Allergist Motivated by Opportunities for Longitudinal, Continued Care

Dr. Suzanne Fishman
Allergist & Immunologist

When Dr. Suzanne Fishman was growing up, she struggled through seasonal allergies and watched a family member struggle with asthma. In fact, when she started medical school at Tufts University, she was drawn to pulmonary medicine because of her childhood experiences. “It wasn’t until I was in med school that I realized allergists existed and that one could have helped me. It really spurred my interest in the field, and I decided to pursue allergy and immunology,” she says.

Allergy and immunology is a confluence of multiple specialties, bringing pulmonary and respiratory medicine, clinical immunology, and otolaryngology (also known as ENT or ear, nose and throat) together in a nuanced and interesting way, Dr. Fishman says. “The internist in me enjoys the challenge that comes with treating multiple medical problems,” she says. “And the clinical immunology piece of what I do transcends so many different parts of medicine. All of these nuanced areas are tied together in allergy and immunology.”

Allergists deal with a spectrum of conditions

“People conceptually think, if you have a runny nose in April, that’s what the allergist deals with,” Dr. Fishman says. “But it’s so much more broad. I treat allergic airway diseases, nasal and sinus conditions, asthma, chronic cough, and a multitude of allergic conditions like food allergies and allergic skin disorders.”

She also cares for patients who suffer from primary immune deficiency diseases, which are rare but chronic disorders caused by defects in how the immune system functions. Patients who have chronic sinusitis may initially see an ENT doctor but an allergist can also follow them, typically for longer periods of time.

Nurturing long-term patient relationships

Dr. Fishman enjoys the long-term relationships she is able to nurture with patients. Though some patients seek help with an acute problem that can be fixed without much follow-up, others require more long-term care that includes yearly checkups, periodic testing, ongoing treatment, and medication. “Some people need continued care over the course of their lifetimes. It’s a privilege to be connected to people who deeply trust you, and to be able to affect patients’ quality of life over a long period of time,” Dr. Fishman says. “I have the luxury to follow patients longitudinally. I’m sure they’ve seen me grow and change, too — they’ve maybe even seen me grey a little bit!”

Learn more about why Dr. Fishman loves working for CPMG