October 25, 2023
Tanvi Sharma, MD, MPH, is Associate Chief and Clinical Director within the division of pediatric ID, as well as Director of the Pediatric ID Fellowship Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also co-director of the immunocompromised hosts infectious diseases service and co-director of ID in the Pediatric Transplant Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sharma completed her medical training, residency in pediatrics, and fellowship in pediatric ID and immunology at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Her research focuses on evaluating infectious outcomes in children undergoing solid organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as well as in other pediatric immunocompromised hosts.
Dr. Sharma is the newly elected Secretary-Treasurer of the PIDS Board of Directors, a member of the Pediatric Transplant ID Committee and served as the Chair for the St. Jude Subcommittee to lead the Transplant and Immunocompromised Hosts ID Symposium at the 2023 St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference.
She has been a member of PIDS since beginning her fellowship in pediatric ID, though her affiliation with the Foundation did not start until she was appointed a faculty member and her involvement with pediatric infectious diseases grew. As she became more involved in PIDS, the important role the Foundation plays in the mission of identity, inclusion, impact, and innovation was more apparent. She came to view the PIDS Foundation as a meaningful entity that had been underappreciated early on in her career.
From Dr. Sharma’s perspective, the Foundation has been truly instrumental in ensuring peds ID trainees and faculty have access to research grants and fellowship awards that help them develop and advance their careers. It also helps promote work that is important for the field, improving treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in children.
“When the Foundation is thriving, it allows us to give more awards, allows us to expand PIDS offerings, allows us to create more educational resources for membership, and allows us to move our work forward all around the world. The more that we can do to grow the Foundation, the greater the impact is for the growth of peds ID.”
The more recent efforts aimed at promoting diversity in peds ID and in supporting students and other trainees considering pediatric ID has really become an important part of what the Foundation does for Dr. Sharma. Programs like RAPID, SUMMERS, and meetID, build invaluable stepping stones for the next generation of pediatric infectious diseases workforce and providers, helping them to move forward and develop careers.
During IDWeek, Dr. Sharma was able to engage with several of the meetID students, including one from her institution. Having the Foundation support them by bringing them to the meeting helped her realize that sometimes members don’t get to see students and trainees often in person or talk with them in depth if they are on service with them. Being in a room with them, hearing their enthusiasm for the field, and getting to introduce them to others from across the country was a special bonus of her IDWeek.
As a program director for close to 15 years, Dr. Sharma consistently directs fellows and residents to PIDS’s exceptional fellowship awards. Access to such funding and resources, in her opinion, can really be motivating and enable them to be successful in future grant funding and in building their careers. She encourages her trainees to just apply. Even if they’re not sure if their project quite fits, or is really the best project for an award, to just apply because it will give them experience, and could turn out to be successful.
In her new role as Secretary-Treasurer, Dr. Sharma is honored to be charged with conceiving ways to grow Foundation resources and to use them creatively and innovatively when considering new programs and new avenues in which to diversify and grow awards and offerings to a greater portion of membership. One upcoming innovation is the IMG Early Career Development Award, a part of PIDS membership that has often struggled to get the right resources to develop their careers and research.
“The work of the Foundation enables PIDS to expand and support our workforce and influence our mission of improving child health. This is something I’m thinking very carefully about as I enter into my new role.”