05 November 2021 Volume :9 Issue :47

Internationally Renowned Dermatologist Reaches the Apex of her Academic Career

Internationally Renowned Dermatologist Reaches the Apex of her Academic Career
Professor Ncoza Dlova continues to inspire greatness.Click here for isiZulu version

Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Ncoza Dlova has risen up the ranks of academia to be promoted to the illustrious position of full professor. Dlova is one of the few Black African full professors in South Africa that make up only 14% of the total number. She is also the first African female full professor in the 71-year history of the Medical School.

On hearing of her promotion, Dlova’s son, Dr Wakithi Mabaso said, ‘My mother is the most remarkable woman I know. She is an academic trailblazer, a compassionate leader, a discerning thinker, a transformative game-changer, an approachable and humble role model and an adaptive innovator. What an honour and a privilege to be constantly learning from her unmatched example!’

Dlova’s colleague, Professor Anisa Mosam commented, ‘Professor Dlova is one of three full professors of Dermatology in South Africa and the first in KwaZulu-Natal. She is also one of five African full professors at UKZN.

‘She transcends boundaries in her pursuit of excellence, and encourages, motivates and opens doors for those around her. She has put UKZN and South African dermatology on the map and is recognised globally as a dermatologist of distinction. Professor Dlova continues to break the glass ceiling, creating opportunities for others within and outside the field of dermatology as well as on the continent at large. Her promotion is significant in that it motivates others and underlines the importance of persistence and perseverance to achieve excellence. She is also an exceptional leader in her current position as the first African female Dean at the School of Clinical Medicine, with several awards to her name.’

Dlova was born in the small village of Mtyolo, outside King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape. She graduated with an MBChB degree from the University of Natal’s Medical School in 1989. Following her internship in 1990 at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, she moved to Durban to specialise in Dermatology, qualifying as a Fellow of the College of Dermatologists of South Africa in 1998. She was the first African Dermatologist to qualify from UKZN and the second African female in the country.

She served as Acting Head of the Department of Dermatology for three years, and in 2013 received recognition from the KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Health for creating a Centre of Excellence and Leadership. She was awarded a PhD in Dermatology by UKZN in 2015 and took up the permanent position of Head of Dermatology. In 2017, the American Dermatology Association (ADA), recognised Dlova for her contribution and commitment to education in Africa, by nominating her as a member of their prestigious association.

Dlova was appointed the first African Head of the School of Clinical Medicine in 2018 and assumed office as Dean of the Medical School. In 2019, she made a significant contribution to science when she and her international collaborators discovered the root cause of Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), one of the most common causes of scarring alopecia amongst African women. She received national and widespread international acclaim for this ground-breaking study; including the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health’s Annual Research Excellence Award; first prize in the Leadership Excellence section at the South African Health Excellence Awards and runner-up for the Global Excellence Award; the Mail & Guardian Recognition for Women Leaders in Health Science; Professional of the Year from the Durban Chamber of Commerce; Presidential Research Excellence Award from Bio Africa and the prestigious International Society of Dermatology Maria Duran Award for Excellence in Dermatology.

Dlova has published extensively with more than 85 peer-reviewed articles in the field of Dermatology, and is the author of two dermatology books and a contributing author to other dermatological textbooks.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied

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