The brief descriptions below are designed to familiarize you with our staff's training, professional credentials, and work experience.
Paul Rusonis, M.D.
Dr. Rusonis has been practicing dermatology in Howard County since 1986 and established Dermatology & Advanced Skin Care in 2002. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. After completing an Internal Medicine internship at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, he trained in Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. Dr. Rusonis has been in private practice since 1986 and was part-time instructor of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital for several years. Dr. Rusonis treats a wide range of dermatologic issues in patients of all ages and also provides cosmetic services. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and Maryland Dermatology Society.
Aerlyn Dawn, M.D. - Mohs Surgeon
Dr. Dawn attended Harvard University for his undergraduate studies and received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. After his internship at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, he completed his Dermatology residency at the University Pennsylvania and then completed a fellowship in Mohs surgery and procedural dermatology in Philadelphia. He has authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters and has presented at national dermatology and dermatologic surgery meetings. Dr. Dawn is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Dermatology Foundation, and The Skin Cancer Foundation. Dr. Dawn has extensive experience in Mohs surgery for skin cancer and reconstructive surgery. He joined Dermatology & Advanced Skin Care in 2011. For more information about Mohs surgery click here.
Smitha Kuppalli, M.D.
Dr. Kuppalli received her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her residency in Dermatology at the University of Virginia. She is board certified in Dermatology. Prior to returning to her home roots in Howard County, she was on faculty at the Unversity of Virginia School of Medicine and, more recently, was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University. Dr. Kuppalli enjoys practicing both general dermatology and cosmetic procedures. She has a special interest in pigmented lesions and has published on various topics including psoriasis, vitiligo, and pigmented disorders. She is a member of American Academy of Dermatology, Women’s Dermatologic Society, and American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
Nicholas Girardi, M.D.
Dr. Girardi graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia and completed his Dermatology residency at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution where he was the Chief Resident. He enjoys practicing all aspects of dermatology including the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, acne, psoriasis, and eczema. He is also skilled in cosmetic procedures such as the use of lasers, dermal fillers, and Botox. Dr. Girardi has published in professional journals and presented at professional conferences. He was recognized in medical school by the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society for his achievements. He also holds a masters degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Physiology and Biophysics.
Christina Clarke, M.D.
Dr. Clarke received her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed her residency in Dermatology at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is board certified in Dermatology. Prior moving to Maryland, she was an Asssitant Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Clarke enjoys treating a broad range of dermatologic problems in patients of all ages. Dr. Clarke has presented nationally at professional meetings and has also published articles pertaining to medical dermatology. She is a member of multiple professional organizations including American Academy of Dermatology, Women’s Dermatologic Society, and American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
Lauren Payne, M.D.,M.S.
Dr. Payne attended medical school at Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her residency in Dermatology at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received a Master of Science degree in Neurobiology. She is board certified in Dermatology and has experience treating a wide range of skin problems and disorders. Dr. Payne has received numerous awards and published articles in several professional journals. She is a member of such professional organizations as American Academy of Dermatology, Women’s Dermatologic Society, and American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Currently employed at the VA Hospital, Dr. Payne is working at Dermatology & Advanced Skin Care on a temporary basis.
Esther Cohen, P.A.
With over 40 years of experience, Esther Cohen was one of the first Physician Assistants in the country. She received her degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Health Services/Essex Community College Physician Assistant program in 1974 and trained at the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology. Treating adults and children, she has worked in the field of dermatology since 1980. She offers comprehensive services for a wide variety of skin, hair, and nail problems and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Esther Cohen has been president of the Maryland Associates of Dermatology Physician Assistants since 2013 while also being a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants. In 2013, she was named Physician of the Year by the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants and in 2017, she was named Top Physician Assistant in Maryland. A long-time colleague of Dr. Rusonis, we are pleased to have Esther Cohen as a member of our patient care team.
Nichole Hart, CRNP
Nichole Hart earned her Masters of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati. In 2012, she became a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) and board-certified as a family nurse practitioner (FNP). She has worked in dermatology since 2013 providing comprehensive, patient-centered care to patients of all ages. She is comfortable addressing a wide range of dermatologic concerns. Her prior nursing background in intensive care, trauma, transplants, cardiac care, and emergency medicine is especially helpful in understanding patients with more complex medical situations.
A Word About Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners
Receiving treatment from a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner may be new to some of you. Rest assured that Dr. Rusonis is still involved in treatment decisions as needed. Our staff works as a team to address your dermatologic concerns and our Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioner have multiple years of experience in addressing a wide range of dermatologic concerns. By having these experienced providers at Dermatology & Advanced Skin Care, we are able to provide you with greater accessibility to quality care.