PIDS Member Spotlight – Dr. Philip Zachariah

Dr. Philip Zachariah is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. He also leads the antibiotic stewardship program and serves as hospital epidemiologist at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Zachariah grew up in India and received his medical degree from Christian Medical College Vellore. During medical school, he was struck with the vast advances in child health led by infectious disease physicians and epidemiologists. Motivated by this, he completed his pediatric infectious diseases fellowship and master’s program in clinical research at Columbia University, where he is also now completing a graduate program in Biomedical Informatics.

In his current position, Dr. Zachariah works at the intersection of both hospital epidemiology and antibiotic stewardship. He feels that while the healthcare ecosystem and the regulatory landscape are constantly changing, appropriate antibiotic use and effective infection control will remain critical tools in making care safer and more effective for children. He is excited about using observational data and informatics tools in a rigorous way to guide clinician decision making. Being in the initial epicenter of COVID-19 in the U.S., Dr. Zachariah had the opportunity to be part of the hospital’s response, which he describes as “both very exciting and overwhelming at the same time. It was also a great reminder of how our specialty, while often in the background, is indispensable for public health.” He says that “the way many of my Pediatric ID colleagues, both at my own hospital and nationally, rose to the challenge is inspirational.” As a member of the LGBTQ community, he is proud to see Pediatric ID physicians advocate for social justice and stand at the forefront of efforts to minimize disparities that continue to impact our patients.

Dr. Zachariah hopes to further advance a research program focused on surveillance and prevention of novel and resistant pathogens, and on decreasing antibiotic resistance through appropriate antibiotic use. He has been a PIDS member since 2013 and is the PIDS representative to the COVID-19 Real-Time Learning Network (RTLN) Advisory Group, a collaborative effort between the CDC and Infectious Diseases Society of America.

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