A Collaborative Approach in Pediatric Infectious Diseases: OMI MEX CHOP Seminar in Mexico!

Jun 18, 2024

Our latest OMI MEX seminar was an event filled with knowledge, collaboration, and a shared commitment to advancing pediatric healthcare. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) seminar in Pediatric Infectious Diseases took place from June 10 to 12 in Mexico City and brought together a distinguished panel of experts who shared their extensive knowledge with participants from diverse medical backgrounds in Mexico and Latin America.

The seminar was directed by Dr. Paul J. Planet, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at CHOP and senior researcher at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Planet’s unique combination of expertise in anthropology, molecular biochemistry, and biophysics through his education at Yale University, adds a fascinating dimension to his teaching approach. His background underscores the interdisciplinary nature of modern medical research and the importance of a broad scientific perspective in tackling complex health challenges.

Dr. Hamid Bassiri, PhD in Immunology and Co-Director of the Immune Dysregulation Program at CHOP, brought insights into immune dysregulation and provided a framework for how infections can disrupt normal immune function and the innovative strategies being developed to address these issues.

Dr. Kathleen Chiotos, pediatric intensivist, and infectious diseases physician, serves as an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her expertise in critical care and infectious diseases highlighted the intersections of the fields, particularly in the treatment of severe infections and sepsis in pediatric patients.

Dr. Kevin J. Downes, infectious diseases physician at CHOP, specializes in pediatric infectious diseases epidemiology and antimicrobial stewardship. His work in clinical pharmacology and resistance mechanisms for antibiotics develops effective strategies to combat antibiotic resistance, a growing concern in global health.

From Mexico, Dr. Fernando Ortega Riosvelasco, Head of the Epidemiology Department at the Federico Gómez Children’s Hospital, contributed local expertise and insights into the epidemiological landscape of pediatric infectious diseases in the country. His participation underlined the importance of a regional perspective.

Reflecting on the seminar, Dr. Paul J. Planet shared his thoughts:

“This is my fourth time as Course Director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and my first time in Mexico. The OMI classes are one of the most rewarding activities that I do as an infectious disease physician. The structure of the course makes learning extremely high impact, and it creates relationships that last far beyond the 3-day course. With the rest of the faculty, I hope to foster an environment that maximizes participation, learning, and sharing of information and ideas. Our goal is for every participant to leave with new ideas and a strengthened fund of knowledge, but, most importantly, the feeling that they are members of a new community of colleagues that will be a future point of contact, support, and collaboration that will improve the wellbeing of children.”

Dr. Planet also emphasized the scope of the seminar:

“We aim to cover as much of the field of pediatric infectious disease as possible, but we also focus on the specific expertise of the faculty, which includes infection prevention and control, antibiotic stewardship, bacterial pathogenesis, the impact of the microbiome on human health, the role of the immune system in infectious disease, critical care and sepsis treatment, and the pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics and resistance mechanisms for antibiotics. Ultimately, we focus on the overall health of patients, vulnerable populations, and the health of children and adult populations.”

We were pleased to host fellows from four different nationalities in Latin America: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Nicaragua. In each interaction, fellows shared experiences and challenges faced in hospitals of their home countries and were able to take away several key points applicable to their work environments.

This seminar was game-changing in my career because it helped me with discovering future clinical areas in pediatrics. Having the opportunity to interact with faculty from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was a privilege, and I intend to apply what I have learned in my daily practice, sharing it with my colleagues.
Santiago Reyes De la Torre, MD

OMI MEX fellow from Mexico

My favorite lecture was “Antibiotic Mechanisms and Resistance” by Dr. Chiotos. This is an extremely relevant topic for infectious diseases professionals, as antibiotic resistance is a growing problem worldwide. With the knowledge gained, I now plan to share it with hospitals in my home country, Ecuador.
Maria Fernanda Chavarria Gonzalez, MD

OMI MEX fellow from Ecuador

Attending the seminar on pediatric infectious diseases has been a transformative experience for me. It was an eye-opening journey into the complexities of infectious illnesses affecting children. I particularly enjoyed the lecture “Immunology: A Primer” by Dr. Bassiri, and all topics related with immunology, which I had little information about before.
Vivian Ponce, MD

OMI MEX fellow from Colombia

As we conclude the seminar, we extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Paul J. Planet and all the faculty members for their invaluable contributions. Their dedication to advancing pediatric infectious diseases and their commitment to fostering a collaborative learning environment have left an indelible mark on all fellows.

Finally, as we approach the end of our CHOP seminar series in Mexico, we look forward to continuing our journey of collaboration, building on the solid foundation laid by these exceptional seminars.