Division Feature, Infectious Disease

Led by interim chief, Shirley Delair, MD, MPH, the Infectious Disease division has many celebrations and accomplishments to share with the Department of Pediatrics.

Stephen Obaro, MD, PhD is the Director of Pediatric International Research and co-founder, trustee and director of the International Foundation Against Infectious Disease in Nigeria (IFAIN), an affiliate of UNMC, which currently manages nine active projects in Nigeria and Rwanda. Within the past year, IFAIN has joined a consortium led by DAI Global LLC to implement the first Fleming Fund Country Grant to Nigeria; One Health approach to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and antimicrobial use (AMU) surveillance project. Dr. Obaro and his team are also working with the Nebraska Food for Health Center at the University of Nebraska on The Gut Microbiome and risk of Enteric Bacteremia in Children. Dr. Obaro was awarded, along with collaborators from UNO, UNL and UNMC, a planning grant through the NU Collaboration Initiative titled University of Nebraska One Health Research Initiative in Rwanda: Platform Development.

Alice Sato, MD, PhD, is the newest faculty member in our division who started on January 2, 2020. Dr. Sato leads our Infection Prevention team, she joined the team just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic! Dr. Sato is collaborating with Jean Ballweg, MD, pediatric cardiology, to develop a follow-up program to monitor children diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, to better understand the natural history of this new disease. Dr. