Q&A: Charles E. Crutchfield III, M.D.
Healthcare innovator, medical-school professor and award-winning physician weighs in on selecting Eagan, practicing medicine and today’s health care.
Despite the fact that both of his parents were physicians, becoming a doctor wasn’t a given for Charles E. Crutchfield III, M.D. An early interest was architecture, and he also applied—and was accepted—into both the U.S. Navy and Air Force pilot programs. But eventually his passion for research drew him to medicine.
When Dr. Crutchfield attended his first medical school class in dermatology, “I got hit right between the eyes,” he says. “I remember that day walking out [thinking], ‘This is what I
want to do.’”
Today, Dr. Crutchfield is a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School; he is a philanthropist, donating to numerous local causes; and he is a longtime Eagan resident.
Most important, he is an award-winning physician: He’s annually selected as a “Top Doctor” (Mpls/St.Paul Magazine) and a “Best Doctor for Women” (Minnesota Monthly).
He’s been named to several top-doc lists, including “America’s 10 Leading Dermatologists” (Black Enterprise magazine), “America’s Top Doctors” (Castle Connolly Guide) and “America’s Top Dermatologists” (Consumers’ Research Council of America). And Dr. Crutchfield has been selected as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” an honor awarded to only four percent of all practicing physicians.
Finally, Crutchfield Dermatology offers the kind of specialized patient care increasingly popular in the Twin Cities. Read on as he shares his professional insights.
Why Eagan? How did you choose to locate your clinic here?
In 1998, I set up a practice here as a partner with Dermatology Consultants, and then I started my own practice in 2002. I actually had moved to Eagan when I was doing my
dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota. I liked Eagan, because it was easy to get to everywhere and the cost of living was good—especially for a resident. We bought a townhome and fell in love with the community.
[Plus], there were really no dermatology offices in the southeastern metro; so I said, we really need to look at this area.
While Crutchfield Dermatology serves patients with all kinds of dermatological conditions, what are the clinic’s specialties?
Our clinic is a center of excellence for the treatment of acne, psoriasis, aesthetic medicine and also ethnic medicine. As an African American physician, I specialize in
the treatment of ethnic skin. We have our own phototherapy center for skin diseases, and we have our own medical spa.
Are most patients from Eagan and the surrounding area?
Now that we have an established practice and we’ve been here for over 14 years, we have a patient base of over 50,000 patients. We see a lot of patients from the Eagan area and the southeastern metro, but we also see patients from Maple Grove, Center City, Wayzata, from all over, including from all over the United States. We’ve actually gone international, [with] patients who’ve flown in from Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Who are the staff members who support you?
I’m the only physician in my office and we have 40 support staff—nurses, medical assistants, reception-area staff, HR people, spa staff, phototherapy center nurses. You name it; we have it. Everybody here does such a great job supporting me and my ability to run the practice. More and more practices are looking toward this model, and it’s something we developed almost 20 years ago. My support staff also helps me with taking notes and scribing, and that’s become all the rage. We’ve done that in my clinic since 2002, and now it’s sweeping the nation because it makes physicians so much more efficient.
Is there a medical trend affecting the practice of dermatology?
One trend that dermatologists and small medical practices are concerned about is called narrowing networks. A lot of
insurance companies are limiting the number of doctors or clinics they cover. As a result, they can control costs, but
most physicians in small clinics think that should turn around—we want open access…. If there’s a clinic that’s staffed with physicians who are licensed by the state of Minnesota in good standing, the insurance companies should recognize that and let patients make the selections.
Has the practice of dermatology changed since you were a resident?
In the] almost 20 years since I completed my residency, we’ve seen a couple of things change: Number one, there’s been an explosion of options for aesthetic medicine, so not just pure medical dermatology but techniques that rejuvenate
the skin. Number two—and this is just a natural evolution in all of medicine—there are myriad new biologic medications available to help treat disease. And lots more biologic treatments and treatments for certain types of cancers. So there’s been an explosion in our ability to effectively treat many skin diseases. And that is tremendous.