Kern Medical’s long history of caring for those suffering from Valley Fever began with Hans E. Einstein, MD. Dr. Einstein was the foremost authority on the disease and led our treatment of Valley Fever for decades. In 2015, Kern Medical formalized our efforts, and the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical was born. Our internationally recognized infectious disease experts have provided training on how to diagnose and treat Valley Fever to primary care physicians, specialists, and other healthcare providers throughout the state, with the goal of reducing the prevalence of misdiagnosis and delayed care.
The Valley Fever Institute is ideally located in the heart of the Central Valley, where Coccidioides immitis, the fungus more commonly known as Valley Fever, lives in the soil around our neighborhoods, schools, farms, and businesses. The Institute is home to the Valley’s only dedicated Valley Fever Clinic currently led by Royce H. Johnson, MD, FACP. Along with Dr. Johnson, our Associate Medical directors include infectious disease specialists Arash Heidari, MD and Rasha Kuran, MD and, our pulmonologist, Augustine Munoz, MD.
In 2020, the Valley Fever Institute opened its new state-of-the-art research and treatment facility. Designed as a patient-centered specialty care clinic, the Valley Fever Institute incorporates patient care, treatment, support services, education, and research at a single location. Many of the treatments offered at the Valley Fever Clinic are not readily available in most parts of the country, because of this, we have patients referred to us not only locally, but regionally, nationally, and internationally for specialized care.
Our research at the Valley Fever Institute is centered on treatments and diagnostics to provide improved outcomes for patients. We have extensive experience with clinical trials and research spanning more than 40 years as we have the largest population of patients with Valley Fever, which is needed to trial medications and treatments. Current research efforts include work to better understand why 40 percent of individuals become ill when they inhale a Valley Fever Spore, 60 percent of these patients are able to fight off the infection without ever knowing they were sick, and approximately one percent of infected individuals develop severe or life-threatening disease.