May 18, 2022
Roberto P. Santos is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and an attending pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Children’s of Mississippi. He currently heads the Teen Health Clinic at the center’s Children’s Subspecialty Clinic for the prevention and treatment of STI including HIV among adolescents. Early in his career, only six months into his fellowship in 2006, Dr. Santos was encouraged by a mentor to participate in PIDS Abbott Laboratories Fellowship Award, which began his exploration of clinical pharmacology.
A foreign medical graduate, Dr. Santos was happy to have a nurturing mentor in a society that provided opportunities for young investigators and promoted diversity and inclusion. His mentor was one of the few with interest as well in clinical pharmacology in a fellowship program whose predominant research is in respiratory viruses. The award signaled a recognition of his potential as a researcher and as a clinician at heart.
During the research period, Dr. Santos took interest in additional clinical pharmacology areas, including Cystic Fibrosis. The ability to investigate his original interest and others led him to question if this was what he wanted to continue doing or if other viral infections, like HIV, would be the better path. He has subsequently moved into that focus area while maintaining the networking and collaboration community his mentor helped him launch. In 2017, he was a principal investigator of the Ending the Epidemic Research and Evaluation Project from the New York State Department of Health – AIDS Institute and in 2020 he was the program director of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part D COVID-19 Response awarded to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Dr. Santos expressed his happiness that the Society opened doors for him through the Fellowship Award. He continues to “pay it forward” by mentoring young researchers and doing what is possible so that others may benefit from the lessons he learned as a mentee and as a researcher navigating the community and networking to connect and collaborate. The impact of these awards are “bigger than the research opportunity” alone.
Dr. Santos completed his medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. That was followed by a residency training in pediatrics at Upstate Medical University (Syracuse, NY), and fellowship training in infectious diseases at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, TX) before assuming his roles at Albany Medical Center then at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
He currently serves on the Program and Meetings Committee, the Inclusion, Diversity, Access & Equity (IDA&E) Task Force and the International Affairs Committee. He had served on the Membership Committee. He was a moderator, speaker and presenter at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meetings, IDWeek and at the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (WSPID).