Howard Fein, MD
Palos Verdes Dermatology Associates has provided comprehensive dermatology services for adults and children since 2004. Owner Howard Fein, MD, studied molecular and cell biology as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley before attending medical school at the University of Southern California. He completed his dermatology residency at the University of Cincinnati and a fellowship in dermatologic and Mohs micrographic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Fein is dual board-certified in both dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery by the American Board of Dermatology.
Why did you choose to go into this career field?
I chose to pursue a career in dermatology because I’ve always been fascinated by the intricate and complex nature of the human skin and its conditions. Ever since I was young—when I had to see a dermatologist myself—I had a deep curiosity about the human body and how it functions. As I grew older, my fascination with the skin—the body’s largest organ—only intensified.
Throughout my education and training, I was captivated by the incredible diversity of dermatological conditions and the multitude of ways they can manifest. The challenge of diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin disorders motivated me to delve deeper into the field.
But it wasn’t just the intellectual aspect that drew me in; it was also the personal connections that dermatology offers. I recognized that skin conditions can significantly impact a person’s self-esteem, confidence and overall well-being. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them overcome these challenges, restoring their self-assurance and improving their quality of life.
Moreover, dermatology appealed to my desire for continual learning and advancement. The field is constantly evolving, with new treatments, technologies and research emerging regularly. This perpetual learning environment excited me because it meant I could stay at the forefront of medical knowledge, continually refine my expertise and adopt innovative approaches to patient care.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
“Work smarter, not harder.” Work is an important and enjoyable part of life, but it should never consume all of a person’s effort or attention. Finding ways to work smarter instead of harder will cut down on wasted time and boost your overall productivity, leaving you free to care for yourself or pursue other interests outside of work.
How do you ensure your business is successful?
I truly understand and connect with my patients. I put myself in their shoes and genuinely empathize with their experiences and needs. Creating a warm and friendly environment is my goal. I work hard to enhance their overall experience, improve the quality of care I provide, build strong trust and rapport, stand out in a competitive market, and continuously improve by actively seeking and valuing patient feedback. This friendly and compassionate approach creates a patient-centered space that fosters loyalty, referrals and a positive impact on their well-being.
Describe your leadership style.
I like to empower others to make the right decisions and improve their work environment. Whenever challenges arise, my staff and I work together collaboratively to find the best ways to solve problems and to provide the highest quality of medical care.
What has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Navigating the never-ending and increasingly complex rules and regulations imposed by health insurance companies. From dealing with restrictive pharmacy formularies and treatment denials to completing prior authorization requests, my staff and I are always advocating what’s best for our patients.
Tell us your favorite quote.
It was something my dad used to tell me about running a business when I was growing up. It’s been attributed to Marshall Field, the famous American retailer. “There are only two rules of business that you need to remember. Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, re-read Rule 1.”
Tell us about a few of your passions.
I enjoy healthy cooking and have recently been trying a mostly plant-based diet. For hobbies I enjoy skiing, fishing and traveling with my family. We recently got our first dog, a poodle mix we named Napoleon. Watching the dog perform tricks for treats always brings a smile to my face.
How do you find time to fit it all in?
Managing my time and fitting everything in can be quite a challenge, but I believe that with thoughtful planning and a warm approach, it’s absolutely possible. I start by setting clear priorities and focusing on what truly matters most to my business. I create a schedule that allows dedicated time for each aspect of my work, ensuring a balance. Whenever necessary, I don’t hesitate to delegate or seek support, streamlining tasks and embracing technology to simplify my workload. I also make sure to eliminate any unnecessary activities that take up my precious time, and I always prioritize self-care and personal well-being. With a compassionate mindset and effective time management, I find the perfect rhythm to juggle my responsibilities and find joy in the process.