PIDS Foundation News: James D. Cherry (Donor)

Dr. James D. Cherry
Dr. James Cherry

James D. Cherry, MD, MSc, is Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, Division of Infectious Diseases. He also served as Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases there for 27 years. Dr. Cherry earned his medical degree at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. His residency was completed at Boston City Hospital, Boston, MA and Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, NY. His fellowship was at the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, a Harvard Medical School facility, at Boston City Hospital.  

Dr. Cherry is an emeritus member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. He was part of the original club meeting that would eventually grow into the Society. His PIDS career is highlighted by a term as president (1991-1993), and recognition with the 2003 Walter T. Hughes Distinguished Physician Award and 2009 Stanley A. Plotkin Lecture in Vaccinology award. He currently serves on the Publications Committee and is well-known as a lead editor of Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (the 9th edition should be out this summer).

The PIDS Foundation came into existence in 2008, post-dating Dr. Cherry’s time as president of the society. Though he never transitioned from PIDS President to PIDS Foundation Chair, he has been involved with the Foundation since its founding. Each year at membership renewal, Dr. Cherry makes a donation to the Foundation so that it may continue its work growing fellowships and opportunities to get more medical students into pediatric ID.

During his time as division chief, Dr. Cherry encouraged his fellows to apply for fellowship awards offered through the PIDS Foundation. A few took up his advice and won awards, including Dean Blumberg who is now head of pediatric ID at UC Davis. Fellowship awards are an area that Dr. Cherry believes the Foundation can have tremendous impact, especially at a time such as now when many programs struggle to support fellowships.

Another area he feels important for the Foundation to work is in getting more medical students interested in ID careers. Last year, PIDS launched the meetID program to accomplish just that. The program extends an opportunity to premedical and medical students and residents to experience pediatric ID programming and mentorship at either the St. Jude/PIDS, PAS, or IDWeek conferences. The first members of the 2024 cohort will be in attendance at next month’s St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference.

Dr. Cherry sees the Foundation as another, important way of encouraging younger people into joining PIDS, PIDS committees and other activities, and publishing in JPIDS. As someone who was part of the club that formed the Society, he is hopeful in seeing the next generation take up the Society and Foundation’s continued development.

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