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A Medical Legacy

Dr. Michael Steppie has been on the forefront of skincare services for decades and is now leading the way on advancing research and educating patients.

Dr. Michael Steppie is not your average dermatologist. As president and medical director of Associates in Dermatology, founded in 1989, Dr. Steppie has an unrivaled passion for serving Central Florida’s community through clinical and cosmetic dermatology. A board-certified physician who has completed residencies in internal medicine, dermatology and dermatologic surgery and is a highly qualified Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgeon, Dr. Steppie has made it his mission to educate the community about life-saving dermatologic solutions.

“Our patients are loyal and love the dedicated care from our skilled dermatology providers, yet again my focus is on healthy lifestyle habits and raising awareness and prevention,” he says. “I feel my most important goal is to help patients avoid the effects of overexposure to the sun, premalignant growths and skin cancer. Fortunately, for our Central Florida communities, we’ve now been established in 15 conveniently located clinics within six counties for their convenience of care.”

Associates in Dermatology provides an array of dermatological services, including treatment of common conditions such as allergic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, eczema and disease of the hair and nails, and the practices’ doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants also perform cosmetic procedures ranging from Botox© and dermal fillers to chemical peels, electrocautery and acne treatments.

However, it’s Dr. Steppie’s reputation for skin cancer treatment and awareness that has made him a household name. As a continuing sponsor of the Daily UV Index featured on Fox 35 for the eighth consecutive year, Associates in Dermatology has become Central Florida’s most trusted source for quality information about sun exposure.

Dr. Steppie has been an elite member of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Amonette Circle for the last 10 years. He also collaborated with Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona on a melanoma study which was published in April of 2017 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology as well as on a breakthrough study on vitiligo, published five months later.

The melanoma research involved identifying biomarkers that may predict susceptibility to the cancer. “I have always been curious by nature and seeking to get to the root of the problem. … Identifying melanoma biomarkers could be the first step in developing earlier, more reliable diagnostics that could, in turn, reduce deaths,” he says.

In an article written by Dr. Steppie and published in the Skin Cancer Foundation Journal, he says about half of all melanoma skin cancers occur in men over age 50, and male baby boomers have twice the risk of dying from melanoma than their female counterparts. “Men often tend to skip recommended precautions such as protective clothing and sunscreen. Also, I am often saddened to see male patients needing treatment for dermatologic surgery for a melanoma after their wife insisted for months or years to get their suspicious mole checked by a dermatologist. So what might have been a simple, easily treatable skin cancer goes untreated for too long and becomes life-threatening and spreads to other organs. I have unfortunately witnessed too many of those cases.”

As a medical professional, Dr. Steppie seeks to be part of the solution, and goes above and beyond what an average dermatologist might do. Similar to his pioneering skin cancer awareness, he now feels compelled to respond to a call to action from the CDC and Florida Department of Health regarding the alarming rise of STI/STDs in the country and the state of Florida for four consecutive years. Dr. Steppie has risen to the occasion and involved his team of skilled dermatology providers to increase awareness about these diseases, many symptoms of which will first present on the skin, making dermatologists among the first line of defense in the medical profession. Unfortunately so far few others have joined this important mission because of the stigma and taboo associated with this topic.

“We see all generations of patients in our practice for any skin concern, from baby boomers, pregnant women and adolescents and young adults—all of whom could be affected by Hepatitis C, STI/STDs or HPV and need to know about prevention,” says Dr. Steppie. “By having these conversations with our patients—who are like family members—we seek to normalize conversations around sexual health.”

The legacy Dr. Steppie hopes to create by entering this new frontier is one of health and wellness for future generations of Floridians. “For each generation of Associates in Dermatology patients from the grandparent to the grandchild, the knowledge gained through their life experiences offers great value for posterity,” he says. “When you share with your loved ones the healthy lifestyle habits that you developed to ensure your good health, you are leaving behind a medical legacy that establishes the importance of wellness for generations to come.”

Associates in Dermatology and Dr. Steppie have received Orlando Family Magazine’s Top Physician Awards for the last three consecutive years.

Dr. Steppie is also a member of the American Medical Association and the National Psoriasis Foundation.

For more information: SkinCancer.org, CDC.gov/std, AMA-Assn.org, Psoriasis.org.

Associates in Dermatology
Multiple locations in Central Florida Including Celebration • Dr. Phillips • Hunter’s Creek • Ocoee
800-827-7546 | DermOrlando.com

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s August 2019 issue.

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