Please allow me to introduce myself
I have written a few of these columns since becoming College President last November, but I realized that for many of you, we haven’t been introduced. With that in mind, I want to take a moment of your time to say “hello,” and share a few of my thoughts.
I’m from La Crosse, Wisconsin, and am the middle child out of five brothers. We were raised by loving parents who gently pushed us all to achieve our goals. I attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and then the University of Wisconsin Medical School (now the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health) in Madison. I did a pediatric residency at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, followed by an allergy and immunology fellowship at Northwestern University/Children’s Memorial Hospital (now the Lurie Children’s Hospital) in Chicago. There, I was under the leadership of Roy Patterson, MD, FACAAI, and Richard Evans, MD, FACAAI, and got involved in the College. I started my allergy practice at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse in 1989 and have been there ever since.
On a more personal note, I have been married to my great and tolerant wife Deb since 1981. We had two wonderful children named Kaitlin and Samuel. Unfortunately, as many of you know, Kaitlin passed away on Nov. 19, 2007. Samuel now has a master’s degree and is an adolescent therapist working in our region.
I have been an active College member since my fellowship in 1987, and it has been a truly great and wonderful experience. Many of my College friends were solid bedrocks of support as my wife and I went through the grief of Kaitlin’s passing. That difficult experience showed me the collegiality of our organization isn’t just something we say – it is true. And it’s why I continue to strongly support that same notion today.
I am also involved in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association and several food allergy organizations, including the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). I heartily encourage everyone to get involved in their community and regional support organizations. I had six organizations present at the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, including the Allergy & Asthma Network, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, FAACT, Food Allergy Research Education, the American Lung Association and the National Eczema Association. I wanted College members to see exactly what they do and hopefully begin to support them with their time and efforts.
It is indeed an honor to serve as President of this great organization. It has been incredible to see all the good things we have done by working together over the past three decades. I’m confident we will continue to serve our membership well, but I am always open to any suggestions you may have to improve the College – so please do not hesitate to reach out to me. It’s been a pleasure to make your acquaintance, and I know that we are going to do great things for the College this year together.
Todd Mahr, MD, FACAAI, College president