November 22, 2023

PIDS Foundation News: Shannon Hamilton (Recipient)

Dr. Shannon Hamilton

Shannon Hamilton, DO, is Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned her DO at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Lynchburg, Virginia and completed her residency at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis. Her fellowship will complete in June 2024. She has presented at past conferences, including an oral abstract at PAS in 2023.

PIDS Foundation Fellowship Awards first came to Dr. Hamilton’s attention thanks in part to her fellowship program encouragement and in part through her former co-fellow (Jonathan Mayhew) receiving a PIDS Foundation award. The final nudge to apply came at last year’s St. Jude-PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference where she met then-PIDS president Buddy Creech. The two talked about a research project she had begun that revolved around health equity and he encouraged her to apply for the Sanofi Health Disparities in Pediatric ID Fellowship Award.

The research proposal that was funded by the award involves a retrospective look at differences in antibiotic prescriptions in Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis infections to see if there are disparities in guideline deviation in certain populations or demographic groups. An additional focus was to uncover any aspects of bias, expectations, or perceptions in provider-patient relationships through a survey of both groups. At the time of her application, her research already had a protocol set and was just about to start data collection.

Dr. Hamilton found the PIDS Foundation award application process pretty straight forward. That was particularly beneficial as there was a tight turnaround from deciding to apply at St. Jude-PIDS in early March to the application deadline at the beginning of May. She attributes the help from her mentors with letters of recommendation and encouragement, and Riley administrative staff who helped with budget estimates and logistics of packaging the grant, with enabling her to complete the winning application.

The Sanofi Health Disparities in Pediatric ID Fellowship Award has enabled her to conduct research with more protected time, which she identifies as important for a fellow to complete meaningful research and learn about clinical research methodology. The award has also helped fund tuition toward a Master of Clinical Research degree that she began during this period. Initially upon going into fellowship, Dr. Hamilton saw antimicrobial stewardship as the area she would like to pursue. When looking into the subcategory of health disparities and how antibiotics may be prescribed differently across populations, and with encouragement to ask the questions on equity, this award has been a significant boost in focusing her research into health disparities, an area of work that she hopes to continue in the future.

Dr. Hamilton’s advice for fellows in her position was to apply for awards, even if they feel they won’t get it or that their research isn’t big enough to be funded by such awards. She felt the same way about hers. And to mentors, she recommends finding out about opportunities that exist for their fellows and trainees and to push them to apply. It was thanks to her mentors encouragement and assistance that she received a grant that has “afforded me many opportunities to further my education and specifically, infectious diseases research.”

She plans to complete her research project in the near future, publish her findings and present them at a conference in 2024. Perhaps that will be at IDWeek in Los Angeles next fall.

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