In 1981, Dr. Anthony Fauci saw a report that five gay men had developed a rare pneumonic infection, Pneumocystis pneumonia. After 26 more men reported having the same infection and Kaposi’s sarcoma, Dr. Fauci knew there was more to the infection than met the eye. He already had a successful career but decided to chase after the new disease, which turned out to be AIDS. His relentless efforts in pursuing what others fear have led to him becoming the leading expert in infectious diseases in the United States. His knowledge and experience even resulted in him becoming a trusted advisor to the current president, Joe Biden. He has been handsomely rewarded for his efforts; thus, Dr. Fauci’s net worth is $2.5 million. Let’s see how he achieved it.
Dreaming of a Career in Basketball but Ending Up in Pharmacy
Dr. Fauci was born to Stephen and Eugenia Fauci in 1940. His parents were childhood sweethearts who met in eighth grade and married at 18 after graduating from high school. He was raised in Bensonhurst, but when Dr. Fauci was in elementary school, the family moved to Dyker Heights. Stephen had graduated from the college of pharmacy at Columbia University; thus, when they relocated to Dyker heights, he took over Coppola’s Pharmacy. According to National Geographic, Dr. Fauci’s family lived above the pharmacy on the second-floor apartment. They all helped with the family business; while Eugenia and her daughter operated the front of the store, young Dr. Fauci delivered prescriptions on his bike. The delivery rounds earned him a 25-cent tip which to him was the jackpot.
He said that working at the pharmacy helped him get a good perspective of the family unit. On the other hand, delivering the prescriptions and seeing sick people first-hand made him see how illnesses would affect people because he could tell people were ill from their physical appearance. He had already experienced empathy from observing his mother’s reaction as she read the papers reporting the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombings. At fourteen years, Dr. Fauci joined Regis High School, which according to The New Yorker, is a private Jesuit high school. It is tuition-free, and the time spent commuting between his home in Dyker Heights to the pharmacy and the school was equivalent to seventy days. While in high school, Dr. Fauci was the basketball team captain, and he dreamed of playing basketball professionally. He was a good-shooting pointing guard and quite agile, but he stood at only five-seven. With time it dawned on him that despite being good at the sport, he could hardly compete against the seven-foot players. Consequently, it was time to change his career. While his schoolmates gravitated towards law and medicine, Dr. Fauci was interested in the humanities because his maternal relatives are artists. However, he noticed that his mother wanted him to pursue medicine like his father. Therefore Dr. Fauci decided to balance what his mother wanted and his aspirations; thus, he became a physician.
Joining Cornell University
Dr. Fauci wanted to attend Cornell Medical School, but Regis High School would not write a recommendation letter for him. Instead, he joined Holy Cross, another all-male Jesuit institution. Still, his determination to join Cornell Medical School remained, so he worked during summers as a mason tender at construction sites. As fate would have it, he was selected to work in the construction of Samuel J. Wood Library at Cornell. He was so fascinated by the medical school that he could not help but go inside and admire the auditorium. He told the security guard he would be a student there one day, and his words came true because, according to Untapped Cities, he graduated first class from Cornell Medical School, where he received his M.D in 1966. Dr. Fauci wished to work in the U.S. Public Health Service, and if that were not possible, he would have settled for the Navy. His wish came true when they were asked to sign up and give their preferences of where they would like to work, and the doctor would up at the National Institute of Health (NIH). He returned to Cornell Medical School, where he spent three years to complete his residency and internship but later, the doctor returned to NIH. He was drawn to nearly fatal diseases so that he would step in and be the savior. Thus in 1972, Dr. Fauci became a senior researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. As per some sources, a senior researcher at NIH earns an average of $78,000 per year.
He Now Pockets More Than the President of the United States
The doctor rose the ranks to become the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. According to CNBC, then-President-elect Joe Biden asked Dr. Fauci to serve as his Chief Medical Advisor, and he agreed to join the president’s team making President Biden the sixth president under which the doctor has served. Since he continues to be the director of NIH, he has a hectic schedule and described his job as drinking out of a fire hose. His contributions to the medical field have been controversial, and he now pockets tens of thousands more than President Biden. When he decided to forego his salary and donate it to other charities and entities, it was revealed that President Donald Trump received $400,000 annually; other sources cited Dr. Fauci’s salary as $417,608 in 2019. The doctor became the highest-paid doctor in the federal government and also the highest-paid federal employee. His salary has increased over the years because, in 2014, he earned $335,000. It is estimated that if he maintains his post until 2024 and does not get a raise for his positions as Chief Medical Advisor and director at NIH, he will have accumulated $2.5 million.