Corbett reports serving as the president of the ACAAI.
Mark L. Corbett, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, considered medical school early in college before switching to chemical engineering, but that career path did not last.
“I did a summer internship between sophomore and junior years in a chemical engineering research lab and hated it,” he said. “I realized I wanted to work with people and thought medicine would be a good place to do that.”
These days, Corbett is an allergist with Family Allergy & Asthma in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, member of the ACAAI Board of Regents and member of the Healio Allergy/Asthma Peer Perspective Board .
Healio spoke with Corbett about his path to the specialty, his favorite aspects of being an allergist and the most significant innovations he has seen during his career — as well as what may be next for cutting-edge treatment.
Healio: How did you come to pursue allergy as your specialty?
Corbett: Once I started medical school and was looking for what I wanted to pursue, I was able to do a rotation with the allergist — my future senior partner — who took care of my younger brother’s asthma.
Mark L. Corbett
I was impressed with the fact that most of his patients were healthy, productive people when their allergies were not flaring, and his goal was more preventative rather than waiting to treat illness.
He also had a great quality of life, as he was able to provide excellent allergy care while still leading a relatively normal lifestyle, which was unusual in most medical specialties at that time.
Healio: Do you have a particular area of allergy/immunology that you enjoy the most?
Corbett: I think I enjoy dealing with asthma and food allergies the most. Keeping asthmatics healthy and out of the emergency department is rewarding. Also, removing food allergy labels by trying to reintroduce foods back into patient diets when appropriate and removing restrictions are some of the most rewarding aspects of my practice.
Healio: What challenges do you face regularly in practice that keep you up at night?
Corbett: Difficult cases and trying to figure them out still bother me after 30 years.
Also, the continually worsening issues trying to get medications covered for my patients are my biggest concerns.
Healio: What do you like to do outside of clinical practice?
Corbett: I enjoy traveling and visiting my children, who all live out of town. Also, being from Kentucky, one may catch me at a horse race occasionally.
Healio: What would you say has been the most exciting development in allergy and asthma treatment over the last decade?
Corbett: I think the advent of focused biologic therapies for asthma is the most exciting paradigm shift in asthma treatment. I also like the fact that we now have effective and safe treatments for our rare patients with hereditary angioedema, as during the first 20 years of my practice, we really had nothing to offer these patients.
Healio: What advances are you most looking forward to over the next 10 years?
Corbett: I think we will eventually be able to even further focus our therapy for allergies and asthma. Potentially soon, we will be able to phenotype patients with newly developed biomarkers, thereby allowing us to pick the exact therapy that will work for their allergic diseases.
For more information:
Mark L. Corbett, MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, can be reached at email@example.com.