has also been involved in the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, serving as a past president and now secretary elect. She has also worked with the Sturge-Weber Foundation and The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation to augment education about birthmarks, support the most innovative research in this field and expand access to the best treatment options to all patients.

“I have been fortunate to collaborate with outstanding scientists at UCI and across the globe looking at methods to advance energy based treatments, augment removal of vascular birthmarks and develop non-invasive diagnostic imaging systems for cutaneous disease,” said Kelly.

Kelly received her medical degree from UCLA, and completed an internship in internal medicine from St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. She completed her residency in dermatology at UCI.

The UCI Department of Dermatology has experts in medical and surgical dermatology with specialty clinics in skin cancer, blistering diseases, pigmentary disorders, gynecologic dermatology, vascular birthmarks, hair disorders, complex medical dermatology, laser surgery, Mohs surgery and cosmetic dermatology.

About the UCI School of Medicine: Each year, the UCI School of Medicine educates more than 400 medical students, and nearly 150 doctoral and master’s students. More than 700 residents and fellows are trained at UCI Medical Center and affiliated institutions. The School of Medicine offers an MD; a dual MD/PhD medical scientist training program; and PhDs and master’s degrees in anatomy and neurobiology, biomedical sciences, genetic counseling, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, pathology, pharmacology, physiology and biophysics, and translational sciences. Medical students also may pursue an MD/MBA, an MD/master’s in public health, or an MD/master’s degree through one of three mission-based programs: the Health Education to Advance Leaders in Integrative Medicine (HEAL-IM), the Leadership Education to Advance Diversity-African, Black and Caribbean (LEAD-ABC), and the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). The UCI School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Accreditation and ranks among the top 50 nationwide for research. For more information, visit



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