To you, it's important that you know your doctors—where they've practiced, how long, and with whom. We couldn't agree more, and we appreciate the chance to tell the story of our practice as well as ourselves.
We also want you to know where to find us and how to reach us (click here). We welcome your inquiries and look forward to building a relationship with you as a patient.
We will provide the full scope of dermatologic care as we live out the legacy of exceptional quality and compassion that was exemplified by our founding physicians.
It all began with a dramatic risk-taking decision by Dr. Rex Amonette. While in the second year of his residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, his mentor and chairman, Dr. William Rosenberg, learned about a procedure for the treatment of skin cancer that had been developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Perry Robins at New York University was beginning to use Mohs’s techniques; Amonette flew to New York and committed to a fellowship year with Dr. Robins. Amonette became only the second fellowship-trained physician in the United State to practice the Mohs method.
Advancing this procedure and gaining acceptance for it in the medical community became the driving force of Amonette’s career. Traditionalists resisted the new strategy. To them it seemed much easier to surgically remove a cancer by cutting deep enough to get it all; if it returned, cut again. The Mohs technique involved excising small layers of skin, preparing the specimen for frozen section microscopic examination, and continuing until no evidence of cancer. Over time, the techniques and technology of Mohs surgery have been steadily improved and are now recognized in the medical community as the best approach to curing skin cancers. Amonette and senior physicians at Memphis Dermatology Clinic have played a key role in demonstrating the success of Mohs surgery and in establishing a place for it in the training of dermatologist and other surgical specialists.
Growth of the Practice
The inauspicious beginning in 1972 – one doctor assisted by a nurse/technician, his wife Johnnie, and his cousin Brenda Lanier from Texas as the receptionists/secretary/office manager – quickly turned into a very busy practice. Just four years later, Harvey Gardner completed his Mohs training with Rex and joined him as partner; in 1982, Frank Witherspoon did the same. Lee Allen, a native Memphian, returned to the clinic where he trained after a successful career in Portland, Oregon. In the last decade, a younger generation of physicians has energized the practice: Drs. Gwen Beard, Robin Friedman-Musicante, Amy Amonette Huber, Courtney Woodmansee, Frances Lawhead, Emily Overholser, and Joseph Pietrangelo.
With six surgeons, two general dermatologists and a staff of approximately fifty, the clinic occupies two buildings in Midtown Memphis at the corner of Union Avenue and Kimbrough. Patients appreciate the large, comfortable waiting rooms, where they can be with their families as they await test results and completion of the surgery. The Mohs technique requires an on-site lab for examination of freshly cut tissues. The work of physicians, lab technicians, nurses, clerical and administrative support staff, is coordinated by Barry Birmingham, with the assistance of long time employees Brenda Powell and Rhonda Williams. Following the retirement of Dr. Amonette’s cousin Brenda Lanier, Birmingham serves as the Executive Director of the practice.
Achievement and Recognition
Dr. Amonette’s achievements have been recognized with the highest honors of his profession. After serving as president of both the national and international organizations of dermatological surgeons, he was elected President of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1995. He was also awarded the Academy’s Gold Medal for Lifetime Accomplishment. His wife, Johnnie Amonette, a significant partner in the work of his professional offices, has served as President of the American Medical Association Alliance and a University of Tennessee trustee. After forty-four plus years, Dr. Amonette retired from the active practice of medicine in 2016, but does remain involved with professional organizations and Memphis Dermatology Clinic.
Rex A. Amonette, M.D., F.A.A.D. (Emeritus)
Dr. Amonette completed his medical degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After his residency at UT Memphis and fellowship at the New York University Skin and Cancer Center, he founded Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 1972. With long lists of subsequent honors and publications, and having headed local and state professional organizations, he was elected President of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1995, receiving its Gold Medal Award in 2005. The following year, he received the Frederic E. Mohs Distinguished Service Award.
J. Harvey Gardner, M.D., F.A.A.D. (Emeritus)
Having completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee and two tours of duty with the US Air Force, Dr. Gardner came to Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 1976 to serve a fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Since then, he has presided over local and state dermatological societies while continuing to practice. Dr. Gardner currently holds an assistant professorship at the University of Tennessee.
