Dr. Manav Singla is an adult and pediatric allergist and immunologist at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. He is also a partner at Asthma, Allergy & Sinus Center and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He has been an allergist for 10 years.
What does your job entail?
There are four basic parts to my job. First is caring for patients of all ages. The most common illnesses I treat include asthma, sinus and allergy problems, chronic cough, skin and food allergies. The second part is teaching. I help train medical students and doctors in residency [doctors who recently graduated and are training in their specialty of internal medicine, pediatrics or family medicine]. Third is clinical research. Our practice works with industry to help study new medications. And fourth is practice management. We have 3 offices and there are administrative decisions to be made every day.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
I completed my B.S. at Kent State University in three years as part of a combined B.S./M.D. program, meaning I did not have to apply to medical school at that point, I had already been accepted out of high school. I graduated four years later from the Northeast Ohio Medical University with my M.D. I then completed a three-year residency training program in pediatrics in New York followed by a two-year fellowship training program in allergy and immunology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
What inspired you to this career?
I have loved the idea of medicine since I was in elementary school. I was always the science geek, and was quick to volunteer if someone needed help, so medicine was a great fit. I pursued pediatrics because I loved being with the kids in the hospital as a medical student. There was something just so inspiring seeing these kids dealing with their illnesses. I had always found immunology fascinating, and it was during residency I learned that it was a clinical specialty. I saw that these specialists treated a broad range of illnesses ranging from immune deficiency disease to asthma, and that they saw adults too, which I had started to miss.
What do you like best about your job?
Where do I start? I meet new, interesting, motivated and passionate people every day. I love the opportunity to improve people's health and help them feel better. The "thank you" of a patient or parent who is feeling better carries me though my day. I work with a caring team who work hard to help our patients and are fun to be with. I love teaching and working with students — watching them grow as people and professionals.
What are the challenges?
The logistics of practicing medicine are rapidly changing. More people have complicated health insurance plans with high deductibles that are difficult to understand. Medications are becoming more expensive, which become unaffordable for some people. Regulations on my practice, license and board certification have increased by huge magnitudes over the past few years, distracting me from patient care, taking substantial amounts of time and increasing stress. I am spending less time treating patients and more time as an administrator.