Mitchell Lester, MD
Q: Why did you become an allergist?
Even as a resident, I loved taking care of asthma. It was the mid-80s, relatively dark days for asthma care compared to today’s armamentarium. Epinephrine and Susphrine for the bad ED patient, aminophylline drips for acute inpatients, inhaled cromolyn for the “bad asthmatics” and low-dose inhaled beclomethasone for the “really bad” asthmatics were the standard of the day.
I was practicing pediatrics and recognized the frequency of undertreated asthma (no, erythromycin does not fix an asthma flare!). When I was single, unattached, and could afford a cut in pay, I chose to forego general pediatrics, pursue my main clinical interests, and move to Denver for my Allergy/Immunology fellowship. There has been no looking back over the last 30 years.
I love what I do. We see so many patients with a wide spectrum of conditions that have huge impact on their quality of life. Every day, we help our patients live their lives with greater physical and emotional comfort. Many even want to come see us! I am forever grateful to my mentors at National Jewish and my first post-fellowship position in Boston for giving me the tools to fulfill my responsibilities to my patients.
Allergy/Immunology has given me so much that I only can hope to repay even half the debt. I try to serve our community and promote our specialty by my activities in the College, the ABAI, the New England Society, and the AAP. It is an obligation and a joy to do so.