- Category: Profiles
- Issue: Apr 2014
ALLERGY & IMMUNOLOGY
Med School/Year Graduated: University of Texas at Houston Medical School, 1986
Years in Practice: 22
What inspired you to be an allergy specialist?
From high school through residency I admired my allergist, Dr. Thomas Hartley. He was the reason I studied pre-med in college. I was fortunate enough to join him after I completed my fellowship. I want to make a difference in patients’ lives like he did.
What’s the most common allergy you treat?
Allergic rhinitis, or what is known as hay fever. The most common allergens causing symptoms are pollens including grasses, trees and weeds. Olive trees tend to be one of the most problematic allergens here in the Valley.
What’s the most unique allergy you’ve ever encountered?
Seminal fluid allergy is the most unique allergy that I have encountered. That is a condition where a woman reacts to a protein in seminal fluid. The reaction can be anything from local itching and hives to anaphylaxis.
How does allergen immunotherapy work? How effective is it?
Allergen immunotherapy works by rebalancing the way T Cells, part of the immune system, view the environment. When a person is allergic, the immune system is actually viewing the allergic substance as something that is going to hurt the body and tries to eliminate it. Immunotherapy retrains the immune system to not view the allergen as bad.
Where’s the cleanest air you ever remember breathing?
I was on a 50-mile hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains with my Boy Scout troop.
Is there a credible theory to explain why children are more prone to peanut allergies than past generations?
There is no definite theory as to why food and peanut allergies are increasing. It may be that recognition and reporting are increasing and that it was under-reported before. Early avoidance of foods or genetic engineering may also contribute, but further study needs to be done.
“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be...”
I would enjoy owning a restaurant, a bakery or being a sports play-by-play announcer.