March 20, 2024

PIDS Foundation Feature: Mohamad Shieb (Recipient)

Dr. Mohamad Shieb

Mohamad Shieb is a 2nd year resident at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He earned his medical degree from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Shieb is a member of the first PIDS meetID cohort, attending IDWeek 2023 in Boston. Earlier this month, he also had a poster and an oral presentation at St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference 2024.

One of the first rotations Dr. Shieb got to do as a resident was the pediatric infectious diseases elective at Georgetown. It was a move that he says was lucky in that, while he was interested in infectious diseases as a specialty, he was not yet fully decided. It was also at this time that he became a member of PIDS and began receiving PIDS messages and the newsletter. Joining the Society is something he recommends to his fellow residents who have even the slightest interest in pediatric infectious diseases, as that is how he learned of conferences that include pediatric ID and interesting opportunities like meetID.

Dr. Shieb found the meetID application to be “really straight forward.” When he opened the application, it asked for a current CV, which he maintains, and a personal statement. He completed the statement during his lunch hour while on clinic, being sure to have it reflect his passion for infectious diseases, his values, and his experience as an international medical graduate (IMG) from Syria.

Two things stood out to Dr. Shieb during IDWeek in Boston. One was the meetID meeting with PIDS leaders where the latter shared different avenues of a pediatric infectious diseases career. The meeting’s impact was described by Dr. Shieb, “As a resident or medical student, we are mostly exposed to the clinical side of things. That is very valuable, but I had no idea of the breadth of opportunities that exist for an individual who is ID-trained. Getting to hear about antimicrobial stewardship, basic research, clinical research, public health, involvement in any of that amplified my interest. I joined IDWeek and meetID as someone who was potentially interested in pediatric infectious diseases and left as someone committed to apply to pediatric ID.”

The other aspect that stuck out occurred during the PIDS Foundation Annual Dinner. The meetID participants’ picture was displayed during the program and they were asked to stand up to be recognized. It was a special moment that Dr. Shieb said felt like the pediatric ID community was welcoming him – an IMG and someone from underrepresented in medicine – into the specialty of ID, “a valuable moment in my career.” That fame extended to this March when PIDS members he had met in Boston recognized him as a meetID recipient in Memphis and struck up a conversation.

After attending IDWeek in Boston, Dr. Shieb did an away rotation in pediatric ID at the Mayo Clinic with Elizabeth Ristagno, a mentor he met at IDWeek. It was a second rotation in infectious diseases, spurred by his experience at IDWeek and meetID. He credits it with giving him the motivation to pursue further projects in pediatric ID, such as his presentations at St. Jude/PIDS and, he hopes, at IDWeek in Los Angeles.

Dr. Shieb called the meetID program great exposure to the specialty that opened doors. He discovered a welcoming community, “From the most junior to the most senior, whether they are fellow residents or attendings or chairs of departments, the moment you approach them and show interest in pediatric infectious diseases they immediately get very excited. You will see individuals who are just as excited to be a mentor as you are to be a mentee. It’s a very solid community in that sense. It is important for those of us just starting out to take advantage of that.”

There were several entities Dr. Shieb acknowledged for their role in getting him to this point, starting with his residency program and pediatric infectious diseases attendings at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Drs. Eric Stern and Ruth Kanthula for encouraging him to pursue the specialty as well as Dr. Ristagno and the pediatric ID department at the Mayo Clinic. He also specifically wanted to recognize PIDS for the opportunity to participate in meetID, and the funders of the program who made it possible, for both him and future applicants.

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