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Dermatologic care returns to Sedalia

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A collaborative agreement between Bothwell Regional Health Center and Jefferson City Medical Group (JCMG) means area residents once again have access to dermatologic care in Sedalia.

Dr. John DeSpain, a dermatologist with MMG Dermatology, a division of JCMG, provides medical and surgical care for all disorders of the skin, hair or nails, as well as some cosmetic services such as neurotoxins and facial fillers. He most commonly treats skin rashes and skin cancers for both adults and children. 

Since September 2019, DeSpain has seen patients in Sedalia at the Bothwell Healing Arts Center. He said he has enjoyed being in Sedalia each week treating new patients and people who were perhaps former patients of Dr. Fred Bluhm who retired from his Sedalia practice several years ago.

“Dr. Bluhm was a colleague of mine,” DeSpain said. “He was a few years ahead of me, but we trained at the same program in Columbia.” 

DeSpain completed a Dermatology residency program at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a fellowship in Dermatopathology at the University of Colorado. He is board-certified in Dermatology and the subspecialty of Dermatopathology. He is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, serves on the Board of the Missouri Dermatologic Society and is a member of the Missouri State Medical Association.

Geoff Pinkel, of Sedalia, has seen DeSpain twice over the last year.

“My wife sees him, and she recommended I go see him as well,” Pinkel said. “I had a little bump on my face that wasn’t going away. It turned out to not be anything serious and more of a cosmetic issue, and he removed it.”

Pinkel said he appreciates the convenience of seeing a dermatologist in Sedalia and DeSpain’s bedside manner. 

“From a convenience standpoint, it’s great to see someone in my hometown,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to drive all the way to Jefferson City. He’s flexible and works around schedules. He’s professional, communicates well and makes you feel comfortable. Overall, it’s been a good experience seeing him.”

For Ryan Liggett, of Marshall, he’s happy to have a shorter drive to see his long-term dermatologist twice a year. Liggett, 37, is retired from the Army National Guard and is a cancer survivor.

“When I was 27, I saw my regular doctor about a spot on my back,” Liggett said. “He had it biopsied and it came back as stage 3 melanoma. He recommended Dr. DeSpain as the best around and I’ve been seeing him for the last 10 years.”

Melanoma occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. Stage 3 is an advanced form of skin cancer and means cancer has spread from the skin cells to the lymph nodes.

Liggett is in remission and sees DeSpain every six months and will do so for the rest of his life. He said seeing him in Sedalia now is a nice bonus.

“It saves me about an hour’s drive, which I was really excited about,” he said. “I just saw him about a month ago and he found a pre-cancerous spot,” he said. “He caught it early and was able to remove it.” 

DeSpain said people should consult with a dermatologist for any rashes, growths or disorders of the skin, hair or nails, but that many times, their primary care provider treats these issues as well, so in some cases, it’s best to see a primary care provider first.

Liggett echoed that sentiment.

“I saw my primary doctor first and then saw Dr. DeSpain for more advanced care,” he said. “My best advice is that for anything that looks a little odd, get it checked out by someone.”

While there are thousands of skincare products on today’s market, DeSpain said taking care of your skin doesn’t have to be complex or expensive.

“There are no creams that reverse the aging process, but there are some that can slow it down,” he said. “Start with a broad-spectrum sunscreen each morning. Consider adding a topical antioxidant serum as well each morning and apply a topical retinoid at night. Gently cleansing and moisturizing afterward is also important.”

DeSpain sees patients on Thursdays at the Bothwell Healing Arts Center at 3700 W. 10th St. To make an appointment, call 573-556-5737.

“I very much enjoy working in Sedalia and caring for folks in the area,” he said. “I’m grateful for their support.”

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