Fed-up with assembly-line style dermatology, Mill Valley resident says her Shelter Bay practice is about “putting patients first.” 

PictureDr. Haydee Knott. Courtesy image.

Dr. Haydee Knott’s circuitous journey to Mill Valley began in a most inauspicious place: at a paper-jammed printer in the medical school library of the University of California-San Diego.

It was there she met her future husband Daniel Knott, now the director of Facial Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at UCSF Medical Center. The couple’s journey took them both to the Cleveland Clinic in their respective fields for many years, and eventually to the Bay Area.

Now Haydee Knott, after extensive research work in dermatology and a four-year stint at Dermatology Consultants of Marin in San Rafael, is on the cusp of opening her own dermatology practice, Mill Valley Dermatology, in the Shelter Bay office complex near Piatti Restaurant.

Knott says her practice is driven by her desire to get back to basics and the entire reason she chose medicine and dermatology in particular: spending time with patients.

“I just got fed up with assembly-line style dermatology and dreamed of opening my ideal clinic,” Knott says. “I decided to go back to patient care as it was practiced during my residency training, when the mantra of ‘putting patients first’ was the rule instead of the exception.”

Knott says her practice is relationship-driven rather than production driven – “concierge care without concierge fees. I call it personalized dermatology care.”

Mill Valley Dermatology opens March 15.

Born in Mexico, Knott was raised in San Diego and later Los Angeles, where her extended family remains. She went to UCSD and then medical school at the University of Vermont. It was during her senior rotations back at UCSD that she met her husband in 1998. When he got his residency at the Cleveland Clinic, Haydee garnered a prized grant from the National Institute for Health to do research on psoriasis at what’s now called Case University under prominent dermatology doctor Kevin Cooper. She later became a resident doing her clinical training at the Cleveland Clinic, graduating in June 2011.

In the midst of all that, Haydee Knott pursued her passion in music and learned to play cello while studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the couple began having children, who are now 6, 9 and 11 years old.

When Knott garnered a fellowship in Cosmetic and Laser Surgery at University of California-San Francisco, she encouraged her husband to follow suit. He did just that, now specializing in head, neck and facial plastic reconstruction, particularly for cancer patients.

After the fellowship, Haydee Knott joined Dermatology Consultants of Marin, where she continued to see the gap between her ideal practice and the nature of the modern medical industry.

“It’s a very different beast,” she says. “It’s manageable but it’s just not what I wanted to do. In medicine, there are a lot of options in terms of treatment and when you have a really short time to spend with patients, you don’t have the time to go through all of the options with every patient. You also don’t have the time to focus on the patient’s history, their nutrition and behavior – those things matter.”

On the precipice of opening her new practice in the town she she lives with her husband and three children in a home that overlooks downtown Mill Valley, Knott reflects on the journey that brought her to this moment.

“Most medical students are drawn to the discipline where they have the most connection with the professors, and I happened to connect with my professors during dermatology lectures,” she says. “And while the content of the lectures really appealed to me, it was also incredibly clear to me that they were the happiest, nicest professors – that’s not a coincidence. Life is so crazy and exciting right now.”

The 411: Mill Valley Dermatology is at 655 Redwood Hwy./Frontage Road, Suite 210. 415-634-8411. More info.

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