Meet Shyam Joshi, M.D. - the Chief Medical Officer at Nectar. With over a decade of experience in the field, he is a driving force of innovation, research, and patient-first practices at Nectar.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any allergies?
I grew up in the beautiful rolling hills of central Kentucky and have been fortunate enough to experience living in all parts of the US during my medical training. Although I do not personally have any allergies, I have many family members and close friends who contend with allergies on a daily basis. When I chose to pursue a career as an Allergist, my mission was, and continues to be, to improve the quality of life of the millions that have allergic conditions across the country.
2. What is your job? What’s the best part? The most challenging part?
I am currently the Section Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Oregon Health and Science University, the state’s only academic medical center. I have the wonderful opportunity to not only provide medical care to patients across the Pacific Northwest but also spend time advancing clinical research and teaching our future medical providers about the management of allergic and immunologic conditions.
The most rewarding part of my job is making an impactful difference in the lives of my patients and seeing their quality of life improve from the care they receive. I always tell patients that our goal is to help them control their allergies instead of allowing the allergies to control them.
My job, however, also can be challenging when we are not easily able to find a clear allergic trigger for the patient’s symptoms. We always prefer to work on preventing an allergic reaction, but without a clear cause, we then concentrate on the management of their symptoms only.
3. What do you do for Nectar?
At Nectar, I am the Chief Medical Officer. This role entails managing clinical operations and ensuring all of our patients receive the highest standard of medical care by following international guidelines and evidence-based practices. I also lead our research division which strives to develop innovative solutions to improve the lives of our patients.
4. What’s the biggest misconception people have about allergen immunotherapy (both subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy)?
Patients often do not appreciate how allergies affect their day-to-day life; from always having to keep a tissue in their pocket to avoid the outdoors during peak pollen season, allergies have a daily impact. I often hear, "My allergies are not bad enough to be on immunotherapy." However, upon deeper exploration, we find that many patients are dependent on antihistamines and nasal sprays to manage their symptoms. It becomes clear that many can benefit from allergen immunotherapy as a long-term solution to potentially eliminate the allergy altogether. For most patients, the benefits of immunotherapy far outweigh any potential inconveniences since both allergy drops and allergy shots are safe and effective in significantly reducing or completely eliminating allergy-related symptoms.
5. How do you foresee the treatment of allergies changing in the future?
Over the past 100 years, major advances have improved medical care for those that suffer from allergies from better medicines to our understanding of how to prevent certain types of allergies altogether. I anticipate this progress will continue at an impressive pace, especially with the integration of technology to develop and test new medications and to effectively engage patients to actively participate in their own healthcare.
6. What’s your favorite outdoor activity and have allergies ever gotten in the way?
I enjoy spending significant time outdoors including hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, and swimming. For those who have allergies, this can often mean limiting outdoor activities during peak pollen season which is incredibly unfortunate since the Pacific Northwest has beautiful spring and summer weather!