This week, we’re joined by Dr. Lily Hwang of Atlanta Allergy & Asthma to discuss the first treatment for food allergy and when it will be available, the impact of coronavirus on those with allergy and asthma, and what all the rain might mean to the spring pollen season.
Dr. Lily Hwang’s professional journey began after witnessing the powerful impact of compassion from others. At age 3, Dr. Hwang and her family of Chinese descent immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam thanks to the selflessness and unwavering support of their sponsor, a kindhearted Alabama farmer. Later in high school, while volunteering in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, she was struck by the dedication of healthcare professionals saving the lives of fragile newborns. These experiences pushed Dr. Hwang to seek a pre-med bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga and a medical degree at Ross University School of Medicine.
Another personal experience acted as a catalyst for Dr. Hwang’s career in allergy and immunology. Being part of a tight-knit family gave her a front-row view of the rigors of asthma and allergy management, something she draws from today. Watching her nephew deal with severe asthma, an exhaustive list of food allergies, and the potential life-threatening implications of both opened Dr. Hwang’s eyes. It especially hit home after witnessing her nephew’s allergic reaction in a restaurant and his life being saved by an epinephrine injection.
“It’s different when you look at it from the patient side,” Dr. Hwang said. “It really gives me empathy and a better perspective on how both parents and patients feel.”
Driven by this perspective, Dr. Hwang went on to complete her fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Rush University Medical Center/John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois.
Today, Dr. Hwang continues to appreciate the thrill of being involved in such an ever-advancing field of medicine. She stays on top of the latest medical and technological developments in allergy and immunology by reading up-to-the-minute journals and attending conferences.
“There are always new things happening in the allergy medical community,” Dr. Hwang said. “It’s exciting to be involved in such a dynamic specialty. Using that knowledge and being able to tell a patient ‘I think we can change your life’ is what keeps me going.”
In her spare time, Dr. Hwang enjoys spending time and vacationing with her husband, their two children, her parents, and siblings.