Fascinating Jobs: Mark Gray from The Skin Institute

Meet Doctor Mark Gray who works at the Skin Institute and also reminds us of some pretty scary stats about New Zealander’s lack of sun-sense!!!! This is a good reminder to cover up in the sun people!

The Skin Institute was established in 1994 as a specialist centre focusing on clinical dermatology, cosmetic medicine and skin cancer. The comprehensive menu of services has grown to allow for individually tailored treatment plans to achieve the best possible result.

Thanks for your time Mark and excellent taste in music too!

Fascinating Jobs

Mark Gray from The Skin Institute

1. When you were a kid, what was going to be your ultimate job?

When I was young I dreamed of living in New York City as an architect designing landmark public buildings alternating with being a photojournalist and a visual artist.


2. What was one of the very first jobs you had when you left school?

I worked a season flipping burgers at Alta ski field in Utah and got out on the powder whenever I could.

3. When did you decide to you wanted to become a Doctor? And where did you study?

Deciding to be a doctor was not how it went down in my family. We are practically all doctors or married to them. My dad was a well-loved GP, my older brother then led the charge and I followed – it is a genetic disorder.

4. When did you first start working with The Skin Institute? What made you decide on specialising in skin?

I set up as a solo practitioner, establishing the Skin Institute in 1994.  I did a couple of things before going into skin. I started life in orthopedics but quickly went off that idea and then went into pathology for lifestyle reasons.

Pathology was great fun and skin pathology was a new field with the ink barely dry in the text books. I was at Harvard and everything was stimulating.

As part of the my training in skin pathology I had to do some clinical dermatology and loved it, especially the surgery side, so with only two more years of training to become a dermatologist it was a ‘no brainer’.

5. What are some of the greatest myths about what you do in your job that people may not realise?

That dermatology is boring. It is one of the best and varied medical specialties, covering everything from academic clinical dermatology, surgery (really plastic surgery) and cosmetic / appearance medicine. I am a new breed of dermatologist who does only surgery.

6. What is a typical day “in the office” for you?   

I work around 30 hours a week. My work is split between consulting and surgery. My consulting for the most part involves checking people for skin cancer.

My surgery work involves removing skin cancers and moles and some cosmetic surgery (liposuction and High-definition LipoSelection®). I specialise in something called Mohs surgery, which is a way of removing skin cancers, usually from the head and neck, and checking with a microscope at the time of surgery to make sure all the cancer is removed and then doing the reconstructive surgery to finish the procedure.

7. What is your favourite part of the job?

I like the surgery, I like the staff and I love interacting with my patients, especially some of the older ones.

8. If someone was interested in a job with The Skin Institute, or becoming a skin specialist – where would be a good starting point for them?

In order to be a skin specialist you must first study medicine and then do several years of advanced post graduate training. Visiting a clinic like the Skin Institute is a great introduction to what the job looks like.

9. Name some of your most proud moments in your job or biggest highlight so far?

My proudest moment was presenting my surgical results of 20 years of work in my field at a peer meeting. After years of practice you get good at things. It is a slow incremental process. It is great to be able to present your work among your colleagues and to have that work celebrated and to feel proud of what you have achieved.

10. What is one of the hardest parts to your job?

Giving people bad news. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Kiwis need to take this more seriously as 300 people die a year from melanoma, two thirds of which are men.

11. Who is someone who inspires you? Someone who maybe helps you keep you doing what you do? Or they are just simply someone you think rocks at life!

Lance Armstrong because he got away with it for so long – ha. Seriously I admire people who see things others don’t. I am reading Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes at the moment. He challenges old dogmas and is exhaustive in his research. We need more iconoclasts. Ryan Adams really rocks.

Giving people bad news. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Kiwis need to take this more seriously as 300 people die a year from melanoma, two thirds of which are men.


Contact Mark at skininstitute.co.nz

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