Claire Panosian Dunavan,
MD, FIDSA, DTM&H (London)
UCLA School of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
10833 Le Conte Ave, CHS 37-121
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1688

Division office: 310-825-7225
Voicemail: 310-794-6053
Facsimile: 310-825-3632

Tale Of A Dog, A Parasite And Two Women

Los Angeles Times, January 2008

This is the story of a dog-ophobe, a dog-ophile and the parasite that brought them together. The dog-ophobe (for want of a better word) is a patient. The dog-ophile is her doctor — me.

My story is simple. At the end of the day, I look forward to two spaniels at home more than I do comfort food. Their wags are my Prozac, their snores my lullaby. So now you know where they sleep. Not under the bedcovers, but close.

By coincidence, my work also involves animals, but with a twist. I’m an expert in the parasites they occasionally transmit to humans.

Which leads me to my patient, a charming person who exudes kindness toward all creatures great and small. Here in dog-struck Los Angeles, I could easily picture her with an equally charming pooch. There’s just one catch. For as long as she can remember, she has deeply distrusted dogs.

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Claire Panosian Dunavan, MD, DTM&H (London), 2008 President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, received her education at Stanford University, Northwestern Medical School, Tufts-New England Medical Center, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. First as Chief of Infectious Diseases at LA County-Olive View Medical Center, then as Director of Travel and Tropical Medicine at UCLA, she has been a UCLA professor, clinician, and teacher since 1984. She has also worked overseas in Haiti, Taiwan, the Philippines, Pakistan, Vietnam, Albania, Armenia, and Tanzania, among other countries.

Dunavan’s second career as a print and broadcast journalist includes 6 years as a medical editor, reporter, and co-anchor for Lifetime Television. In 1997, her interview with a dying physician won an international “Freddie” Award. In 2000, with her husband Patrick Dunavan—an 8-time Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker —she produced a television program on hepatitis B which has reached 300 million international viewers. In recent years, she has written regularly for national newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a weekly column called “The Infection Files” which runs in California newspapers. Her journalism spans issues in infectious diseases and public health affecting everyone on the planet to global health policy and economics.

© 2010 Claire Panosian Dunavan