May 08, 2020 · 4 min read
In 2014, Dr. David Lortscher approached his mother, Dr. Nancy Satur, a board-certified dermatologist then running her own practice, and his brother, Glenn, with an idea he’d been developing. David’s idea — to provide truly customized dermatological care to thousands of patients using the power of technology — struck a chord with Nancy, who began spending her off-the-clock hours helping David build upon his concept. Fast-forward more than 6 years, and Curology is now a thriving company that’s rewriting the script of how people care for their skin. But if you’re thinking of calling Curology a family business, Nancy might disagree. “We’ve grown way past that,” she says. “We’re fortunate to have so many amazing colleagues who’ve contributed to building this company into what it is today.”
As Curology’s Medical Director, Nancy Satur, MD, lends decades of experience practicing dermatology as a medical specialty. She received her medical degree in 1976 and began practicing dermatology in the San Diego area in 1984, eventually founding her own medical practice. Now, Nancy is just as devoted as ever to giving her patients the best treatment possible through telemedicine.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Let’s start at the beginning. What was it like growing up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania?
You could say it was wholesome. No neighbors close by — just the farm house and the barn on the hill. There were 6 kids and my parents, plus the farm animals: a dog, brown Swiss and Holstein cows, and for several years, pigs and chickens. My own mother milked cows, drove a tractor, planted a big garden, and raised 6 kids with no outside help.
Can you tell me a little bit about your educational background? When did you start your own dermatology practice?
I received my medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and earned my undergraduate degree at Penn State. After medical school, I did a year-long internal medicine internship and a year of specialty training in pathology. In 1979, I began a 3-year residency in dermatology at Case Western Reserve University Hospital in Cleveland, and had the honor to serve as Chief Resident in my third year.
Having moved to the San Diego area in 1984, I joined a couple other dermatologists in what eventually became a very large and well-regarded dermatology practice. Ultimately, I realized I wanted to provide a more personal style of medicine, so I decided to start my own practice. I’ve found so much connection and warmth with not only my patients, but with my colleagues as well. To this day, practicing medicine gives me so much joy.
What inspired you, David, and Glenn to work together to start this company? What were those early days of Curology like?
It was David’s vision, brilliance, and amazing drive that led to the genesis of this medical practice and company. And then Glenn came onboard, and added his particular genius. What I do is what I’ve always done: practice medicine, take care of patients, and teach.
At first, I was someone David bounced ideas off of, but when he was getting close to launching the business in March of 2014, I said, “You know, if you want my help, I’m happy to cut back on office hours at my practice, and come in here once or twice a week.” And he said, “Gosh, Mom, that’d be awesome.” So at first, I was volunteering. I felt like, hey, you need some help? I’m Mom, I’m here to help. And by January of 2015, I decided to leave my in-person practice-because I realized how much Curology can help people, and how we can take excellent care of so many patients via telemedicine. Although I loved my “traditional” practice, I have never looked back!
What was it like, trying to balance running your own practice with being a mother?
Here’s a funny story that sums it up. Once, I had to bring Glenn to the office with me when he was just a little tyke. I wasn’t scheduled to be in the office, but there was a patient I needed to meet with for follow-up care. The patient was on the exam table, and Glenn was in my office next door, playing with some toys under the desk. Somehow, he wandered off, opened the door to the exam room, and toddled in. I can still remember his face looking up at me in my mask and gloves while I was trying to suture something on my patient. Eventually, the nurse was able to scoop him up, and the patient had a good laugh.
Have you ever felt like you needed to choose between career and parenthood? What advice would you give to working moms today?
If it had to be one or the other, I would have chosen motherhood. But thank goodness, it’s not all or nothing! Just be kind to yourself, and realize that we all do the best we can. Some days we’re better at work, and some days we’re better at mothering. But each role helps us grow in ways that spill over and enhance the other.
Sign up for Curology and get your first month free — just pay $4.95 (+ tax) to cover shipping/handling.