Allergist Interview: Dr. Nathan Tang on Knowing Allergic Disease
This month, we interviewed Dr. Nathan Tang of Allergy Asthma Associates, PA. Dr. Tang is one of the leading experts in the Tampa Bay area in diagnosing and treating allergic and immunologic diseases. As Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of South Florida (USF), he participates in the teaching of medical students, residents, and fellows.
Dr. Tang is a Fellow Member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
He has authored several publications in peer-reviewed medical journals and has received numerous awards from USF as well as other medical organizations and is often invited to speak at local and national meetings.
Please tell me a little bit about yourself and your history as an allergist.
"I completed my pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Michigan and continued in allergy/ immunology. I also did clinical laboratory immunology fellowships at the University of South Florida. After graduating in 2000, I joined the University of South Florida as a full-time faculty member for seven years and I was given the opportunity to help run the Allergy/Immunology Fellowship Training Program. Over the past four years, I established Allergy Asthma Associates, my private practice in St. Petersburg, and I now work at both places."
How big is your practice? Is there a particular type of allergy or treatment your practice specializes in?
"At the University, I work together with five other allergists/immunologists in the Pediatric Department. The University of South Florida is the only Pediatric Allergy Training Program in Florida. We cover a wide area, from the cities around St. Petersburg-Tampa to all of the central Florida area. I also work full-time at my private allergy clinic in St. Petersburg. I typically see twenty to thirty patients, with five new patients a day. The practice services patients of all age groups and covers a broad range of allergy and immunology diseases, from simple out-patient visits and treatments to complicated in-patient procedures and immune modular therapies."
What do you love about your job?
"I like the feeling that we can make quite a big difference in patients' quality of life once proper diagnoses and treatments are made. It is especially gratifying when this can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time for patients who have suffered from allergic or immunologic diseases for several years.
"Since I have a chance to work in both academic and private practices, I get to enjoy every aspect of medicine from day-to-day patient care as a doctor, to working with the medical students and residents as a teacher, as well as staying up-to-date with the latest research and also getting to do some research of my own."
If you could suggest one thing for your patients what would it be?
"To know yourself and your disease very well. Become well-educated with what your disease is and what are you allergic to, and then learn how to control them. Unfortunately, most of allergic and immunologic diseases are life-long or continue for several years. However, your knowledge and the help of your doctors can make a lot of difference."
What is your favorite allergy relief product?
"I like allergy immunotherapy. It is the only treatment that can change the natural course of allergic diseases, and it is natural and effective. I personally take allergy shots and it works very well for me and most of my patients."
Where do you see allergy treatment going in the near future? Â In the distant future?
"Most antihistamines are now over-the-counter and plenty of beneficial medical information is available on the internet. Allergy treatment should become more affordable, more effective, and less side effects in the future."