Luz Fonacier, MD
Q: Why did you become an allergist?
My journey into the field of Allergy/Immunology (AI) is a long and exciting one, including residencies in dermatology and internal medicine, and fellowships in Dermal Immunology and Allergy/Immunology. Soon I was breaking the ceiling, becoming the Head of Allergy in New York University (NYU) Winthrop Hospital, establishing the fellowship in AI and becoming the first female professor level in Winthrop University Hospital. Outside of my institution, I am the chair of the ABAI, the fourth female president and the first Asian American president of the ACAAI.
There are many paths and choices to take in allergy. We take care of a wide variety of patients from conception to near end of life. We diagnose, treat and manage many diseases from rare and complex potentially life-threatening disorders of the immune system, as well as common disorders such as asthma and allergy. We perform procedures such as skin tests, pulmonary function tests, allergy immunotherapy, food and drug desensitization, induction of tolerance and patch tests.
AI physicians are on the cutting edge of medicine in a field that is rapidly advancing. The job of an allergist is extremely challenging and satisfying. It is intellectually stimulating and allows a great career for both women and men.
What is unique in AI? We see both adult and pediatric patients, an opportunity for longitudinal care. We work with many other specialists and primary care physicians to provide multidisciplinary care for complex patients. We can decide to be primarily an outpatient practice although we may be asked to consult on hospitalized patients. We can “subspecialize” in areas such as transplant immunology, cancer immunotherapeutics, vaccine development, etc. The career opportunities are endless, clinical practice, university faculty, research/tenure track, clinician educator, government careers (NIH, FDA, military, etc.) and/or pharmaceutical/biotech industry.
So, I think the question is, "Who would not
like to become an allergist?"