Message from Eric Houpt MD, Infectious Diseases Division Chief
Happy 2024! It is great not to have to talk so much about COVID. Ironically, however, as I write this, I sit at home with COVID, having previously dodged it for nearly four years. Not a trivial illness! COVID has joined the pantheon of endemic respiratory viruses like influenza and RSV, which have a winter peak season and will surely be with us for a while.
The Division now consists of about 150 faculty, staff, and fellows. Some of us continue working in COVID, while others have resumed our usual work on the wards, clinic, lab, antibiotic stewardship, hospital epidemiology, or other areas. Our consult services have expanded and are now staffed by at least three attendings, fellows, and nurse practitioners. The Division had an outstanding year in FY23 in research, with over $22 million in research expenditures. Read below about newly hired faculty Justin Taylor PhD, and Josh Colston PhD. It is truly an honor to work alongside such impressive colleagues.
A sad reminder: in 2023, the Division lost its former Chief, Dr. Jerry Mandell. Some of you may remember him. He was memorable. He arrived in Charlottesville in 1969 to start the Division. His career and impact on the field of infectious diseases was magnificent. He served as Chief of the Division his entire career, authored over 300 scientific publications and book chapters, and was the lead editor of “Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases.” He was President of IDSA in 1994, a member of the Institute of Medicine, and served on numerous national advisory boards on infectious disease threats. He held numerous NIH grants, including an NIH Merit award, and started the UVA Infectious Diseases Training Grant, now in its 47th year. He was a gifted clinician with a sharp wit, high standards, brutal honesty, and great clarity of thought. As Bill Petri says, he led with a self-confidence that allowed him to be generous and, at the same time, a critical thought leader. We learned a lot from him, and our Division remains committed to the principles of academic and clinical rigor that he set.
I hope everyone got some rest with family and friends over the holiday, and I wish you all the best productivity and a Happy New Year.
~ Eric Houpt MD
By Patrick Jackson MD
Program Director Patrick Jackson and Associate Program Directors Stacy Park and Chris Moore lead the University of Virginia’s Infectious Diseases Fellowship. The ID fellowship is a three-year training program that aims to produce excellent clinicians, researchers, and educators. The program has been supported by NIH T-32 training grants for more than four decades and emphasizes rigorous clinical medicine and research training. The program has a unique structure in which first-year fellows dedicate their time exclusively to research. The second and third training years are divided between clinical and research time. During the clinical years, fellows see patients on the general and immune-compromised/transplant inpatient consult services. There are also opportunities to participate in outpatient HIV, general, transplant, mycobacterial, Clostridium difficile, travelers, and musculoskeletal infectious diseases clinics.
Fellows and their faculty mentors work one-on-one in a wide array of scientific projects encompassing basic, translational, clinical, and epidemiologic research at UVA and around the globe. UVA fellows have been recognized for their excellence this year in various forums. Ghassan Ilaiwy received one of the 2023 Burroughs Wellcome Fund/ASTMH Postdoc Fellowships in Tropical Infectious Diseases. Ghassan is the 3rd fellow in our program to receive the prestigious honor, after Yosra Alkabab in 2020 and James Platts-Mills in 2014. Jacqueline Hodges was selected for the HIV, Infectious Disease, and Global Health Implementation Research Institute to study mobile health interventions. Catherine Bielick serves on the HIV Medicine Association Board of Directors and the IDSA Coordinating Council and as the chair of the Fellows Community of Practice. Idu Meadows received the inaugural Dick and Nancy Guerrant ID and International Health Equity Award to support her work on TB in Tanzania.
This year, we had another very successful match. We look forward to welcoming Daniel Bailey (University of Vermont), Ben Fuller (UVA), and Matthew Willis (Virginia Commonwealth University) to the fellowship program in July 2024.
We welcome hearing from residents and students interested in learning more about ID or being connected to research projects in the Division. Please contact Patrick Jackson (email@example.com) to learn about ID training opportunities.
Administrative Staff Retreat
The first ID Administrative Staff Retreat was held in October. Because we all work in so many different places – 100% remote, hybrid in-office, all on different days, or even just the difference of working in the division offices vs. the clinic offices – we don’t often get to catch up with each other in person. The retreat focused on boosting our team’s morale by connecting outside of Zoom meetings on things not work-related. We started the afternoon with lunch at Bebedero on the Downtown Mall, followed by being local tourists (or, for our out-of-state-based grants admins able to make the trip, actual tourists) by taking a guided tour of Monticello and after enjoying the view from the mountain onto Charlottesville below (and spending money in the gift shop), the day ended with a dinner at Sedona Taphouse. Team members opted into the activities that fit within their schedule, so even if someone couldn’t make the entire retreat, they could join us for a small bit.
We thank the Division for the opportunity to build camaraderie in our team and look forward to the next time we meet. (We already have a few ideas for the activities.)
ID Division Holiday Party
This year’s Division Holiday Party was on December 13th at Firefly Restaurant. The Door Prize Trivia included holiday-related questions, including one specific to UVA – “What year was the first Lighting on the Lawn?” All faculty, staff, and their families had such a good time that we forgot to take pictures at the event!
We would like to thank everyone for coming out and helping to celebrate another successful year in the Division!