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Niraj Patel, MD

Niraj Patel, MDQ: Why did you become an allergist?

A:  Becoming an allergist wasn’t even on my radar when I started a pediatric infectious disease fellowship. However, thanks to my love for immunology, I subsequently pursued a second fellowship in allergy and immunology. As I continued my fellowship, I realized that the field of allergy was exciting and thought-provoking, and allergists could play a vital role in addressing important challenges across the spectrum of public health.

Understanding drug allergy became critical for patients with multiple antibiotic allergies and difficult to treat, drug-resistant organisms. Allergic rhinitis and asthma contributed to recurrent respiratory infections, complicating the diagnosis of primary immunodeficiency.

In a new role as Chair of the ACAAI COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce, I am amazed at the near-constant developments on COVID-19 vaccines, particularly the efforts to minimize allergic reactions and make the vaccine more accessible to everyone. The ability to tackle difficult challenges in allergy, educate trainees and the public, and continuously learn about our fascinating immune system (the science behind allergy) has made allergy a fulfilling career choice.

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