Hooked on ID

Hooked on ID with Jason P. Burnham, MD

Jason P. Burnham

Hernán Cortés and Pánfilo de Narváez brought smallpox to the Americas in 1520. Due to a lack of immunity, the native population was decimated, and Tenochtitlan fell to the Spanish in 1521. This was the subject of my fourth-grade history fair project and the beginning of my love for infectious diseases. I followed it up the next year by learning about the race for a polio vaccine. In high school, my physics teacher, Dr. Cunningham, suggested I read The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett and the fascination continued — Ebola, Machupo, Marburg and others. I decided to go into medicine after my excellent college mentor and friend, Dr. Martín Gonzalez, suggested it as a career path toward infectious diseases fellowship. It was great advice and I love being an ID physician. I chose this career because of the allure of discovery and understanding how pathogens and people interact. I am fortunate to study just that for multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. I have excellent mentors helping me push the ID envelope: Jennie Kwon, Hilary Babcock, Margaret Olsen, Marin Kollef, Graham Colditz, Stephanie Fritz and others. Every day is a new challenge, and contrary to mid-20th century arrogance about the acquiescence of infections to modern medicine, infectious diseases are not subjugated by human egotism. ID physicians will always have important and exciting work to do.

 

– Jason P. Burnham, MD

Instructor in medicine

Division of infectious diseases

Washington University School of Medicine

Jason P. Burnham

Hernán Cortés and Pánfilo de Narváez brought smallpox to the Americas in 1520. Due to a lack of immunity, the native population was decimated, and Tenochtitlan fell to the Spanish in 1521. This was the subject of my fourth-grade history fair project and the beginning of my love for infectious diseases. I followed it up the next year by learning about the race for a polio vaccine. In high school, my physics teacher, Dr. Cunningham, suggested I read The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett and the fascination continued — Ebola, Machupo, Marburg and others. I decided to go into medicine after my excellent college mentor and friend, Dr. Martín Gonzalez, suggested it as a career path toward infectious diseases fellowship. It was great advice and I love being an ID physician. I chose this career because of the allure of discovery and understanding how pathogens and people interact. I am fortunate to study just that for multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. I have excellent mentors helping me push the ID envelope: Jennie Kwon, Hilary Babcock, Margaret Olsen, Marin Kollef, Graham Colditz, Stephanie Fritz and others. Every day is a new challenge, and contrary to mid-20th century arrogance about the acquiescence of infections to modern medicine, infectious diseases are not subjugated by human egotism. ID physicians will always have important and exciting work to do.

 

– Jason P. Burnham, MD

Instructor in medicine

Division of infectious diseases

Washington University School of Medicine

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