This week, Atlanta Allergy & Asthma’s Dr. Stanley Fineman took the time to answer three questions related to him and his field of medicine. Atlanta Allergy & Asthma is the largest allergy practice in Georgia and has been the premier provider of quality care and research in the field of allergies, asthma, and immunology for more than 40 years.
- Why did you choose to work in your particular specialty?
When I was in my residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a wonderful mentor influenced by specialty choice. Dr. Joseph Ghory was the allergist who treated the children with asthma at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. At the time, asthma was one of the leading causes of hospitalization. I found it remarkable how much he was able to help these children suffering with such chronic problems. He encouraged me to do a research project in the allergy field. Through this in-depth investigation, my interest in the field of allergy grew. It’s remarkable how our understanding of the allergic mechanisms and the immune system has advanced over the course of my professional career. The options for treatment have also improved our care for our patients. I’ve been truly fortunate to be an allergist.
- Is there a specific patient or work experience that left a lasting impact on you? If so, explain how and why.
Fortunately, there have been numerous patient experiences that have had a lasting impact on me. Recently, one of my pediatric allergy patients had an assignment to write a paper at his school about a hero. It was flattering that he chose me as his hero. I had helped him manage his allergy problem and, in his paper, he explained that this was life-changing for him and his family. Regarding professional work experiences, my participation in the World Allergy Organization’s Emerging Societies World Allergy Training Schools has been particularly gratifying. Traveling to medically underserved areas and teaching local physicians how to diagnose and manage allergy patients is challenging but rewarding. I’ve participated in training schools in places like India, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, and Korea. This fall, I’ll be presenting programs in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
- Do you have any advice for people studying to be a doctor in your field of medicine?
It is truly a wonderful opportunity to practice medicine and I do encourage students to pursue a career in medicine. The field of allergy has continued to make dramatic advances in our understanding of the allergic mechanisms and the development of new, more effective, and targeted treatments. It’s amazing for me to look back since in most cases we are using medications and immunotherapy regimens now that are more effective, have less side effects, and most were not available when I started in practice. Who know how it will evolve in the next 40 years! My advice for someone studying medicine now would be to work hard, be diligent, but enjoy the experience; particularly enjoy your patient interactions since these are among the most gratifying.
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