Creation of UNMC Division of Allergy and Immunology reflects growing demand

by Vicky Cerino
January 09, 2020

Image with caption: Jill Poole, M.D.

Jill Poole, M.D.

To reflect the growing demand for patient services in allergy and immunology, the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Internal Medicine has created a Division of Allergy and Immunology, which will include four physicians/faculty members.
 
The new division had previously been under the Department of Internal Medicine's Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Medicine, which will now revert back to the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
 
Deb Romberger, M.D., Henry J. Lehnhoff Professor and chair of the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, appointed Jill Poole, M.D., as the division's first chief, effective Jan. 1.
"I am very excited to see our allergy faculty start their journey as a division, and there is no better person in the country to lead them than Dr. Poole," Dr. Romberger said. "She has grown the allergy group to provide clinical services on Nebraska Medicine's main campus, at Village Pointe, Children's Hospital & Medical Center and the Omaha VA Medical Center.
 
"She also has developed a National Institutes of Health-funded research career. The group provides much education at the medical student and resident physician levels and is working to establish an allergy and immunology fellowship in 2021."
 
Dr. Romberger said when Dr. Poole was recruited in 2005, she was the first allergist in the internal medicine's Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Medicine.
 
A native of Grand Island, Nebraska, Dr. Poole received her medical degree in 1999 at UNMC and completed her internal medicine residency in 2002 at Washington University at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. In 2004, she completed an allergy, asthma and immunology fellowship at National Jewish Medical and Research Center/University of Colorado Health Center in Denver, then conducted research and worked in private practice until joining UNMC in 2005. Dr. Poole has authored numerous publications in the field of allergic and respiratory disorders.
 
"I have always had passion for UNMC since I was medical student here in the 1990s," said Dr. Poole, who also is a UNMC professor and medical director of Allergy and Immunology for Nebraska Medicine. "UNMC has always been a great institution for which I have tremendous pride in. I am excited about all the growth areas we have targeted for the division, including expansion of clinical research, community outreach, and continual commitment to patients in our region to provide cutting-edge, quality allergy and immunology care."
 
Dr. Poole said mentors she had at UNMC during medical school -- such as Dr. Romberger and Joe Sisson, M.D., professor, internal medicine-pulmonary -- influenced her decision to join the UNMC faculty after she completed her training.
 
"Dr. Sisson was highly instrumental in my career and an incredible mentor," Dr. Poole said. "Dr. Romberger welcomed me into her VA laboratory and supported my research ideas. I don't know where I would be without the support of Drs. Romberger and Sisson."
 
She said the creation of a separate division is the realization of a dream for her. Several of the new faculty members in the division were UNMC students or residents, and some even worked with Dr. Poole in her research lab or clinic.
 
In addition to Dr. Poole, the other physicians in the division include three assistant professors -- Sara May, M.D., Andrew Rorie, M.D., and Joel Van De Graaf, M.D.
 
"Surrounded by these incredibly talented -- and delightful -- allergists, they have infused enthusiasm and incredible growth into clinical allergy/immunology," Dr. Poole said.
 
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