History of CSDS

A Brief History of the Founding of The Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery

Prepared by Sheldon V. Pollack November 2013

I returned to Canada in 1990, having spent 11 years in the United States, where I had founded the Dermatologic Surgery & Mohs Surgery Unit at Duke University in 1979. There was no organized Dermatologic Surgery society in Canada at the time and the only university-based Mohs Surgery Unit was in Vancouver, under the direction of Alastair Carruthers.

Dr. Carruthers, around that time, had drawn up guidelines for surgery training of dermatology residents. These had been adopted by the CDA Education Committee and made available to the various heads of the training programs across the country. Alastair also had initiated the first Dermatologic Surgery fellowship in Canada. It seemed then, that the time to form the CSDS was at hand. Alastair and I met informally to discuss the idea of starting a Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

The needs for establishing the CSDS were threefold:

  • Canadian dermatologists had shown an interest in acquiring more surgical skills.
  • An attempt to formally establish our “turf” to include surgery.
  • To assist academic departments to implement the guidelines for surgical training, through education and leadership.


After a bit of planning, the Founder’s meeting was set for Friday, June 28, 1991, from 12:00 Noon till 1:00 PM, during the 66th Annual Meeting of the CDA at Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. A total of 33 Canadian Dermatologists had expressed an interest in attending in response to our initial announcement, which was sent to all CDA members.

A CSDS Board of Directors meeting was held over lunch on Thursday, June 27, 1991. Logistics, legal and governance were discussed and temporary officers were appointed:

  • President: Sheldon V. Pollack (Toronto)
  • Vice-President: Alastair J. Carruthers (Vancouver)
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Patrick J. McElgunn (Hamilton)
  • Board Member: Don Groot (Edmonton)
  • Board Member: Daniel N. Sauder (Toronto)
  • Board Member: Stuart Madden (Vancouver)
  • Board Member: Alexander Murray (Halifax)


The Founder’s meeting was a great success, with the CSDS officially established and temporary officers seated. The following presentations were then given:

  • Dr. A. Carruthers: “Dermatologic Surgery in Canada: Towards Better Training”
  • Dr. D. Rosenthal
  • CDA President: “Welcome to the CSDS”
  • Dr. P. McElgunn: “Dermatologic Surgery in Canada: Adaptation to Changing Environmental Stresses”


The CSDS was incorporated according to the guidelines of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada, on January 31, 1992.