Who is the real allergy specialist?

A private Allergy –ENT medical clinic in Quebec - 4 October 2016

It used to be simple: respirologists took care of asthma, otolaryngologists (Ear, Nose & Throat specialists) took care of blocked noses and allergists addressed allergies.

Modern medicine recognizes that it is not longer ideal for specialists to work in isolation. It is in patients’ best interest that physicians, nurses and pharmacists collaborate in a paradigm that sees their professional latitude reconsidered.

At the same time, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, in its documentation of physicians continuing medical education activities recognizes that gradually physician develop their knowledge and competence so as to address the patients and disease they choose to focus on. The best medical schools encourage what is termed “translational” scientific development.

Thus, the realm of compartmentalized medicine is ill suite to a number of conditions now recognized to transcend the traditional confines of medical specialties. At a time when gut bacteria are linked to neurologic conditions, inflammation to coronary artery disease, it is evident that allergic conditions, with their myriad repercussions represents a particular challenge.

Indeed, it is traditional for our medical education programs to see allergists-immunologists trained according to a specific curriculum. But does that mean that the respirologist focused on patients with allergic asthma, proficient in treating their respiratory allergies is less a specialist of allergy than an allergist who has chosen to concentrate on immunology?

At the end of the day, it does not really matter as much as there is appropriate knowledge and competent care demonstrated. And mutual respect. At a point in time when 1 person in 4 suffers respiratory allergy and that 1 person in 3 in one way or another is touched by allergy, we all have to gain from better collaboration rather than reeling confined to traditional definitions of medical specialties.

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