From the Clinic to the Living Room: Conversations with Melissa Wilson, PA-C, MPAS


Since its outset, AIM at Melanoma’s Ask an Expert program, featuring Melissa Wilson, PA-C, MPAS, has been widely used by our patient and caregiver population. Then COVID-19 hit.

The virus brought so many changes so fast to the melanoma world—and the entire cancer world—that the questions Melissa was getting changed just as quickly. It was critical for Melissa to address the questions, worries, and fears that she was receiving through the Ask an Expert program in a way that would allow her to reach more people.

On March 18, AIM at Melanoma launched From the Clinic to the Living Room: Conversations with Melissa Wilson, PA-C, MPAS. The first program was delivered on Facebook Live and called COVID-19: What People with Melanoma Need to Know. Melissa discussed the disease as it relates to melanoma patients and helped listeners understand terms like “immunocompromised.” Over 4,600 people—and counting—have viewed this presentation.

On April 22, AIM and Melissa’s second Conversation was presented via Zoom. Titled Melanoma Survivorship in the Age of COVID-19, this presentation featured special guest Ellen Ormond, Ph.D., Psychologist, Center for Counseling and Cancer Support, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Melissa and Ellen discussed survivorship and coping strategies that Ellen has passed on to her patients during the pandemic. Ellen shared what many patients have expressed to her: Melanoma is hard enough to deal with; adding the fears and worries of COVID-19 has really affected patients and survivors.

Last week, AIM and Melissa hosted Jeffrey M. Farma, M.D., FACS, Co-Director, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program; Chief, Division of General Surgery, Fox Chase Cancer Center, for a discussion about Surgical Changes and Recommendations during COVID-19: NCCN Melanoma Guidelines Explained.  Many patients may not know that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, provides treatment and other guidelines to physicians. After COVID-19, many guidelines have changed temporarily because of the modifications at hospitals across the country. Dr. Farma explained how the changes in the surgical guidelines affect a typical melanoma patient.

Just yesterday, Melissa hosted a special guest, Hussein A. Tawbi, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center to discuss The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Melanoma Treatment. This presentation centered around how the modifications at hospitals and in the NCCN guidelines have changed treatment for melanoma patients. Well over 1500 people have already viewed this Conversation.