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Supporting the USF Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery

Together, we can make life better. You don’t need to be a doctor or researcher to advance the care of Dermatology patients. By supporting the USF Health Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, you become a critical partner in transforming the future of health.

A healthier world awaits, but we cannot do it alone. USF Health relies on charitable gifts to sustain our mission. Donors like you allow us to provide top-quality care, conduct life-changing research, educate tomorrow’s dermatologists.

Our department has already established funds to support our graduate medical education, clinical, and research programs.

Legacy-Defining Gifts

If you’d like to make an even bigger impact, some donors make legacy-defining gifts through their estate or by donating stock, insurance, or an IRA charitable rollover to reduce their tax burden. Please contact Katie Dorsey Nealon at to discuss how your philanthropy can make a powerful impact through USF Health.

Philanthropic Highlight

Dr. Margaret Waisman, a Houston dermatologist, established the Morris Waisman Resident Lecture to honor Dr. Waisman’s passion for dermatology. The lecture provides the opportunity for an outstanding clinical resident (or a faculty member) to give an original lecture on a solely clinical dermatologic topic at a regional or national meeting of any accredited medical society.

  • A Daughter’s Tribute to Morris Waisman, M.D.

    Authored by Margaret Waisman, M.D.


    How can I do justice to a man who was not only an outstanding clinical dermatologist but also my phenomenal father?

    He was a giant in dermatology, all 5 feet, 8 inches of him in his prime but shorter as he aged.  Wire-rimmed glasses framed his brown eyes during most of my childhood.  He had a kind look on his face, because he was indeed a gentle, kind person.

    During my early years, my father would ask his 3 daughters if anyone wanted to ride with him to the hospital when he was called to see an inpatient.  I jumped at the chance and had meaningful and frequent 1-on-1 time with him since my sisters didn’t want to go.  While he did whatever he did at Tampa General Hospital, which might have been called Bayshore Hospital at that time, I would wait patiently in the large lobby.  During our drives we sang “Some Enchanted Evening.”  In the car he also taught me how to say “s” without lisping.

    By the time I was 4 years old, I knew that my father was a dermatologist.  I didn’t see needles or syringes in his office in the tall Citizens National Bank Building in downtown Tampa and now wonder where they were hidden.  I knew that he wasn’t like my pediatrician, a “real doctor” who always seemed to be ready to inject something into me, with gleaming needles frighteningly in sight.  I enjoyed visiting my father’s office because his assistant, Adelaide, who worked with him for a mere 50 years, always scooped me up into her arms and made a fuss over me.

    At the breakfast table every morning my father read the Tampa Tribune, and most evenings when he came home from work, he sat in a large, comfortable chair in the family room and read Archives of Dermatology, JAMA, and The New Yorker.  As a toddler, I enjoyed sitting on the rug at his feet while receiving a head rub as he read.

    The first week of December every year my father went to the AAD meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago.  The venue of the meeting was perfect for him, since he would have a reunion with his parents and his 2 sisters and their families while he was there.  When I was 7 I went with him to Chicago, although I did not make it to the Palmer House until I became a dermatologist.  My grandparents had moved from St. Louis to Chicago when my father was a senior in high school.  Because my father had attended high school in Chicago for less than a year, the school district refused him a high school diploma.  Whenever I saw ads in the Tampa Tribune, showing bound wrists and the question, “Are your hands tied because you lack a high school diploma?” I would tease my father, who fortunately had a good sense of humor.  He went pretty far in life for a man without a high school diploma!

    As an undergraduate he worked part-time for the USPS, delivering mail on foot.  Although he was wary of some intimidating dogs on his route, I don’t think any bit him.  He confessed that reading postcards on the job provided pleasant diversion and amusement.

    He was #1 in his class in medical school.  He was the last living member of his class, a distinction that disturbed him as the number of his classmates diminished and went to zero.

