Who are you?
Anthony Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is an immunologist who has made substantial contributions to research on AIDS and other immunodeficiencies. He has pioneered the field of human immunoregulation and developed effective therapies for formally fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases. In the field of AIDS research, he has helped contribute to an understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections.
He has also served as an editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine and has authored, coauthored or edited more than 1,100 scientific publications, including several textbooks. Dr. Fauci is a key advisor to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and public health protections against emerging infectious disease threats, such as pandemic influenza. He was educated at Cornell University Medical College and holds 32 honorary doctorate degrees.
Question: Who are you?
Anthony Fauci: When I was a child, I liked school. I liked learning a lot, but I was very much involved in athletics – mostly baseball and basketball. So I had the fantasy of most any young person growing up in the shadow of the New York Yankees and the New York Knickerbockers. I wanted to play, ultimately, professional ball.
Obviously, probably for the good of everyone, that was not to be.
It was only when I got into high school did I start to think that I might want to go into the field of medicine.
I had what I call a kind of a dichotomy of interests. I was very interested in humanitarian pursuits, history. I went to a Jesuit high school that was very heavily steeped in classical training. The classics, Greek and Latin languages, ancient history. So I felt a kinship to humanitarian pursuits, understanding the human person. I also was pretty good at, and enjoyed the problem solving, of science.
So as I was getting to the end of my high school career and getting ready to go to college, I was trying to figure out what would best suit me; what would be the best profession to combine my interest in humanitarian pursuits with the same time my aptitude and interest in solving scientific problems and scientific issues. And the natural evolution of that thought led to the idea of doing medicine and being a physician.
I went to a college that was, again, a liberal arts college that was very heavily weighted towards liberal arts philosophy. In fact, I took a Bachelor of Arts in classics; and yet took just enough scientific courses to be able to get into medical school.
So right from the very beginning, there was that somewhat of a dichotomy between the science that I was attracted to, and the need to be involved with people as opposed to just abstract science.
Recorded on: July 6 2007
Anthony Fauci's roots are in Brooklyn and in the classics.
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