The Section continues to be a national and international leader in patient care, education and research in the prevention, treatment and cure of infectious diseases. The faculty contribute to national practice guidelines and national infectious diseases organizations, with members in leadership committees of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and with members on the Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents, the panels writing the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV, NIH and AHRQ grant review panels, and FDA advisory panels. The Section’s faculty lead two Centers based at BCM: the Vaccine Research Center, a leading center for the study of vaccines to combat infections including SARS-CoV-2, the agent of COVID-19; and the Texas Developmental Center for AIDS Research, whose mission is to grow and facilitate ground-breaking research focused on ending the HIV epidemic in Texas and the world. Section faculty hold important positions in academic publishing, including Dr. Mayar Al Mohajer, who is on the editorial board BMC Public Health and PLoS ONE; Dr. Eva Clark, who is Section Editor PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases; Dr. Robert Atmar, who is North American Editor for Journal of Infection, on the Editorial Advisory Board for Journal of Infectious Diseases and a member of the editorial advisory board for Vaccine; Dr. Andrew DiNardo, who is Associate Editor, European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Daniel Musher, who is on the editorial board of both Pneumonia and Pathogens. Dr. Indira Mysorekar is President-Elect of the American Society for Reproductive Immunology.
A number of new and on-going research projects were led by the faculty, including research on vaccines led by Drs. Hana El-Sahly and Robert Atmar; norovirus led by Dr. Robert Atmar; emerging pathogens led by Dr. Maria Rodriguez-Barradas and members of the VRC; HIV led by Dr. Thomas Giordano; and women’s endothelial and urothelial health led by Dr. Indira Mysorekar, and tropical infections led by Drs. Jill Weatherhead and Eva Clark. The Section’s faculty published in the major medicine and infectious diseases journals, including the JAMA and Lancet collection of journals, Clinical Infectious Diseases, AIDS, and many others. Dr. Robert Atmar was awarded the Best Scientific Publication award from the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium, while Dr. Yuriko Fukuta’s work on COVID trials was recognized with an award from the CommonSpirit Network and a recognition from the Consul General of Japan in Houston.
On the clinical and education front, Dr. Ahmed Hamdi partnered with faculty in Pulmonary and Critical Care to open a new clinic dedicated to the care of people with non-tuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary infections, a highly specialized clinic that is unique in Houston. The faculty hold important educational roles in the College, including Dr. Richard Hamill, who is Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Medicine; Dr. Galan Chan, who is Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program; Dr. Eva Clark, who is Director of Clinical Education for BCM’s National School of Tropical Medicine; and Dr. Stacey Rose, who is Associate Director of BCM’s Center for Professionalism. Dr. George R. Parkerson received the Ben and Margaret Love Foundation Bobby R. Alford, MD, Award for Academic Professionalism at BCM, one of the institutions most prestigious awards. Dr. Prathit Kulkarni was recognized with the Young Alumnus Award from BCM. Dr. Yuriko Fukuta received funding to address disparities in healthcare literacy while Dr. Hamill received funding from Texas for residency education and Dr. Kulkarni received funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to advance diagnostic excellence in telemedicine. Dr. Shital Patel leads the Houston AIDS Education and Training Center, a federally funded program to train health care professionals in caring for people with HIV. Dr. Jose Serpa is the Director of the Citywide Infectious Diseases Conference, an outstanding case conference attended by infectious diseases physicians and trainees from across the Texas Medical Center and, via Zoom, well beyond the Houston region.
The Section is very excited about its new leadership for the Infectious Diseases fellowship program. Dr. Prathit Kulkarni was promoted from Associate Program Director of the Section’s Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program to Program Director. Drs. Melanie Goebel and Sarwat Khalil were appointed Associate Program Directors. The new leaders have positioned BCM well to continue to train outstanding leaders in infectious diseases.
The Section’s faculty collaborate with researchers from around the world. The Section’s faculty have long-standing and important research collaborations with the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology and the Department of Pediatrics in the VRC. They also collaborate with UTHealth Science Center Houston and Texas Biomedical Research Institute in operating the Texas D-CFAR. Both Centers are part of national research networks organized by the NIH. Section members are leaders in Baylor’s National School of Tropical Medicine. Our education efforts are greatly enhanced by a long-standing educational collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center through which our infectious diseases fellows rotate through many of the unique clinical services at that institution.
Infectious Disease faculty are heavily involved in community outreach and engagement. The faculty provided hundreds of media interviews throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. The Texas D-CFAR and the Houston AETC collaborate with the Houston Health Department to produce the annual Sharing Science conference, which brings research results on HIV from Houston-based researchers to the lay public via a one-day conference. AETC faculty, including Drs. Shital Patel and Melanie Goebel, conduct outreach and training events for healthcare providers including physicians, nurses, outreach staff, pharmacists and others on caring for people with HIV. Dr. Robert Atmar is a member of the Houston Health Department’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Executive Committee.
The Section of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine provides outstanding care for patients and comprehensive clinical and research training in infectious diseases to fellows, residents and students, while advancing knowledge of infections and immunity through cutting-edge research in basic science, clinical science, epidemiology, health services research and outcomes research. We are indebted to the department and college leaders, the section’s dedicated staff members, researchers from around the world, administrators, fellows, residents and students with whom we collaborate, and to our patients who make our work meaningful and possible.
Thomas Giordano, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases