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Michael Blaiss, MD

Q: Why did you become an allergist?

A:  To be honest, I always wanted to be a general pediatrician. I never had any allergies or asthma growing up and really did not know what an allergist did. It was during my pediatric residency at University of Tennessee/ Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, where I was exposed to allergy and asthma for the first time. I really enjoyed caring for children hospitalized with asthma. I found the pathophysiology fascinating. Also, I got introduced to immunodeficiency and found learning about the immune system enthralling.

But the real reason I went into allergy were the three mentors who guided me during my pediatric training: Hank Herrod, Phil Lieberman, Lloyd Crawford, each a giant in the field of allergy/immunology.

It was the guidance of Hank Herrod that propelled me in doing my first research project and development of the manuscript that was later published in Annals.

Attending weekly conferences with Phil Lieberman were always a treat as he made learning allergy and immunology fun.

Working in Lloyd Crawford’s allergy clinic showed me how fulfilling it was to work up and manage patients with allergic and asthmatic conditions. In fact, it was Dr. Crawford who called around the country to get me in an allergy fellowship since I waited until late in the third year of my pediatric residency to decide to go into allergy.

It was one of the best decisions of my life.

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