November 29, 2023
Results from the 2023 Match are heartening, with 37 physicians choosing pediatric infectious diseases as their specialization. This year, 20/53 programs filled all positions offered (37.7%), while only 37/77 total positions were filled (48.1%). While these results were less than hoped, and perhaps reflective of an 8% drop in overall fellowship applicants, pediatric ID programs across the country will be better positioned to serve their patients thanks to the commitments of these young physicians.
Those who have matched into pediatric infectious diseases do so at a time of great challenges met by equally great opportunities. Antimicrobial resistance casts an ever-growing, ominous shadow across the health and well-being of children everywhere, yet there is no specialty better positioned to combat it than ID. The wake of the pandemic jeopardizes advancements made in vaccine-preventable diseases, yet pediatric ID expertise will lead efforts to regain and surpass protections of the vulnerable in our communities. Our changing world will continue to assault us with novel or adapted infections, yet ID training will enable our specialists to deftly confront each one.
The welcome addition of these physicians does not fully address the shortage of pediatric infectious diseases providers that persists. A myriad of factors prevents our specialty from fulfilling its potential; paramount among these are antiquated compensation structures and training requirements, as well as the polarization of medicine and mistrust of medical professionals seen more broadly.
Over the past two years, PIDS has engaged in advocacy and created programming to alleviate these issues. On Capitol Hill, we have joined partner organizations to champion equitable pay for the care we provide and forgiveness of student loans for those in the workforce. We have surveyed our membership to gauge the best structure for our fellowship training. And, we have led with science to protect the health and well-being of children through the prevention and control of infectious diseases worldwide.
We have created the Summer Research Scholars Award (SUMMERS) to promote careers in pediatric infectious diseases by funding summer research projects of students at various levels of training. Also, PIDS developed the meetID program to acquaint premedical/medical students and residents with pediatric ID through a program that is mentored, engaging, educational, and trainee focused. Meanwhile, the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Early Career Development Award provides financial support to IMGs, an increasing portion of pediatric ID physicians, as they transition from fellowship to faculty positions.
Interwoven throughout PIDS efforts is our commitment to inclusion, diversity, access and equity. We have elevated our IDA&E Task Force to a Committee that will be seeded throughout all PIDS committees and integral to all we undertake as a Society. Along with the generous dedication of our members, we believe pairing IDA&E with our advocacy and programming will propel pediatric infectious diseases into the desired destination for trainees seeking the greatest impact on the lives of their patients.
PIDS is pleased to welcome the newest pediatric ID trainees to our wonderful specialty. We look forward to the contributions our latest batch of colleagues will make in promoting the health of children across the country. How they build upon our efforts to address the challenges our specialty faces and how they progress our care, service, and understanding will be a pleasure to behold. Welcome to our trainees – PIDS is ready to help as you launch your pediatric ID careers. We hope you make our Society your Society.
William J. Steinbach, MD, FPIDS, President, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society