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Turning a Passion for Mentoring into a Lifelong Career

There are many reasons to mentor young physicians as they begin their careers, but for Phillip E. Korenblat, MD, FAAAAI, the primary reason is simple – passion.
Phillip E. Korenblat, MD, FAAAAI
“I love to see young physicians making decisions about the rest of their lives,” he said, when asked about why teaching and mentoring is so important to him. “With mentoring, you don’t mentor just by what you say, but what you do. Your mentees are always watching the way you work and approach things like patient care. It’s so rewarding to be able to encourage students, both directly and indirectly.”
During Dr. Korenblat’s career he was a Professor of Clinical Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine and a member of its mentorship board for internal medicine residents. He founded and was a Director/Principal Investigator at The Clinical Research Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Recently, he was presented with the Outstanding Volunteer Clinical Teacher Award from the American College of Physicians (ACP) for his commitment to teaching and mentoring.
“I had previously received comparable teaching awards from AAAAI and ACAAI, and the ACP teaching award seems an endorsement of my career choice,” Dr. Korenblat added.
Teaching has been a cornerstone of his career since the beginning, when he became certified in both internal medicine and allergy/immunology. “Allergists almost universally limit their practice to allergy and clinical immunology. Based upon my passion for both specialties, I chose to practice both and had the opportunity to spend time seeing patients with medical students, medicine residents and allergy/immunology fellows. I enjoyed helping young physicians as they reached crossroads in their own careers,” Dr. Korenblat said.
While he’s always been very active in both specialties, particularly with mentorship, he was taken by surprise when he was asked to share his CV with the ACP as a candidate for their teacher award. “I am very proud and humbled by this award,” he said. “I’ve always just followed my passion for teaching and mentoring, and it is wonderful to see my efforts making a difference, sometimes in ways I didn’t expect. Just the other day I was at the hospital, and a young physician who reminded me of her rotation with me, came up to me to tell me that I helped her learn how to respect allergists and what we do. How we are viewed by other physicians is important, and I am grateful that I have been able to contribute positively to that.”
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“I learned every day when young physicians came to my office. It always kept me well-informed about the concerns and advances in medicine. Both mentors and mentees benefit from the relationship.”
Phillip E. Korenblat, MD, FAAAAI
Dr. Korenblat’s passion for helping young physicians extends beyond his individual mentoring. “Allergy programs are being folded into other subspecialties when they should instead be strengthened. The AAAAI and AAAAI Foundation are vital in providing grants which allow our young investigators, who will become the future leaders in our specialty, to continue to advance A/I.” His AAAAI Foundation lectureship, the Phillip E. Korenblat, MD, FAAAAI, Lectureship: Investing Together in Our Future, is fully funded and any additional funds donated go to the AAAAI Foundation’s Grow Allergy & Immunology Now (GAIN) Campaign, which funds Faculty Development Awards that provide funding to young investigators at a critical time in their careers.
Dr. Korenblat urges everyone to identify what their passion is and use it to make the specialty and their local community better. “Get involved in not only national medical associations, but local ones as well,” he added. “Even if your local community doesn’t have chapters of organizations you like, you can start one! That’s what Dr. Raymond Slavin and I did with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter. There is always something you can do to pursue causes you are passionate about.”