Jonathan S. Appelbaum, MD, FACP, AAHIVS
Florida State University, College of Medicine
Dr. Appelbaum felt a “sense of duty.” Approximately 28 years ago the HIV epidemic was terrifying, claiming casualties at a staggering rate. In the early days of the epidemic, HIV was primarily a disease of young gay men; friends of Appelbaum’s and members of his community. This sense of duty to his community, a community in desperate need, motivated Appelbaum to pursue specializing in HIV care.
Appelbaum graduated from the University of Miami, School of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He was a National Health Service Corp. scholarship recipient in medical school, and after residency he opened a practice in a medically underserved area in rural northeastern Connecticut. Appelbaum stayed in practice there for 12 years and then relocated to Fenway Community Health in Boston where he worked for 11 years, serving eight of those years as Fenway’s Medical Director. After that, Appelbaum was the Medical Director at Brigham and Women’s Physician Group before he relocated to Florida, where he practices today.
Appelbaum now teaches full time at Florida State University, College of Medicine where he is a professor. He was recently appointed as the Chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences. His academic work it to direct the Internal Medicine clerkships. His clinical work is at the FSU-Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Internal Medicine residency, where he supervises residents. Says Appelbaum, “Our HIV practice is fully integrated into our primary care practice. About one-third of our HIV-infected patients are over the age of 50. Most of our patients are people of color, and about half are women. We have integrated LGBT care into our practice.” In addition to being credentialed as an HIV Specialist™ by AAHIVM, Appelbaum is board-certified in geriatrics.
For Appelbaum, the best part of caring for patients is the astounding advances in care for HIV-infected people over the past 28 years. The greatest obstacle is that, unfortunately, people are still becoming infected. “What I love about my current position is working with young, enthusiastic medical students and residents, our next generation of caregivers,” says Appelbaum. “They inspire me to get up and come to work every day!”
Appelbaum motivates his patients to adhere to their treatment regimens by providing patient-centered care, getting to know his patients as people, and through education. Looking to the future, Appelbaum envisions HIV will be “preventable by way of vaccine and curable in that we will have the ability to eradicate the viral genome from the host cell.” Until then, Appelbaum hopes to continue to help training the next generation of physicians; “the ones who will be caring for me in my old age!”
When he is not in practice, Appelbaum enjoys time at home; gardening, bicycling, and caring for his animals. When asked why he is an AAHIVM Member, Appelbaum says, “I joined the organization very early. I attended one of the early organizing meetings in Boston. I came onto the Board of Directors at the invitation of Scott Hitt, the founder of AAHIVM.” Appelbaum remains active with AAHIVM’s National Board of Directors; serving currently as the Chair of AAHIVM’s Florida Steering Committee and as the Co-chair of AAHIVM’s Executive Committee.
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