Dr. Gregory Neily is in charge of sun-blocking skin damage on Boca Grande through the Boca Grande Health Clinic.
He proved popular after his recent appointment and is expected to return in October after summer break.
Here's how he became connected with Gasparilla Island skin care and what he intends to do about the significant dermatological challenges that come of living on an island paradise.
Dr. Greg Neily
QUESTION: How did you become affiliated with the Boca Grande Health Clinic?
ANSWER: I was seeing a lot of patients from Boa Grande. They would come all the way up here to Venice. Dr. (Michael) Steffan was sending them up here. There was a need for a dermatologist in Boca Grande. I was impressed with the Boca Grande Clinic. It's a really first-class facility. It's an impressive setup.
Q: So you decided it would be better for you to come to Boca Grande than have islanders come to you in Venice?
Dr. Greg Neily at a glance
Birth date: Aug. 28, 1953
Occupation: Dermatologist at Coast Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Venice and the Boca Grande Health Clinic.
Boca Grande Clinic hours: 9 a.m. to noon second and fourth Friday of the month. Schedule an appointment by calling (941) 493-7400 and ask to see Dr. Neily at the Boca Grande Health Clinic Annex. APPOINTMENTS RESUME IN OCTOBER.
Family: married 13 years with two daughters
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale although born in Flint, Mich.
Education: dermatology residency at Western University of Health Sciences in Los Angeles, 2001 chief resident; anesthesiology residency at Poh Medical Center in Pontiac, Mich., chief resident 1983; internal medicine residency at Poh; and internship at Poh. A graduate of Florida State University who received his medical degree from Southeastern University of Health Sciences in Miami.
Experience: private solo practice at Coast Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Venice since 2002; and group practice Advanced Dermatology, 2001-2002. Diplomate of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.
Discovered Boca Grande: professional relationship with Dr. Michael Steffan of Boca Grande. I was surprised to discover this island surrounded by beautiful blue waters and the laid-back atmosphere of the downtown.
A: I figured I could make the time to go down there and see them all. Dr. Steffan and (CEO) John Sielert were very accommodating in getting me set up.
Q: Are people being as careful with the powerful sunrays that beam down on Gasparilla Island as they should be?
A: I see a lot of the younger children are very diligent about putting sunscreen on. It's probably because their parents have taught them that at a young age. I do see a lot of the older teenagers still going out and getting tans despite knowing sunscreen is available and some are still going to tanning booths. The older patients are much better about sunscreen now although they've had all those years prior when they were exposed without any protection so a lot of sun damage has accumulated.
Q: Can you use a tanning booth in a healthy manner?
A: You want to avoid any type of unnecessary tanning. Tanning booths are the equivalent to: Is there a healthy cigarette? No.
Q: What drew you to dermatology?
A: I was an anesthesiologist prior to going into dermatology and I didn't have the patient contact. I have a need to have a rapport with the patients. I found dermatology was very interesting and offered quite a variety in figuring out skin disorders and rashes. It was just a lot more interesting.
Q: What brought you to this area from your hometown of Fort Lauderdale?
A: I had a friend who lived on Siesta Key. I moved south in 2002 because I really liked the people and the area.
Q: Why does an affiliation with Boca Grande make sense for you? It's 22 miles away from work and even farther from your Sarasota home.
A: Because it's just something I needed to do for new opportunities. It would certainly be much easier to use my Venice facilities and more efficient for me, personally, but in order to accommodate the patients on Boca Grande it's something I wanted to do. The patients on Gasparilla Island are very appreciative. They are courteous and show up to their appointments and they are just good patients in general.
Q: in terms of conditions you must treat, is there any difference between the Boca Grande patient and the Venice patient?
A: No, they are similar. We see a lot of sun damage and skin cancers, melanomas because this is a temperate climate where people are outdoors with a lot of boaters and golfers and outdoors people.
Q: What are these boaters and golfers doing wrong? Is it just a lack of sunscreen?
A: I don't see them wearing enough protective clothing and sunscreen or reapplying the sunscreen often enough.
Q: Why do you hold up fishing captains as models of sun handling?
A: The fishing captains nowadays are completely covered with some protective clothing in addition to their sunscreen and they're even wearing the broad-rimmed hats and sunglasses and, in some cases, the hoods. I'd like to see more boaters and golfers doing that.
Q: What are your goals concerning your practice?
A: I've gotten pretty well established at (Coast Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center and I'd like to be established on Boca Grande. I kind of like the personal atmosphere we have here. I don't want to expand to be too big so I don't know my patients. I would kind of like to keep it small.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I like welding and fabricating.
Q: That's a different hobby. What do you weld and fabricate?
A: I do anything from farm implements and my tractor to steel art.
Q: Do you display any of your art?
A: Just around my house (Laughs).