Supporting the Specialty’s Future

Developing the next generation of specialists in pediatric infectious diseases is critical to sustaining the field and ensuring that it thrives in the future. That was clear to Dr. Stanley Plotkin, the noted physician, scientist, and vaccine researcher who in the late 1970s recognized the need for an organization that would bring together experts in the field, create a community, and attract young people to the specialty. Supporting those who are interested in careers in pediatric ID remains an important priority today for PIDS’ “founding father” and his wife, Susan Plotkin.

Established and maintained through their generous support, the Stanley and Susan Plotkin Fellowship Awards support basic or clinical research in pediatric infectious diseases through two-year grants available to pediatric ID fellows. “A young person has a large number of choices these days,” Dr. Plotkin says. “When someone is intellectually attracted by a particular field but then doesn’t see a way of training in that field with financial support, then he or she is not likely to go into that field.”

Bringing young people to the specialty and growing the pool of highly trained pediatric ID scientists are key to the field’s future. “The best way to accomplish this, we think, is through making sure there are fellowships to support young people going into the specialty,” Susan Plotkin says. The fellowship award provides $50,000 per year for two years, with renewal for the second year dependent upon satisfactory research progress. It may be used at the award recipient’s discretion, including for salary support, purchase of equipment, technical support, or research supplies.

The fellowship awards are a continuation of the Plotkins’ longtime and enthusiastic support for PIDS since its birth. Their contributions have helped advance the pediatric infectious diseases specialty, and with it, the health of children and families around the world. “PIDS has developed into a continuing, well established organization that serves very important functions, and we’re delighted to see that,” Dr. Plotkin says. 

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