Paul Greenberger, MD
- President, American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology
- Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief for Education and Clinical Affairs
- With Northwestern since 1977
- Performs clinical research and basic research on a variety of aspects of asthma and the related disease of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
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Why did you choose allergy as a career path?
When I was a first year medical student, I initially had focused on Hepatology as I was working on the mechanism of fatty liver from alcohol in rats. That research led to a trip to Chicago and presentation at the Central Society for Clinical Research. Then I thought I was going to be a pulmonologist based on a terrific sub-I experience at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis. As a resident, I considered pulmonary as a specialty but my favorite disease became asthma instead of COPD so I chose to specialize in allergy-immunology during residency. Allergy-Immunology as a field has changed because the science of our field has improved and is top-notch.
You have worked at Northwestern for many years now. How has your experience been?
Working at NUFSM has allowed my career to develop far more than I could have imagined when I joined the faculty in 1977. There was a commitment to an excellent internal medicine residency program then, under the late Roy Patterson, M.D. as chair of Medicine. The pass rate on the ABIM, which has been very high for over 30 years, was recognized as only one measure of success as there was a belief that high quality patient care, professionalism and interpersonal communication were necessary attributes of our residents (and medical students), long before the ACGME incorporated them into residency education. Although I am known for not always spoon feeding residents with answers to some basic information/judgment questions (I want to help them learn actively), I take much pride in having been a small part of the professional development of a great many Northwestern students, residents and allergy-immunology fellows over the years.
What are your career goals?
From a research perspective, I have to secure continued FDA approval for a project that I am PI which studies a method to reduce allergic reactivity in humans. The study utilizes the neuropeptide, substance P, in conjunction with allergen immunotherapy and was discovered, serendipitously, in allergic monkeys in the medical school. It worked in me too. My own reaction to grass pollen went down 700 times and then disappeared! Previously 7/8 subjects with hay fever benefited for up to 3 years from only 12 injections. Also, I want to continue to impart as much knowledge about allergy-immunology and internal medicine to the many internal medicine residents and senior/junior students who rotate with us in the clinics.
I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and then moved to West Lafayette, IN for high school and college at Purdue. Later, I relocated to Indianapolis for Indiana University Medical School and internship (Methodist Hospital), Residency (Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, Washington University), then Fellowship at Northwestern in Allergy-Immunology. I am fortunate to have had many excellent role models at each stop!