On behalf of our faculty, fellows and staff, I am pleased to welcome you to the Division of Infectious Diseases at UMMC. Increasingly topics related to our field of infectious diseases (ID) are a steady presence in media and in public discourse. Stories about dropping vaccination rates spawning re-emergence of preventable illnesses, antibiotic misuse breeding multi-drug resistant organisms, hospital-acquired infections endangering patient safety, healthcare disparities preying on vulnerable patients, or mystery contagions prompting the latest global outbreak fears – all these stories should have one thing in common: a composed and compassionate ID expert driving the conversation forward toward rational solutions.
In the UMMC Division of Infectious Diseases, our faculty put themselves in those stories, but certainly not for any limelight; they step up because they truly believe it is essential to their calling. I am proud to highlight just a few of the areas where our division is stepping up to meet new challenges:
- In COVID-19 response, where our faculty started a COVID-ID consult service to see all symptomatic inpatients throughout the pandemic, assisting providers in isolation, diagnostic and treatment questions throughout their admission, used telehealth to provide outpatient follow-up and staffed a new COVID vaccine clinic.
- In ambulatory ID, where we provide comprehensive services for over 2100 patients living with HIV in Mississippi’s largest Ryan White funded clinic, with quality metrics for HIV care provision exceeding regional and national averages.
- At Express Personal Health, where we have knitted private industry and public health funding in an academic setting to explore novel prevention, linkage and care delivery methods for patients at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and chronic viral hepatitis.
- In CIRCLE (Collaborative for Innovation, Research and Clinical Engagement) where the NIH-funded MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study is housed alongside other ID clinical trials in a newly renovated and spacious suite in the Jackson Medical Mall.
- On our inpatient consult program, with two ID consult teams that combine to make ID the largest inpatient consult service at UMMC, with an excellent reputation for both service and teaching.
- In the internal medicine residency program, where our HIV medicine track for residents offers a year of didactics and training with their own continuity of care clinic that will prepare them to provide care for patients living with HIV in their future primary care practices.
- In the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, where in addition to teaching at all levels in various courses as guest lecturers, we also run the only tropical medicine course, bringing students to Peru to deliver rural health care on the Amazon River and its tributaries.
- Through the UMMC Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, awarded Center of Excellence status by IDSA, where our faculty lead a comprehensive service that engages in all areas of antimicrobial use, always under the guiding principles of pursuing best clinical practice and patient safety.
- In care for immunocompromised patients, where 2021 saw the start of our pre- and post-transplant clinics and our inpatient consult service for transplant recipients.
The preceding lines are just a slice of our division’s work at UMMC, in Mississippi and around the globe. Even so, there is plenty more that needs to get done, so why not come join us? We are continually growing, recruiting faculty and fellows, students and staff. Or perhaps you would like to make a donation to our ID educational fund? Regardless of why you are here, you are welcome! And remember, there is always room for more laborers in the field, especially when the harvest is upon us and the crop so precious.
Jason Parham MD, MPHDirector, Division of Infectious DiseasesProfessor of Medicine