“No one likes doctors’ appointments,” says Stephen Shield, M.D., one of the partners at Allergy Partners of Hampton Roads. “We’re trying to turn that around.”
Shield knows a thing or two about doctor’s appointments, having grown up in Newport News with a severe case of asthma. After being in and out of offices and hospitals throughout his childhood as he struggled to treat and control his condition, he’s developed a commitment to making sure allergy and asthma patients receive the same level of care with which he was blessed.
Allergy Partners of Hampton Roads has two locations — in Hampton and Newport News. The Newport News location, which can now be found inside the City Center Medical Pavilion, has been open “since I started in 1996,” Shield says. He explains that the office had been previously located in Mary Immaculate Medical Pavilion in Newport News, but moved to the Oyster Point area around 2000.
During Shield’s childhood, he was very curious during his numerous doctors’ appointments and paid close attention to the way doctors treated him. He attended Hampton Roads Academy and became an active part of the Medical Explorers Club. He attributes the influence of his doctors and his own “scientific curiosity” to his decision to pursue a career in medicine later in life. “I saw how [my doctors] cared for me,” he says. “I know what my patients have experienced and understand their suffering.”
Shield went on to work at Hampton General Hospital as an orderly, eventually attending Eastern Virginia Medical School and completing a residency and fellowship. And since 1996, the rest has been history.
Shield says that the goal of Allergy Partners of Hampton Roads is to be “the leader in allergy and asthma care in the community. We want to be the first help people think about.” His personal commitment and experience in the world of allergy and immunology, alongside the expertise of his colleagues, makes Shield feel confident in the abilities of his team. “We want to provide a great patient experience,” he says. “I’m holding onto the experience of how doctors and nurses made me feel growing up.”
Allergy and immunology is a wide field, which can range from everyday hay fever to chronic sinusitis to immune deficiencies. Shield says that allergic rhinitis is the most common condition he sees in patients as it tends to be the most prevalent within the population. Almost half of his patients suffer from asthma as well.
Shield’s favorite part of his job is the increase in quality of life that he sees in patients after he has helped control their conditions. “We have patients with asthma who can’t exercise because of it… and patients with severe eczema where their whole body is covered in red, scaly, itchy rashes that are so bad to the point where they’re clinically depressed. And then you get that completely under control for someone, and all of a sudden, you’ve got a new patient in your practice. The old person is gone. Seeing that change in people and how they view themselves is extremely rewarding,” Shield says.
Allergy Partners of Hampton Roads has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic in a positive way. With an increase in telehealth services being used in all kinds of medical offices in order to reach patients from a safe distance, Allergy Partners began offering these services as well. Shield says that in addition to it being a safe and convenient option for both patients and providers, telehealth gives providers the opportunity to see patients in their home environment, which can often offer more insight into patients’ lives. This helps providers better understand how their patients’ medical issues fit into their daily lives.
In addition to his caring staff and patients whom he loves, Shield enjoys what he does. “It’s a great place to come to work,” he says. Outside of the office, Shield enjoys spending time with his wife and his four adult children, who all deal with allergies. He also loves playing golf with his family and spending time on the water.
TO THE POINT:
Allergy Partners of Hampton Roads – Newport News
Address: 895 City Center Blvd., Ste. 302, Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Sheri Taylor
Business: Medical, allergy and immunology