Dr. Brandt Foundation Honors Late Miami Dermatologist With PPE Donation

Dr. Fredric BrandtEXPAND
Dr. Fredric Brandt
Photo courtesy of the Dr. Brandt Foundation

After completing his residency at the University of Miami's medical school, Dr. Fredric Brandt put down roots in Coral Gables, which he called home for the remainder of his life. As his practice grew in the 1990s, the beloved dermatologist began treating an elite roster of celebrity patients, opened an office in New York, and eventually became known as the Baron of Botox.

But he never forgot his beginnings. Wanting to share his success, Brandt worked as a clinical associate professor of dermatology at UM and kept close ties to the medical school community until his suicide in 2015.

In the wake of his death — which will be five years ago this Saturday — his colleagues created the Dr. Brandt Foundation to normalize conversations about mental health, depression, and suicide. Now, as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) puts a stranglehold on South Florida, the foundation is continuing to honor Brandt's bond with his alma mater by donating masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment to the University of Miami Health System.

"Dr. Brandt had a close connection with the University of Miami, so I called them and said, 'Guys, what can we do to help you? Because I know you're on the front lines.'" says Stephane Colleu, CEO of the foundation.

When the university requested personal protective equipment (PPE), the foundation kicked into gear to begin raising funds. Through April 15, the Dr. Brandt Foundation will donate $1 toward the purchase of PPE for every Instagram post that includes the hashtag #SayILoveYou.

"Hopefully, we can also share an uplifting message to healthcare providers," Colleu says.

Heading into April, the foundation had planned a campaign targeted at the LGBTQ community that would be centered on Miami Beach Pride. But as the spread of the new coronavirus forced Pride to be canceled, the team decided to pivot.

"I told the team: 'Nothing that we planned is going to happen as expected, but right now mental health is more important for everyone worldwide than ever,'" Colleu recounts.

To that end, the foundation has been working side-by-side with the Dr. Brandt Skincare team to host daily Instagram Live sessions that offer guided meditation, fitness routines, and cooking lessons. Colleu and his colleagues hope to generate further awareness about depression and suicide in the coming months to support vulnerable populations during a time of isolation and tremendous anxiety.

Colleu says that if Brandt were still alive, he can imagine the doctor taking round-the-clock calls to soothe patients' anxieties and offer a sympathetic ear. And he believes Brandt would find a way to devote his visionary thinking to the crisis to help as many people as possible.

"The guy was a real genius, so creative. I wish I would know exactly [what he would do] because probably I would do something more fantastic than what we are doing," Colleu says. "He was very charitable with his time and his resources. Nothing meant more to him than his patients — the empathy that he had was extraordinary. This is why he was so successful and why people fell in love with him."

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