She read about a sunscreen initiative Miami Beach was launching, and it got her attention. So Danielle Deroy Pirain ’94 decided to do something about it. Pirain, who works as a histologist at Vujevich Dermatology Associates in Pittsburgh, took her idea to the dermatologist she works with. She wanted to install sunscreen dispensers at public parks in the area.
Together, they proposed the idea to the City of Mount Lebanon in the Pittsburgh suburbs, and then again to the City of Pittsburgh. Now, thanks to Pirain, sunscreen dispensers (SPF 30) are in several parks in the Pittsburgh area.
“I guess I’m that kind of action person,” she says. “I want to be that person who does it, not just talks about doing it.”
With the rise of skin cancer incidences, Pirain believes having sunscreen in the parks will be a handy reminder to people to apply sunscreen—and reapply it. “You put your sunscreen on and you think you’re fine for the whole day, but you actually have to reapply it every two hours,” she says. “A lot of people don’t know that.”
As a histologist, Pirain takes skin tissue, freezes it, stains it and puts it under the microscope to look for cancer cells. At Vujevich Dermatology Associates, two surgeons remove skin cancer in real time during an intricate procedure called MOHS surgery.
“I love being part of the laboratory,” Pirain says. “It’s a wonderful area to be in, for helping to solve the whole medical mystery of things. You’re solving the puzzle real time. Patients come in with cancer, and by the time they leave, their cancer is gone.”
You’re mom to Noelle, 11, and Christopher, 9. What’s it like being a mom?
Being a mom of a middle schooler is fun. It tests your technology skills and the love of your car. I enjoy watching my kids in their activities as they mature into beautiful, kind people.
What values do you strive to impart to your kids?
I try to teach my kids values by example. I want my kids to be respectful, compassionate and honest.
What are some things Americans can do to take better care of their skin?
Protect your skin at a younger age by wearing sunscreen – even on your hands. Skip the tanning beds, and get an annual skin check.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I love cooking, eating great food, entertaining friends, any kind of music and running.
What’s one trait you like in others?
I admire a sense of adventure.