Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • November 2016
Written by 

More than skin deep — Forefront Dermatology is investing in our communities

“Life’s most persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forefront Dermatology is no doubt renowned. Their team of dermatologists and surgeons are masters of their craft, and are skilled and acclaimed within the dermatological field. They hold a commitment to see patients the same or next day in many of their clinics where they expertly address a wide spectrum of conditions and concerns, including acne, eczema, rashes, warts, psoriasis and rosacea, along with cosmetic treatments.

They’ve also become an industry expert on treating basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and less common skin cancers through a highly specialized procedure called Mohs micrographic surgery. The level of medical care and technique is unmatched, and it’s also complemented by their dedication to providing patients with compassionate care, education and personalized treatments throughout a patient’s journey.

With 36 locations throughout Wisconsin and their devotion to providing high quality care while getting to know each patient as an individual, Forefront Dermatology is undoubtedly known. But even more than that, they’re investing in and making a big impact on our communities, and people are truly feeling it.

“We are committed to supporting our communities,” Joe Swetich, Director of Human Resources for Forefront, says. “The best way to do that is to stay active and involved.”

“Life is for service.” —Fred Rogers

The connection Forefront Dermatology makes with the communities it serves is wide ranging and far reaching, and begins with what they know best: health and wellness and educating the public about how to care for their skin. The team of dermatologists travels to local health fairs, senior centers/nursing homes and area employers to provide complimentary skin screenings to detect potential conditions early on.

“We have a lot of different opportunities throughout our communities,” Dr. Victoria Negrete says. “The vast majority are done at local businesses, companies and hospitals… [they] do not cost the patient a dime and anyone can partake.”

“We have identified countless melanomas at free screenings in patients who otherwise may have never come in to be evaluated,” Dr. Betsy Wernli adds. “Skin screenings are an invaluable service for countless patients that are still with us today because their cancer was caught early and treated effectively.”

Spreading knowledge about skin health is a large part of their mission, and making sure the message is heard as early as possible is significant. Forefront Dermatology physicians visit local high schools and middle schools to ensure our communities’ youth is aware of the importance of sun protection and skin care.

But educating the public doesn’t stop there. In fact, Forefront Dermatology is invested in sustaining the highest level of care for its communities by making an effort to train future primary care doctors to diagnose and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions.

The determination to successfully diagnose and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions has propelled Forefront Dermatology to its level of achievement but is just the beginning when it comes to the impact it’s making around the state, and even nationwide. Through initiatives from seasonal favorites like Toys for Tots and community food drives, Forefront is able to support a number of causes that impact children, adults and even our furry friends.

“Each Friday the employees who choose to wear jeans can donate $3, which allows them that luxury,” Joe Swetich says. “At the end of the month we total everything up and make donations… a few we’ve done this year are Grow It Forward, Soles for Souls, Relay for Life, KAN Cool for School and Lakeshore Humane Society.

“We’ve also done supply drives for the troops… supply drives for the local humane society and N.E.W. PAWSibilities dog rescue in Oshkosh. We also have many employees adopt [pets]!”

Established in 2013, The Forefront Dermatology Foundation’s purpose is “to help bring awareness, support and services to the people and communities that need it most,” and it goes well beyond medical attention. National efforts such as Miles for Melanoma, Outrun the Sun, Race Against Melanoma, Ann’s Hope Foundation and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation are all impacted.

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” —Booker T. Washington

“For several years, Forefront Dermatology — beginning before we changed our name from Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin — has held a Day of Giving in which we take a percentage of our fees from a day of clinic from all of our clinics and through our own charitable foundation donate to worthy charities and causes within our communities,” Dr. Peter Katz explains.

“It is a wonderful day that raises a lot of money used to give back,” Dr. Betsy Wernli adds.

Support often comes in the form of monetary donations, but the impression of the act of giving lasts far longer for the Forefront Dermatology physicians and those their contributions affect.

Seven-year-old Rowyn from Green Bay and her family are among them.

“One of Forefront Dermatology’s sponsorships near and dear to our hearts is through Make-A-Wish® Wisconsin, supporting children who are struggling with life-threatening medical conditions,” Dr. Betsy Wernli explains.

“Since moving to Appleton six years ago, I came to know one of the local Make-A-Wish® contacts, Regional Director Kris Teofilo. We talked about my past involvement with Make-A-Wish®, which my wife Murissa and I became involved with when I was in medical school in Milwaukee after our godson Reese passed away unexpectedly,” Dr. Peter Katz explains. “As Wish Granters in the years we lived in Milwaukee, we met some of the amazing people who drive the important Make-A-Wish® mission and helped grant the wishes of some extraordinary children.

“When Kris approached me about the opportunity to sponsor their signature event Gourmet Wishes to help grant wishes for local children earlier this year… our Forefront Dermatology Foundation committee immediately approved our sponsorship. The event was a fantastic experience and afterward we were able to meet with one of the children we sponsored. Wish kid Rowyn, battling Wilm’s Tumor, and her family received a renewed sense of hope, strength and joy through their magical week at her favorite theme park in Florida to meet all of her favorite princesses. Rowyn’s special wish granted by Make-A-Wish® Wisconsin came true through our sponsorship. There was not a dry eye to be seen and it was an unforgettable night.”

“It is good for all of us to give a piece of ourselves,” Dr. Betsy Wernli says. “Some people are capable of giving more, some less. Those who give more truly receive a larger return; giving back is as good for the giver as it is the receiver.”

“The Forefront Dermatology Foundation’s mission is to help bring awareness, support and services to the people and communities that need it most.”

For more information about how Forefront Dermatology is helping our communities, and to find a location near you, visit or call 855-535-7175.

“All people are valued and treated with love and respect at Forefront Dermatology regardless of age, accessibility or position in life.”

—Dr. Betsy Wernli


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