Shortage of Infectious Disease Doctors and Why This Matters

Dr. Danielle Zerr, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Seattle Children’s discusses the expected severe shortage of infectious disease specialists over the next decade, according to projections by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. She talks about why this shortage matters, some of the challenges in the profession, why she has devoted herself to the infectious disease prevention profession, and the benefits of choosing this specialty.

Dr. Zerr’s research has focused on two main areas:(1) defining the epidemiology of viral pathogens in healthy children and immunocompromised hosts and (2) describing the epidemiology and defining prevention strategies for healthcare-associated infections. Recent work includes studies aimed at defining the epidemiology of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. In addition, Dr. Zerr collaborates with Dr. Weissman and Dr. Qin in investigating the molecular epidemiology of broad-spectrum beta-lactam resistance in pediatric Enterobacteriaceae infections. Dr. Zerr also leads a multicenter trial aimed at reducing healthcare-associated infections in children with cancer.

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