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Infectious Disease Specialist joins WesternU Faculty

by Rodney Tanaka

August 17, 2007

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Dr. Andrew Pumerantz has returned to academia, joining the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. as associate professor of internal medicine and chief of the division of infectious disease.

Pumerantz served as a clinical instructor at Yale University School of Medicine from 1995 to 1999, but most recently worked in private practice as a partner of an infectious diseases consulting group on Long Island, N.Y.

“I think I had begun to have pangs of interest in spending more time teaching, looking for answers to the questions and problems facing us,” he said.

Pumerantz is a 1988 graduate of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He served as chief medical resident at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and as a fellow in infectious diseases at Yale University School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease.

He was excited about Western University’s approach to enhancing the educational experience for medical students and felt he could contribute to that experience, said Dr. Joel Greenspan, who was a partner with Pumerantz at North Shore Infectious Diseases Consultants, P.C.

“I think he’s somebody who has tremendous energy,” Greenspan said. “When he commits himself to something, it gets done in a first-rate fashion. I think he’s going to be a real asset to the faculty.”

Pumerantz said he wants to influence students before they reach their third and fourth years in medical school, before they’re fully-formed. Students benefit from early interaction with clinicians, he said.

All doctors, regardless of specialty, need to understand infectious diseases, he said. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other problematic, resistant infections affect thousands of hospital patients every year.

“Infectious diseases cross all aspects of medicine,” he said. “It’s endless.”

The basis of identifying infectious diseases is obtaining a good patient history and completing a thorough physical.

“It’s really the basis of being a physician,” Pumerantz said.

Dr. Frank Bia, a professor of medicine and laboratory medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, said Pumerantz is enthusiastic about his teaching and highly knowledgeable about the field of infectious diseases

“He is a born teacher and will always retain that phenotype to the benefit of his students and colleagues,” Bia said. “He is highly collegial and always thoughtful in his professional actions.”

Pumerantz said he is placing more emphasis in the second-year curriculum on clinical presentation and management. Students will learn how to diagnose diseases and think about how to approach a problem rather than simply memorizing information, he said.

He has seen Western University grow from its inception. His father, Dr. Philip Pumerantz, founded what was then called the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific when Andy Pumerantz was a teenager. He sometimes attended events with his parents in those early years, but this is the first time he has worked on campus full time after spending most of his adult life on the East Coast.

Pumerantz’s wife, Dr. Sandra Curet, is an OB/GYN at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. and an assistant professor at New York University. Son Zachary, 18, is a student at State University of New York at Albany.

During his time at Yale, Pumerantz co-authored “Clinical predictors of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia and tuberculosis in HIV-infected patients.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for treating opportunistic infections among HIV-infected adults and adolescents reference his study.

“It’s an honor to have contributed to medical literature, albeit limited in scope,” he said.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific is privileged to have an outstanding academician joining their educational team, said COMP Dean Clinton E. Adams, DO, MPA, FACHE.

“Dr. Andy Pumerantz enjoys an outstanding reputation as an infectious disease clinician and mentor for fellows, residents and medical students,” Adams said. “He is taking the responsibility for coordinating the second year of osteopathic medical education which focuses on disease, prevention and wellness as studied in a systems-based curriculum.  It is because of our ability to attract such outstanding professors that we enjoy success in graduating caring, compassionate, lifelong learners with the distinctive osteopathic philosophy.”

Infectious diseases have not gone away, Pumerantz said. Some reappear, while others change patterns or become more drug resistant.

“It’s important students get an appreciation for these problems,” Pumerantz said.

The intent is not to train infectious disease specialists, he said

“I hope no matter what field they go into, they become much more appreciative and facile of infectious diseases and feel comfortable treating them on their own,” he said.


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