June 22, 2022
Michael Pichichero, MD believes that, too often, great science in pediatric infectious disease does not receive the funding by the National Institutes of Health or large charitable foundations that it deserves. In order to achieve funding by these sources, applications must include high-quality preliminary data in support of hypotheses to be tested that may not be available. Dr. Pichichero wondered, how is a young scientist or a more senior scientist with a gap in funding going to succeed in this environment without financial help?
Recognizing a need, the Pichichero Family Foundation decided to partner with the PIDS Foundation to address the inherent shortcoming. The Pichichero Family Foundation’s mission is “Helping children lead healthy lives” and supports evidence-based research with a focus on prevention of disease. The PIDS Foundation was chosen as a partner organization because its mission of prevention of infectious disease in children aligned with the Pichichero Family Foundation focus.
Dr. Pichichero was a PIDS charter member. He has seen the Society evolve over the years through outstanding leadership. In cooperation with Janet Gilsdorf, and more recently with Buddy Creech, the Society established a rational approach to awarding Foundation grants to deserving applicants. In the first years the focus was limited to vaccine development, then expanded to immunotherapy, and more recently to include epidemiology relating to vaccine preventable diseases. Working collaboratively with PIDS and the PIDS foundation leadership, the Pichichero Family Foundation continuously reassesses the best way to help researchers achieve publishable, foundational evidence that will lead them to larger awards to expand and extend their research aims.
In Dr. Pichichero’s said about the future of funding efforts, “Children everywhere in the world have infectious diseases. We have been pleased that the PIDS Foundation has reached out and engaged European Pediatric Infectious Disease Society members to apply for awards and anticipate other sister society members may apply in the future.”