Honorary Membership of the American Contact Dermatitis Society

On August 6, 2019, I received an email from Howard Maibach from the University of San Francisco, United States. He is one of the founding fathers of the field of dermatoallergology and, as far as I know, the last one still alive or at least still active. He was approaching 90 at the time. Howard told me that he had plans to nominate me for honorary membership in the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS). I didn't know why, but I had a hunch. I knew that he has always been a great admirer of my book Patch testing and of my work ethic, as he described it himself. When he saw Monographs in contact allergy, Volume 1: Non-fragrance allergens in cosmetics, he sent a rather short email: 'Brilliant'. After the release of Volume 2 (Fragrances and essential oils), he emailed me again: 'Super congratulations. These books will live for a century. Please keep up your extraordinary work and don't ever retire'.

Back to the August 6 email. The next day I replied: 'How very kind of you! Yes, it would mean a lot to me and it would be a crown on my career. However, logic dictates that I will have to come to the USA to receive this honor in person (if awarded), and this is something I will not do. So, thank you very much, but please don't take the planned action'. But when he wrote the next day: 'You won't have to be present to receive the same' I immediately replied 'In that case: yes please …..! Thank you very much, Howard'.

On November 14, through the Executive Director of the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS), I received a letter from ACDS President, Amber Reck Atwater, stating: On behalf of the ACDS Board of Directors, I am honored to inform you that you have  been selected and approved to receive the ACDS Honorary Membership status in the Society due to your vast contributions to contact dermatitis. This honorary membership is effective immediately and will continue in perpetuity'. Howard had done it!

To date, the ACDS has only 12 honorary members, including such famous people such as Howard Maibach himself, Walter Larsen (the 'inventor' of the fragrance mix), Earl Rudner, Magnus Bruze, Frances Storrs  and Robert Rietschel. Magnus and I are the only two honorary members from outside the United States!

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