We recently came across the podcast “Conversations from the World of Allergy” presented by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and hosted by our frequent contributor, Dr. David Stukus. It provides allergists with insight into what their colleagues are thinking, and lay listeners can eavesdrop.
In addition to practicing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Dave is Social Media Medical Editor for the AAAAI, and maintains a lively presence on Twitter, which features a really bad joke of the week every Friday. We decided to contact him and discuss this unique addition to the allergy conversation. — Henry Ehrlich
AAC: Dave, welcome back to asthmaallergieschildren.com. Listening to your podcast, with its impeccable content, explains why you haven’t had any time to write for us recently. Can you tell our readers how this project happened? How do you choose your topics and how you find the experts to interview?
David: Thank you for the kind invitation to return to your outstanding forum. The podcast was initially thought of by AAAAI leadership as a modern method to connect with allergists, physicians, and the general public. In early 2018, I was invited to become the first social media medical editor for the AAAAI, which gave me the opportunity to develop the original idea for a podcast. We have a robust staff of two (myself and Laura Plizka, who handles editing/publishing of the episodes). I am the producer and host so the ideas generally come from me along with suggestions from AAAAI staff members. Topics and guests originate from knowledge of issues that are pertinent to a wide ranging audience, including publications and sessions at the annual meeting, discussions I observe on social media, and hot topics that attract media attention. It’s been amazing thus far – I dream of interviewing the preeminent experts on a certain topic, send an email invitation…and they all say yes! We’ve received amazing feedback from AAAAI leadership, members, and listeners thus far. I’m fortunate to have this much support and now the sky is the limit.
AAC: Some subjects are naturals—the conversation with Dr. Robert Wood on food allergy diagnosis and management is an example—but I was surprised to see two segments dealing with penicillin allergy. After listening to both I see that it’s a multifaceted subject, but I must ask why did penicillin merit two segments? Tell our readers why this is such a priority.
David: We’re really just getting started with our episodes and we have a LOT of ground to cover. I’d like to have several formats to not only make things interesting, but to appeal to a wide audience. For penicillin allergy, this is an extremely important topic and our recordings coincided with a great review in JAMA as well as some media coverage at the time. We know that 10% of the general population report having a penicillin allergy but >90% of those people are not actually allergic. Medication allergies are frequently overdiagnosed and not confirmed by an allergist, which leads to unnecessary avoidance and overuse of broad spectrum antibiotics, which are less effective, more expensive and a main reason for antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. We recorded both a general episode with one of the world’s experts, Kim Blumenthal, which addressed general concepts surrounding this topic, and I also interviewed Elina Jerschow for a more focused “Ask the Expert” format which allowed us to take a deep dive into a specific study that she conducted and published. As our portfolio grows, hopefully we’ll see multiple types of formats, which can address the same topic from different aspects and without redundancy.
AAC: Two of the talks come with AMA credit for practitioners. Can you tell us how this comes about? One of these is on mobile technology and the other is on marijuana allergy, in which you interview Dr. William Silvers who practices in the birthplace of recreational marijuana, Colorado. Obviously, these are both leading edge topics. Is the Academy trying to prod practitioners to learn these things? Are there other hot topics on the horizon?
David: We are proud to offer CME for physicians for listening to our episodes. Physicians are extremely busy, so if we can entice people to listen by offering credit, all the better. Similar to our other episodes thus far, these two topics were chosen partly due to importance and need for further education as well as us basically generating a list of ideas and working our way down. CME episodes require more work on the back end to submit and obtain approval, which is a separate process, but we recognize the value and plan on offering these at least monthly, if not bi-monthly. This will be in addition to episodes such as hot topics and those produced with the general public in mind. In early August, we will be releasing an outstanding interview with Tom Casale on biologics for asthma. Additional topics in the short queue include the evaluation of children with recurrent infections, how pregnancy affects asthma and e-cigarettes.
AAC: Episode 9 “USP Chapter 797 Standards for Allergen Immunotherapy” was probably the most arcane for laypeople, but it’s red-hot for allergists because it affects the economics of practice. We have written about it on the website. The anecdote about how this inquiry was set in motion was kind of a hoot. I wonder, are there any other topics on their way concerning the way allergy is practiced?
David: Yes – we plan to have specific episodes that will be most relevant to practicing allergists in addition to the other formats. Our upcoming CME episode on biologics for asthma is along these lines, although our discussion played out in a way that it will be helpful for general physicians and patients as well.
AAC: One more. We have written repeatedly about Primatene (episode 2), the over-the-counter asthma inhaler, in its dying, dead, and undead states. Are you seeing a lot of it in the new incarnation?
Dave: I only treat pediatric patients and I honestly have not seen this come up since it was re-approved for use. Some of my adult colleagues have reported use among patients but I don’t get the sense that this has become widespread. The main concern is overuse without physician guidance among patients that have very poor asthma control in need of additional therapy and places them at risk for exacerbation.
AAC: Thanks as ever for your time. Congratulations on your excellent work.
Dave: Thank you, Henry – I truly appreciate your interest and promotion of our podcast. I am having so much fun with this project and you know me…I tend to think big, so stay tuned as we grow!
To listen to the podcast and find links to transcripts, click here. https://www.aaaai.org/professional-education-and-training/podcasts
David Stukus, MD, FAAAAI received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his pediatric residency and chief residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, followed by his fellowship in allergy/immunology at the Cleveland Clinic. He practices at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he serves as Director of the Complex Asthma Clinic, Director of Quality Improvement for the Division of Allergy and Immunology, and Co-Chair for the annual pediatric asthma conference.
Graphic by New Tech Northwest