    He did his dermatology residency at Mayo Clinic and was, of course, outstanding.  He was an astute observer and a keen listener, and he kept up with the literature throughout his life, contributed to the literature, and presented many clinical cases at AAD and other dermatologic meetings.  In 1974 he was in the first group of dermatologists who became certified in dermatopathology.  My mother told me that several of his papers had been accepted for publication without any editorial changes, a tribute to his sharp clinical skills and the writing ability of both of them.  She had been a journalist.

    In World War II he was a captain in the Army Air Force and was stationed first in Tampa and then in Miami—not hardships.  My mother had accompanied him to Tampa,  but the military did not allow her to join him in Miami.  After the war there was no way she was going back to the brutal winters of the Midwest.  In Tampa he joined the derm practice of Dr. Chadbourne Andrews, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    The summers I was 12 and 13, I offered to sub for his vacationing receptionist, and he took me up on it.  That was the hardest job I have ever had!  By then Dr. Andrews had retired, and my father’s practice was solo and booming.  At least 6 patients would be clustered around the locked front door of his office when we arrived at 6:50 in the morning.  My job was to check them in, check them out, file and get charts ready, and await the onslaught of more patients arriving and filling the spacious waiting room.  Some patients were angry at me over the wait, as if I had been personally responsible!  On the way home from the office, I’d ask my father whether a particularly nasty person had been rude to him, and he always smiled and said, “No.”  More than once I was in tears from verbal abuse I received from his patients.  How would I, a gawky adolescent, have any idea how much longer a particular patient’s wait would be, or why there was a wait in the first place?  I was aware, however, that even the rudest, most furious patients were like lambs on their way out of the office.  They adored my father and knew they had received top-quality care.

    His biggest honors were his election as AAD Vice-President in 1976, being named national Practitioner of the Year in the early ‘80s, and his membership in ADA.  His biggest regret was not having joined Noah Worcester Dermatological Society when he was invited.

    At AAD sessions he and I would often sit together.  He made quiet, astute comments to me on presentations.  He visited the University of Miami Department of Dermatology a few times a year and enjoyed teaching residents.  When University of South Florida started a medical school, my father joined the clinical faculty.  The summer after my third year of medical school, my father asked me to accompany him to a derm clinic at the new medical school.  When he was giving a differential diagnosis of a mass on a man’s foot to a group of internal medicine residents, before there was a dermatology department with dermatology residents, he hesitated in the middle of his presentation, looked at me with a baffled look on his face, and said, “Remind me the name of the disease that has copper pennies under the microscope.” 

    “I have no idea,” I muttered, embarrassed that my father did not remember something medical and hoping that the residents couldn’t hear that I didn’t know, either.

    Regaining his composure a moment later, he exclaimed, “Chromoblastomycosis!  That’s what I was trying to say before.”  As I look back on this vignette, I am ashamed of myself for being so harsh on him, even if only in my thoughts.  He knew more dermatology than I would ever know.

    My father’s work hours were 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  Mine were 9:00 to 5:00.  When he found out, he frowned.  I didn’t practice in Tampa because I knew that I’d always be in the shadow of the great clinical dermatologist who got up long before dawn.  I wanted to make it or not—and I made it—on my own and also wanted to sleep until sunrise.

    My father loved classical music and transmitted that love to me, either by nature or nurture or both.  Although I never heard him, I know that he had played violin as a child.  He had an expansive collection of classical 78-rpm records.  When I was 7, the 2 of us went to a performance of the Tampa Philharmonic, my first live concert.

    He was also an artist.  In high school and college he was art editor of the yearbooks.  During telephone conversations after work and on weekends, he doodled on the scratch pad next to the phone and made charming art that I wish I now had.

    His yard in Tampa was a horticulturist’s dream.  He shared his flourishing frangipanis, bromeliads, birds of Paradise, and orchids with me.  All but the orchids live on in my yard in Houston and are blooming as I type this.  They are like having a little bit of my father with me.

    In summary, my father was constantly learning and teaching dermatology, observing and mulling differential diagnoses.  He was brilliant but always humble.  He was a consummate dermatologist and a role model for me professionally.  Most of all he was the most loving, supportive father in the world.      

                                                    © 2023, Margaret Waisman, M.D.