What Really Qualifies A Physician To Lecture At A Hair Transplant Conference? Good Question

While there is usually a set criteria for a prospective academic presenter to be accepted to lecture at a medical conference, the requirements are not necessarily indicative of any verifiable expertise in the field. In general, physicians submit a short abstract of their proposed presentation which then undergoes a peer review process. Depending on the size of the conference, even novices in the field might be allowed to present if the review committee believes the presentation will fill seats. If your hair transplant surgeon markets themselves a being “published,” or as a lecturer in the field, take the time to do your homework to ensure your hair transplant surgeon is a true expert at their craft and not just an accomplished cosmetic surgery marketer.

Joe Tillman: Like, at the ISHRS, you have a lot of rank amateurs, and I mean people that have not even been doing hair transplantation for three years.

Spencer Kobren: I actually just got an application from a guy in Texas who's been doing hair transplants for two years, told me everyone he's trained with, and said that he's going to be at the ISHRS conference and wants to know if I was going to be there so we can meet, because he wants to be a part ... a paying member of my organization. Now, I'm not saying his work isn't any good, but really, just based on who he trained with, I'm like, "Yeah, you know, you might need another five years under your belt to actually become a full member of the organization."

Joe Tillman: Yep, and the problem with the way that these people are presented is there's no ... I mean, you can't really do this, but you can't say, "Here's a paper presented by so-and-so who's been in the field for three years." You can't really say that, because it automatically diminishes them. But at the same time, it's a double edged sword, because you can't have someone up there acting as an authority on what they're talking about if they don't really know what they're talking about.
They have the experience that they've been through, but it's not the kind of experience that you get from a true veteran or someone that's really been at this for at least five years. I think that's a ... I think that should almost be like a requirement. If you're going to get up and share and talk about what you feel is the best way to do things, or these are your observations, you should have at least five years of experience under your belt so that people, when they're listening to you, they can say, "All right. Well, they have some sort of idea of what they're talking about."

Spencer Kobren: And that ... I agree 100%, and here's the current issue. We live in a hashtag society. We live in a social media society. What these guys do is they have their staff take images of them in front of an ISHRS podium speaking and showing images and video of their ... in some cases, video of their PowerPoint presentations. And they use that as marketing material to show the vulnerable consumer that they are somehow training, speaking, teaching their peers at a huge conference.

Joe Tillman: Well, that they're speaking with some sort of authority, and then, there's another image, maybe in the background, of all these people paying attention. And that's fine, and yeah. It's-
Spencer Kobren: No, no, it's not. Dude, I'm sorry, it's not fine, because it's bullshit. It's fine if you are truly an expert, but this is ... to me ... and I'm sorry. I don't mean to say ... I'm passionate about this.

Joe Tillman: No.

Spencer Kobren: But to me, that is ... It just ... it's typical cosmetic surgery marketing of today, and it's getting worse every single year, as social media's being used. Again, as people are out there, instead of really working on their skill, their technique, the infrastructure of their practice, they are more concerned about their SEO, the look of their website, and the marketing images that they can present through social media to give themselves and create a narrative of some sort of expertise that a lot of these guys just don't have.

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The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is a consumer organization that selectively screens skilled and ethical hair transplant surgeons. The IAHRS does not offer an open membership policy to doctors practicing hair transplatation, and is the only group that recognizes that all surgeons are not equal in their skill and technique. Its elite membership seeks to represent the best in the discipline, the true leaders in the field of surgical hair restoration.