At AAPRI, we’re proud of our team of dedicated healthcare professionals. We’ve previously introduced Dr. John Zwetchkenbaum, aka Dr. Z, our chief allergist and founder of AAPRI. Now we’d like to introduce some of our other practitioners. This week, our staff spotlight features Deborah Cohan, family nurse practitioner.
Q: What is your primary role at AAPRI as a family nurse practitioner?
DC: I am a family nurse practitioner, and I’ve been here for about 4 and a half years. I fill the role of a provider seeing patients—that’s really what I do with 100% of my time. There are variety of certifications for nurse practitioners, such as pediatric, psychiatric, emergency medicine, etc. As a family nurse practitioner, I’m certified to see patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly.
Q: What should patients expect on their first visit to your office?
DC: They should expect a lot of questions. No matter which provider they see, that person will be really trying to find out what’s going on, so we ask a lot of questions to determine what path to follow. We may not have all of the answers for them on their very first visit, but we will come up with a plan together to get to the bottom of their issues. It’s a collaboration. We don’t dictate to our patients, we work with them.
Q: Dr. Z is a big proponent of functional medicine. Is this something that you to your practice at AAPRI as well?
DC: Yes, I’m in the process of getting certified in functional medicine and I incorporate it into my work with patients whenever appropriate. Patients respond well to it. A lot of people appreciate a more natural, holistic way of treating illness rather than just taking another pill, which is what functional medicine is all about. Allergy is all about inflammation and when you reduce overall inflammation in the body, people don’t tend to be as reactive. It’s not just with food allergy, we see it with our asthmatics as well. If we can really cut down on their overall inflammation, they do better.
Q: Can you give any examples of how functional medicine has helped your patients?
DC: We have a lot of patients who come to us with gastrointestinal issues. Usually they’ve already seen a gastroenterologist, but they can’t find anything wrong. Oftentimes the patient thinks they have a food allergy. We test them and find that they don’t have an allergy, they actually have a food sensitivity, which is different. We get them off the foods that they’re sensitive to and they feel so much better. If they have skin issues, those clear up, too.
Last year I had a patient who was having these horrible allergic reactions and she kept ending up in the hospital. Every time in the hospital they gave her Benadryl, and she just wasn’t getting any better. She was scared to death to step out of the house in case she had a reaction. Well, it turned out that her big allergy was Benadryl! She had initially been having an allergic reaction to another medication she was taking. Then each time she went to the hospital, they gave her Benadryl, which made it worse. Once we figured out that it was an allergy to the medications, we informed all of her providers and they stopped giving them to her and she got better.
Q: What would you like new or prospective patients to know about AAPRI?
DC: I would tell them that we have a lot of years of experience amongst our providers and that we will think out of the box to help them solve their problems. As Dr. Z likes to say, ‘allergy treatment hasn’t changed much in the last 25 years,’ which is why he has always made a point to stay abreast of the newest literature out there, and look for alternatives and solutions instead of just treating the symptoms.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Deborah or any of our other dedicated team members at the office location of your choice.