Why We Should All Support Our Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

John Bradley
December 2020

I am very honored and humbled by receipt of the Society’s award this past year, which was quite unexpected as I have certainly not made a particular unique, important advance or discovery in our field (which many others in our Society have indeed accomplished), but perhaps that I have done my best to be involved in ALL aspects of pediatric infectious diseases with exceptional opportunities to be involved in clinical care, research and policy… a sort of ‘generalist’ in pediatric infectious diseases (although for some reason, I do love antibiotics).  Kris Bryant has allowed me to reflect, in this letter, on where we have been, and what I believe we are able to achieve.   We all take care of children with infectious diseases in one way or another.  We are a team of clinicians, epidemiologists, and researchers who come from all areas of engagement on behalf of children (community and private practice, academics, pharmacy, industry, government (FDA and CDC), and public health to name but a few); but we all come together to care for children with infectious diseases.  The current COVID pandemic dramatically highlights the immense value we ALL provide to children. 

Since my residency in Pediatrics in the 1970’s, I have witnessed how infections can kill and incapacitate children of all ages… these kids didn’t ask to be infected, and all they wanted was to get better so they could just be kids again.  Our hospital used to see 100 kids each year with bacterial meningitis; now we see none (a miracle).  We all witness disease: the Dance between Pathogen and Child, which is profoundly different between those children who are otherwise well, and those who have comorbid conditions.  It is our charge as those involved in the clinical care/research/policy of infected children to inform policy that will impact outcomes through engagement in these areas, all of which are supported by PIDS.

We can extend our individual abilities from helping to manage a single child, to working with PIDS colleagues on basic and translational research for new vaccines or anti-infective therapy OR help creating local/regional/national policies to promote the health of children at every level.  We have already created stronger national priorities for infectious diseases care and research, particularly in our work with our partners (including IDSA, AAP, CDC, FDA, and NIH).  The Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society is our vehicle for collaboration and progress.  No other Society in North America has those specific goals.  Almost 50 years ago we started as an interest group, then a club, then finally a Society.  We have had limited resources for our Society; our tremendous success has been our ability to partner and collaborate with those who have had resources to support our shared goals (for which we are quite grateful).  As we look to the future (5 to 10 years from now), I hope that our priorities can start with PIDS, still always benefitting from partnering with others to achieve our goals for children.  As an example of a PIDS achievement by working together with IDSA, we were able split off Pediatrics from the IDSA Community Acquired Pneumonia Guidelines, and working with IDSA, we created the first PIDS/IDSA Pediatric CAP Guideline a decade ago, with productive, rewarding ongoing collaborations with both IDSA and with AAP on an extensive number of pediatric ID topics.

Our Society is still young, and we have gone through growing pains as all youngsters, but we are now well-organized and more capable than ever before, with outstanding leadership to take us to the next level of IMPACT to achieve our goals.  Kris Bryant is organizing, with our Board, our new Strategic Plan for the future of PIDS!  Please join me in making sure that everyone you know whose goals are to study, prevent, and treat infectious diseases in children, in all areas of engagement, is a member of our Society, signing up for Committees and ready to roll up their sleeves on behalf of children.  There is no better time to get involved.  Our value to children highlighted by this PANDEMIC is apparent not only to you, but to our clinical colleagues, our patients, NIH, FDA, CDC, our Industry partners, and to the Public!

Thank you!

With sincerest regards,
John Bradley 😊

Improving the health of children worldwide through philanthropic support of scientific and educational programs.