Infectious Diseases in Children asked Janet R. Gilsdorf, MD, DSc (Hon), FPIDS, a past president of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Robert P. Kelch Research Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan Medical Center, how she saw the value of the pediatric ID specialty, why she went into the field and what it means to her.
Working in pediatric infectious diseases is a wonderful way to live a professional life. It is a world of endless and fascinating clinical challenges in the face of new diseases and new aspects of old diseases, of new microbes and new capabilities of old microbes, and of new diagnostic and management tools.
I chose this specialty because I enjoy thinking about the myriad and clever ways in which bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites cause illnesses in children, and I yearn to better understand how to protect children against the ravages of those infectious agents. Further, I treasure, and am constantly stimulated by, the camaraderie of my fellow infectious diseases physicians.
Because infectious disease pediatricians are excellent communicators and gifted teachers, we are highly valued by our patients and their families, our students and trainees, and our medical and surgical colleagues for our speaking/writing abilities and our eagerness to work with them.
We are trained in the principles of epidemiology and in the conduct of population-based studies and, thus, bring indispensable expertise to antibiotic stewardship and infection control programs in our health care systems. Our training in the use of antimicrobial agents, in strategies to prevent infections and in the basics of immunology is particularly important to programs in transplantation medicine and in immunodeficiency diseases.
We participate in the care of patients of every other pediatric subspecialty and, thus, are familiar with the workings of all pediatric clinical services. In addition, we are skilled in critical thinking and, thus, serve as strong leaders in our hospitals, clinics and medical schools.
Disclosure: Gilsdorf reports no relevant financial disclosures.
Editor’s note: To read our March cover story, click here.