Irreverent opinions: The College Is nothing but a bunch of frat boys

September 21, 2015

That’s right, you heard it here. Maybe I should be more politically correct and say that the College has a bunch of frat girls, too.

The worst is that frat boy down in Houston, Texas, David Engler, MD, FACAAI. He had the audacity to correct me on my ICD-10 coding in the last College Insider email. Ok, David, you were right – code V9107XA was incorrectly pictured as the code for fire injury on burning water skis. It should have been fire injury on burning jet skis. 

Excuuuuuuse me!

Perhaps my antipathy towards frat boys is rooted in my being overlooked during freshman rush in college. It is true that I didn’t have enough money to buy shoes or deodorant, but just being barefooted strikes me as inadequate justification for being passed over by THE Lamar University Delta Delta Delta boys.

I got some shoes before medical school which enabled me to pick up on waivers from Phi Beta Pi ( The model for “Animal House”)…but I admit to never getting into the matching sweaters like the guys destined to be surgeons or ophthalmologists. NO frat girls in medical school: Not enough of them back in the day.

I then joined the fraternity of the Air Force, and finally a fraternity called the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, which changed my mindset totally.

To have the icons of allergy welcome me with open arms was a blessing beyond compare. Pardon me for still being a little weepy about the passing of Past President Gil Barkin, MD, FACAAI, and before him, Past Presidents Jean Chapman, MD, FACAAI, and Bernie Berman, MD, FACAAI – all dear friends. We all have our heroes, but one by one, I became friends with some of the most talented men and women I have ever known.

Oddly enough my friends and circle of exchange became more national than local. I knew allergists locally, but I always felt worse about calling on them for advice than friends in distant cities. Seems easier for me to call frat girls like Betty Wray, MD, FACAAI, or Chitra Dinakar, MD, FACAAI, or Kathleen May, MD, FACAAI, than even my former partners like Susan Wynn Bailey, MD, FACAAI. Perhaps I didn’t want to appear ignorant to folks I work with every day. In retrospect, we have never really competed with anything except how to care better for patients.

The kinship of the College is unsurpassed, and I hope you are already registered for the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio. In addition to the terrific program soon-to-be President, Bryan Martin, DO, FACAAI, has led, there is the possibility of meeting old teachers and friends. You will get the chance to honor Eli Meltzer, MD, FACAAI, for his lifetime accomplishments with the Gold Headed Cane Award. And best of all, you will see the bright shiny faces of future icons. I can hardly wait!!

Bobby Lanier MD, FACAAI, Executive Medical Director