Lee Allen, M.D., F.A.A.D. (Emeritus)
A Memphis native, Dr. Allen nonetheless took a circuitous route to Memphis Dermatology Clinic. After undergraduate studies at Purdue and Tulane Universities in the US, as well as the Universities of Vienna and Paris, he completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee. After internship and residency in Memphis, Dr. Allen began a sixteen-year practice with Northwest Permanente Clinic in Portland, Oregon. In 1986, Dr. Allen returned to Memphis to practice with Memphis Dermatology Clinic.
Frank G. Witherspoon, Jr., M.D., F.A.A.D.
With a BA in Biology from Vanderbilt University and an MS in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Witherspoon received an MD degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He completed his internship at the City of Memphis Hospital, his Dermatology residency at UT Health Science Center, where he is an assistant clinical professor, and his Fellowship in Mohs Surgery with Dr. Rex Amonette. Dr. Witherspoon is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American College of Mohs Surgery and has practiced with Memphis Dermatology Clinic since 1982.
F. Gwen Beard, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Dr. Beard graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in microbiology from the University of Tennessee. She completed her medical degree at the University of Louisville graduating Alpha Omega Alpha. She returned to the University of Tennessee to do her internship and residency. This was followed by a fellowship in Mohs micrographic surgery and cosmetic dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania under Dr. Leonard Dzubow. Dr. Beard specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery as well as general and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. Beard is board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American College of Mohs Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic surgery, and she is on faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 1999.
Robin Friedman, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Friedman is an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Following residency at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Friedman completed a one-year fellowship in Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery, dermatologic laser surgery, and cosmetic dermatology at the Methodist Hospital of the Baylor University school of medicine in Houston, Texas, under the direction of Leonard H. Goldberg, MD. Dr. Friedman-Musicante is a member of the American College of Mohs Surgery. She joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 2000, where she has a thriving practice and academic career.
Amy Amonette Huber, M.D., F.A.A.D.
After undergraduate studies at The University of the South, Dr. Amy Huber completed her medical degree, internship, residency, and fellowship in Mohs micrographic surgery at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. She has practiced with Memphis Dermatology Clinic since 2004. Dr. Huber is board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology and is a member of the American College of Mohs Surgery.
Courtney S. Woodmansee, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Dr. Woodmansee joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 2008 after a fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery at the University of Louisville. Prior to her fellowship, her studies had taken from the University of Mississippi to the UT Memphis Health Science Center, where she completed her medical degree, internship, and residency. Dr. Woodmansee is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Academies of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, and the American College of Mohs Surgery. Dr. Woodmansee is board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology.
Frances K. Lawhead, M.D., F.A.A.D.
A West Tennessee native, Dr. Lawhead graduated from college at The University of Tennessee at Knoxville as a Whittle Scholar in the Honors Department. She continued her education in the College of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis where she was named a Cannon Scholar, member of Alpha Omega Alpha, and recipient of the Robert Summit Award for outstanding academics, leadership, service, and character. Her residency in Dermatology was also completed at UTHSC. Being thus far “all Vol”, she moved to “The Swamp” to complete her fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Procedural Dermatology at the University of Florida. Dr. Lawhead is board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology and is a member of the American College of Mohs Surgery. She enjoys running and tennis, discussing sports, and spending time with her two energetic daughters and husband.
Emily Overholser, M.D., F.A.A.D.
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, Dr. Overholser joined the Seminole nation for her medical training at Florida State University. She came to UT Memphis for her internship and residency in dermatology. She and her husband love Memphis and decided to settle here. Dr. Overholser became a diplomate of the American Academy of Dermatology in August 2014, at which time she joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, Gold Humanism Honor Society, and the American Academies of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Overholser and her husband have two daughters.
Joseph Pietrangelo, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Born and raised in Memphis, Dr. Pietrangelo earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame. After pursuing an advanced degree in theology in Berkeley, California, Dr. Pietrangelo returned home for medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with highest honors. Dr. Pietrangelo and his wife have two daughters. Dr. Pietrangelo is board certified by the American Academy of Dermatology. He joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 2016.