For the latest COVID-19 campus news and resources, visit

Search Close Search


UMass Medical School vitiligo expert discusses common skin condition

World Vitiligo Day Conference to be held June 22 – 24 at UMass Medical School

By Sarah Willey

UMass Medical School Communications

June 18, 2018

UMass Medical School is hosting the World Vitiligo Day Conference from June 22 to June 24 on campus in Worcester. John Harris, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine, and director of the Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center, is co-hosting the event. He participated in a Facebook Live discussion on Monday, June 18, about vitiligo to help drive awareness of the autoimmune disease that impacts one in 100 people. Dr. Harris said the skin condition results in white patches that appear on various areas of the body such as the hands, feet and arms.

“A lot of times patients are told there’s no cure for vitiligo, which is true,” Harris explained in the interview on the UMass Medical School FaceBook page. “One of the things we’re doing is really trying to educate people, dermatologists even, that there are treatments for vitiligo that can really help.”

Topical creams and light therapy can be used to treat vitiligo, but it often takes a long time to get the pigment back over time with numerous doctor visits, he said. As a physician-scientist, Harris is focused on discovering and applying new therapies that can last longer, would be easier to take and work for all patients.

Watch the full Facebook interview here:

Related story on UMassMedNow:
Telegram story raises awareness of vitiligo, an autoimmune disease afflicting 70 million people