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  • Onychologist of the Year

Richard K. Scher MD: The 1st Recipient of

The Council of Nail Disorders’ Onychologist of the Year Award 2021


Clinical Professor of Dermatology

Weill Cornell School of  Medicine

New York City, New York


Dr. Richard K. Scher considered an internationally leading expert in nail disorders, onychomycosis and nail surgery. Dr. Scher received his medical school education at Howard University College of Medicine and residency training in dermatology at New York University Department of Dermatology. He has practiced clinical dermatology, founded and supervised nail clinics, taught residents and led clinical research at New York University, Brown University, Columbia University (Professor Emeritus of Dermatology), University of North Carolina and presently at Weill Cornell School of Medicine. Dr. Scher is the former President (2000) and Vice-President and now Honorary Member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is the former President of the New York State Dermatology, Suffolk County Dermatology Society and Council for Nail Disorders and a prior member and served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Dermatology Society, Skin of Color Society, and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Scher is co-editor of the internationally-recognized textbook on nails, Nails: Diagnosis, Therapy, Surgery.


Dr. Scher’s awards include the Howard University College of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award (2000), Derm/Arts Award of Excellence in Advancing the Highest Principles of Dermatology (2005), Howard University Alumni Achievement Award in Medicine and Education (2004), Dermatology Foundation Lifetime Career Education Award (2008), and the Brooklyn College Outstanding Alumnus Award (2010).


Letters of Congratulations on the Announcement of this Year’s First Recipient of the Council of Nail Disorders’ Onychologist of the Year Award 2021:


C. Ralph Daniel III, MD:


Richard Scher, MD, has been actively involved with nail disorders since the 1970’s. One of his earliest papers was on Jogger’s Toe. In our first edition of our Nails textbook, Dick credits Nardo Zaias MD as being essential in giving early support in his nail career. Drs. Zaias, Pardo-Costello from Cuba then Miami, Ed Krull and Stuart Salasche all built a foundation in the USA for Dick to build on medically and surgically.


I first met Dick in the late 1970’s. We had both published articles in the literature on nail, which is what led to our connection. I was a dermatology resident and spent some time with Dick in his office on Long Island. He had a very busy general dermatology practice and also saw numerous nail patients. He was very kind to me and was essential in launching my nail career.


In the early 1980’s, he invited me to co-edit our first edition of Nails. He also became very active in the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) organizing many Nail Sessions at the Annual and Summer meetings. His excellent people, organization and networking skills led him to build many alliances and become AAD president. In the USA, he also helped launch the illustrious nail careers of Drs. Phoebe Rich, Phil Fleckman, and later on Nat Jellinek, Adam Rubin, Shari Lipner, as well as numerous others.


I would sum up Dick’s contributions to the world of nails as follows:


  1. He mentored and helped launch numerous illustrious nail careers. This was so important as there were only a very few of us “nail folk” in the USA,

  2. He put nails on the map at the AAD and let everyone know that dermatology was the study of the hair, skin, and NAILS, and

  3. He helped make the management of nail disorders palatable to the general dermatologist in the USA.


Shari Lipner, MD, PhD:


I first met Dr. Scher in 2014 when he joined the Dermatology Department at Weill Cornell Medicine and I was a junior attending. At the time, there was no one specializing in nails in our department, and he filled a very important need caring for patients in New York City with nail disorders. He taught countless residents in our department and continues to teach our trainees. When he first arrived, we began working on a clinical trial together using plasma to treat onychomycosis, and we have been working together ever since, taking care of patients, running clinical trials, speaking at conferences, as well as, writing numerous journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Scher is the best mentor anyone could ever ask for - knowledgeable, kind, honest, and wholeheartedly supportive. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have worked with him this closely thus far and look forward to our future projects together.


  • Richard Scher/Robert Baran Resident Award - Jose William Ricardo for the submission Racial, Ethnic and Sex Disparities in Nail Psoriasis Clinical Trials: A Systematic Review.

  •  Ralph and Melissa Daniel - Young Physician Nail Merit Award - Alejandra Avila for the submission Nail Scrabble: A Practical Approach to Nail Unit Examination.