Dr. H. Dele Davies is the Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Public Health, and also the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). While he enjoys his leadership role, including the visioning, planning, and implementing of new programs that move the academic mission forward, Dele has never forgotten his first love – caring and advocating for children everywhere and caring for children with or suspected to have infections.
Dr. Davies was born and raised in Nigeria, leaving when he was fifteen years old to complete high school in England. He then moved to Canada at age 17, attending pre-medical school at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick for two years. From there he went to Medical School at the University of Toronto, with his very first degree being his MD. Dr. Davies completed his residency in Pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, during which he fell in love with infectious diseases and cardiology and was accepted into both fellowship programs. He chose however, the field of infectious diseases – “because of its all-systems encompassing nature, and his desire to use this training to serve developing nations through short term missions”.
While completing his ID fellowship, Dr. Davies also obtained a master’s degree in epidemiology and learned the skills of clinical research, including controlled clinical trials and population-based surveillance. He credits his fellowship with Dr. Allison McGeer and Dr. Don Lowe, two giants of infectious diseases in Canada, as being pivotal in his career. Davies, Lowe and McGeer published the first seminal and detailed population-based study of invasive group A streptococcal infections that defined the epidemiology of this disease.
Following his fellowship, Dr. Davies moved to Calgary where he and his research team established and first defined the population-based rates, risk factors and virulence factors for neonatal Group B streptococcus infections in Canada. In addition to a full research and clinical portfolio, Dr. Davies held numerous clinical and research leadership roles in Calgary before being recruited to Michigan State University where he served as Chair of Pediatrics. During his leadership at Michigan State, Davies also obtained a Master of Science Degree in Health Care Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. While leading the Department, he established several partnerships within the community to benefit children under the umbrella of the MSU Children’s Health Initiative.
Dr. Davies has over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals related to his research as well as other infectious diseases topics, and has received many prestigious awards during his career. He believes in giving back through mentoring and service and has mentored many students, fellows and faculty – individuals who have gone on to become leaders at leading academic centers in Canada, the US and the Middle East. Dr. Davies has also traveled to over two-dozen countries to either serve on medical missions, promote the health of children, give presentations on infectious diseases or build partnerships related to his job. He currently serves as a member of the National Biodefense Science Board advisory to the US Secretary for Preparedness and also on the board of the newly formed Committee on Children and Disasters for the AAP. Through all stages of his career, he has continued to maintain an active inpatient and outpatient clinical service.
Dr. Davies has also served on national committees, including a six-year term on the “Red Book” Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics; a five-year term as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Centers for Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta); a six-year term on the NIH (NIAID) Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (MIDB) Study Section on training grants; Secretary-Treasurer of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs; Chair of the Pediatric Investigators Collaborative Network on Infections in Canada; member of the Canadian Pediatric Society Infectious Diseases and Immunization Committee; member of Health Canada’s Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel; and Chair of the Diversity Committee of the Council of Graduate Schools.
Dr. Davies is a strong believer in the mission of PIDS, of which he was an inaugural fellow. He has served on the Finance Committee since 2010 and is the current committee chair. He sees PIDS as being a strong voice advocating for children everywhere in the area of infectious diseases and ensuring a strong pipeline of future faculty to keep the profession strong well into the future.