About Dr. Hines
Dr. Wirt (Andy) Hines III is a dermatologist who is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and fellowship-trained Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He lives full time in Anacortes. Prior to opening Anacortes Dematology, Dr. Hines practiced dermatology in Mount Vernon Washington, but sold the clinic in 2008 to take a medical leave of absence.
At the University of Utah, Dr. Hines completed both a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and also obtained a medical degree, through the combined M.D./Ph.D. program. Dr. Hines worked with Dr. Andrew Thorburn for his graduate thesis at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Eccles Institute of Human Genetics. Dr. Thorburn is now professor and Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado, and is regarded throughout the scientific community as an expert in Apoptosis (regulated cell death) and basic science research of cancer. During his graduate training, Dr. Hines also worked with the Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Mario Capechi, who in 1997 was recognized for developing the ground breaking technique of making ‘knockout' mice. This important scientific discovery facilitated huge advances in science, because it allowed a specific gene to be targeted and replaced with a recombinant or mutated gene. Dr. Hines has authored scientific publications on melanoma vaccines, infectious diseases, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, molecular biology, and gene transcription. Dr. Hines has been awarded research grants and awards from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Undergraduate), American Heart Association, and funding from the Dee Foundation.
After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Hines finished an internship in Internal Medicine and a Dermatology residency in at the University of Colorado. He then underwent subspecialty fellowship training in Mohs Micrographic Surgery (a technique for microscopic removal of skin cancer) with Dr. Ramsey Mellette. Dr. Mellette is internationally known as a skin surgeon, and speaks regularly throughout the country. Dr. Hines was briefly faculty at the University of Colorado as an “Instructor Fellow”.
From approximately 2005 through 2009, Dr. Hines was the only physician in Washington State trained to perform Mohs Micrographic surgery on melanoma. This was accomplished by using the MART-1 immunostain and other specialized techniques to provide reliable information about the surgical 'margins' of this difficult to treat disease. It is especially useful in areas needing extreme tissue conservation, such as the eyelid, nose, lips, etc. Since 2009, Dr. Hines has trained other physicians to use this technique.
Unfortunately, at the age of 31, Dr. Hines was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after experiencing an acute 'manic episode'. Consistent with the natural course of this disease, he exhibited symptoms found with many bipolar patients. These included rapid and pressured speech, a decreased need for sleep, increases in goal-directed activities, and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities with a high potential for painful consequences. Like many who suffer from mental illness, bipolar disorder caused wide-ranging financial, legal, and personal consequences while it was untreated. Thankfully, his clinical care was never compromised, and Dr. Hines's family, friends, and treating psychiatrist assisted him in getting diagnosed and receiving the medication he needed. With the support and oversight from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP), Dr. Hines was placed on the medication Lithium which normalized his mood, reversing the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Dr. Hines has not had any symptoms of Bipolar or manic episodes since initial medical therapy in 2008. He continues to practice medicine with the support and oversight of the American Board of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Department of Health, and many other individuals, organizations, and insurance providers.
Since his medical leave of absence in 2009, Dr. Hines has been an advocate of those suffering from mental illness, and has given numerous public presentations to our community (see below). According to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 4 individuals will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime, and approximately 1 in 10 will have a serious mental illness. Amazingly, approximately 1/2 of all Americans will experience a diagnosable mental illness sometime in their life. Examples of serious mental illnesses include diseases such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression. Many of these mental illnesses can be well controlled with effective medications. However, our society stigmatizes those with mental illness, and this stigma exacts a heavy toll on individuals, caregivers, social policy, and the criminal justice system. Mistaken believes of personal weakness, character flaws, or purposeful immoral or criminal behavior fuel our misunderstanding of those with mental illness. These misconceptions and stigmatization cause affected individuals to have difficulties with employment, socialization, and activities of daily living. It is only by addressing these issues in an open and pragmatic manner, that the stigma of mental illness can be reduced.
Dr. Hines speaks publicly about the stigma of mental illness and its impact on our community. Along with other prominent figures such as ex King County Executive Mr. Randy Ravelle, Dr. Hines has been invited to give numerous presentations throughout our community on the issue of mental health, and the stigma associated with mental disorders. These include presentations to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Leadership Skagit, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Skagit Young Professionals, Washington State University Affiliates, and others. Mr. Ravelle, who is past president of the Washington Hospital Association, has met with Dr. Hines on the subject of mental illness and health care delivery to design effective strategies to help our community with tis problem. Dr. Hines gives inspirational messages of hope, direction, and compassion.
Dr. Hines is a voting Delegate for the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) policy-making body and the House of Delegates and a member of the Skagit-Island Counties Medical Society. He has a wonderful wife and 16-year-old daughter, and has lived in Anacortes since 2006.