Meet Dr. Bruce
Throughout her career, Dr. Suzanne Bruce has been a pacesetter. Before establishing her own dermatology practice and becoming one of the leading dermatologists in Houston, Texas, she attended the Baylor University College of Medicine as the only female faculty member in the dermatology department.
Dr. Bruce has remained at the forefront of medical and cosmetic dermatology for more than 30 years, both as president of SBA Dermatology and as a consultant and trainer for some of the world’s leading drug, cosmeceutical, and laser companies. A board-certified dermatologist, she has received numerous honors, including being named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly for 17 consecutive years.
Dr. Bruce earned her undergraduate degree from Rice University before enrolling at Baylor College of Medicine, where she obtained her medical degree. Following her graduation from med school, Dr. Bruce completed an internal medicine internship. She then chose to specialize in dermatology and competed a 3-year residency at Baylor.
At the end of her residency, she accepted an offer to remain at Baylor as an instructor in the Department of Dermatology. She continued serving on the faculty, both as an assistant and associate professor, before serving 4 years as Assistant Dean in the Office of Student Affairs.
As a leader in the field of both cosmetic and medical dermatology, Dr. Bruce is committed to being active in clinical studies, particularly with treatments that directly benefit her patients. In that spirit of supporting ongoing developments, she created The Center for Skin Research, now under the umbrella of her dermatology practice.
In addition to building a successful practice that includes practitioners at the top of their fields, Dr. Bruce is a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, Texas Dermatological Society, and Houston Dermatological Society. She is also a member of the Leaders Society of the Dermatology Foundation, a former Vice President of the Texas Dermatological Society, and a former President of the Houston Dermatological Society.
Dr. Bruce has been recognized by many organizations for excellence, including Texas Monthly (voted a Super Doctor, 2005-2018), Houstonia (voted a Top Doctor, 2013), H Texas (voted a Top Doctor, 2014-2015), and Houston Woman Magazine (one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women – 2009).
An Interview With Dr. Bruce
Where did you grow up?
I was born on an Air Force base in Idaho, but both of my parents are from Texas, and I consider myself a Texan. I moved around growing up and have lived in many different places, including Cheyenne, San Diego, and Lubbock in the U.S., as well as Germany.
At what point did you decide to become a dermatologist?
Dermatology attracted me because dermatologists treat all ages and both women and men. You are also a sleuth who diagnoses conditions by recognizing visual patterns and clues in the patient’s history.
Did you feel you were a groundbreaker as a woman at the outset of your career?
I didn’t really consider myself a trailblazer at the time. Looking back, though, I realize that I was the only woman on the Baylor faculty in the dermatology department in 1985, when I first joined. And during my 3 years of residency at Baylor, all of my dermatology professors were men.
Dermatology is one of the few specialties in which doctors perform both medical and cosmetic treatments. Do you find that rewarding?
I love being able to perform both types of treatments because they offer different challenges.
Medical dermatology tends to be more cognitive, and it requires intellectual rigor to diagnose cases that can be quite challenging at times. Cosmetic dermatology, on the other hand, enables me to be more hands-on and artistic. I enjoy helping people improve their appearances using laser and injectable treatments.
As a specialist with 30 years of experience, you’ve certainly seen the evolution of dermatology. What are the most significant changes you’ve witnessed?
The blossoming of cosmetic dermatology is the most significant change that’s occurred in the past 3 decades. Injectables, lasers, and innovations such as Cellfina™ and miraDry® have truly revolutionized the field of dermatology. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen the price of drugs used to treat skin conditions increase, and I’ve watched patients try to deal with an increasingly complex health system.
Do you believe people generally consider skin health an important part of their overall health?
It seems about 50/50 to me. Some of my patients are very concerned and follow my recommendation to wear sunscreen daily, but others won’t do it — even after they have had skin cancer!
What advice do you give patients who want to maintain youthful skin?
Wearing sunscreen daily is definitely the most important. Sun exposure is the primary external cause of skin damage. Second most important would be to use anti-aging products with active ingredients that rejuvenate the skin, such as vitamin C and retinol.
What changes do you anticipate in dermatology during the next 10 years?
Continued innovation and research will lead to new drugs and devices that help rejuvenate the skin, treat skin cancer, grow hair, and reduce fat.
What are your primary interests outside of work?
Above all would be traveling with my family. We’ve visited many places, but there are still a lot of places — both in the U.S. and abroad — that remain on my bucket list. I also try to stay fit by exercising regularly. My husband and I love the beach and enjoy going to the theater.
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