When I started college, I planned to be a social worker, but I always liked science. One night after watching an episode of MASH on television, it occurred to me that I could combine my aptitude for math and science with caring for people as a physician.
Going into pediatrics was a natural choice, as working with children is its own reward. As a student, I remember a pediatrician telling me he liked pediatrics because he felt it made him younger — and as I get older, I agree. I was drawn to pulmonary medicine during medical school and enjoyed the respiratory system physiology and research challenges.
As a pediatric pulmonologist, I treat general pediatric issues as well as patients who have shortness of breath with exercise. I also care for patients with a primary spontaneous pneumothorax, an abnormal accumulation of air in the space between the lungs and the chest cavity (the pleural space).
I have broad experience in many facets of pediatric pulmonary medicine, but not one primary focus. My understanding of exercise physiology is somewhat unique since I have played or coached several sports, including four years as a college swimmer and two years playing water polo while in medical school. This experience helps me relate well to many of the patients who are active in sports and have limitations related to breathing. As one of my mentors said, “The secret to caring for the patient is to care for the patient.”
I have maintained a basic science laboratory for now more than 20 years focused on pulmonary fibrosis. My colleagues and I seek to identify the proteins and cellular pathways associated with this disorder and explore potential novel treatments. My clinical research interests include cardiopulmonary exercise testing in patients with shortness of breath with exercise. While not a research activity, I am very involved with national and state organizations advocating for improving air quality.
At my small farm, located between Mason and Lebanon, Ohio, I make maple and walnut syrup. This year I published a study demonstrating that walnut syrup is not allergenic in a small group of patients with a walnut tree nut allergy. I also have an orchard with apple and paw paw trees and have sold some paw paws to a produce market in Cincinnati. My daughters and I grow and sell sunflowers as a charitable fundraiser.
I grew up near Wilmington College in Ohio and worked for the Cincinnati Bengals during their summer training camps. My first year at Cincinnati Children’s as an intern in 1990 was the last year the Bengals won a playoff game. I vow not to leave Cincinnati Children’s until this happens again!
General pediatric pulmonary with additional expertise in managing children with recurrent pneumonia, pneumothorax, pectus excavatum and shortness of breath with exercise
Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Pulmonary Medicine, Home Ventilator, Pulmonary Function