JAN-FEB 2019

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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© GETTY IMAGES much that it became unbearable, but getting the issue addressed was a lengthy process. "We'd have to have a meeting to arrange a meeting to make a budget proposal," he says. "I realized I was not going to be able to participate in clinical trials, because nothing moved fast enough at a public university." His frustration reached the boiling point when adminis- trators told him it would take two years or more to bring on a new technology. Then came the realization: "If I truly wanted to build a successful clinical practice, I needed to be able to bring on technology much faster than is pos- sible at a state-run institution," he says. "I don't have the patience to wait and didn't want to do things that were suboptimal for patients' lives." He interviewed at several private practices. "The major- ity were not interested in creating an offi ce that was ca- pable of offering all of the laser- and device-based services I wanted to offer," says Dr. Ibrahimi. He started contem- plating a step that he never expected to take: opening his own private practice. In the fall of 2012, he founded the Connecticut Skin Institute in Stamford, Connecticut. He selected the loca- tion because it was a commuter town to New York City, and he didn't know of any other dermatology practices nearby with a heavy focus on lasers. "Launching my own practice was the most challenging thing I have done," he says. "I am a scientist and clinician at heart. I know very little about business and I had no interest in it. However, I knew I wanted my practice to be regarded as one of the few centers in the country that was capable of delivering every type of laser and energy device treatment available by a board-certifi ed and fellowship-trained dermatologist who really understands laser-tissue interaction." BUILDING A REPUTATION Because money was tight, he took the guerilla marketing approach. He knocked on doors and introduced himself to all the physicians in the community to let them know he was available and interested in tak- ing care of their patients. He offered educa- tional lectures at the local YMCA and called up large corporations, offering to speak and do skin cancer screenings during employee health days. "I tried to stay posi- tive," says Dr. Ibrahimi. "But this region was still reeling from the fi nancial crisis of 2008, and then Hurricane Sandy hit. It wasn't a great time to open a practice." He buckled down on his fi nances and saw patients at other practices. "I was extremely conservative in my busi- ness plan," he says. "I saved money, lived below my means and moonlighted at a few practices while building my own. Fortunately, I had done much of the legwork myself. After just a few months, we started to break even and then make a profi t." As referring physicians heard more and more good reports about the care he gave their patients, the practice got busier and busier. In addition, he developed a niche for treating patients with darker skin types and started getting patients from all over the United States and as far away as the Middle East. He also specializes in treating infants with birthmarks. "In recent years, awareness has grown about the long-term impact bullying has on self-esteem, and the health and appearance of our skin plays an important role in that," he says. "Skin disease is rarely life or death, but it can seriously affect quality of life." | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 53 The Connecticut Skin Institute has been so successful, Dr. Ibrahimi launched a second location in 2017. "Launching my wn practice was the t challenging thing a ne."

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