The Center for Human Appearance at Penn
About the Center for Human Appearance
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Psychology of Appearance
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History and the Endowment

Welcome to the Center for Human Appearance at Penn

Linton A. Whitaker, MD
Linton A. Whitaker, MD
Director, CHA

Appearance is fundamental – and key – to our interactions with others. People who have a healthy appearance tend to feel better about themselves. To appear normal, and to improve on even normal appearance are a basic human desires.

I became keenly aware of this when, in the 1970s, I was one of the first plastic surgeons in the U.S. to perform intricate craniofacial surgery on infants. Not only did my young patients thrive, but their families benefited psychologically as well. My experience drove me to study the interaction of human appearance and the psyche.

In 1988, the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center accepted my proposal to designate space for the first ever Center for Human Appearance within a university setting. Our Center was the country's first multispecialty group devoted to all aspects of human appearance, from the medical to the surgical to the psychological. Now, the Edwin and Fannie Gray Hall Center for Human Appearance provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study and treatment of appearance and the quality of life affected by it.

At the Center, we work as a team – creating a new paradigm in how we think about appearance. We consider form as well as function, and treat the psychological aspects as well as the physical facets of appearance.

Our core group of specialists includes plastic surgery, dermatology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology, otolaryngology and psychology. Each of these specialties shares an interest in both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Using the advanced technology and treatment options available through the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the team pursues their interest in appearance. They are proud of their affiliation with an institution rated one of America's best hospitals.

Please feel free contact us to answer your questions about our services and to learn more about The Center for Human Appearance at Penn.

Linton A. Whitaker, MD
Director, CHA


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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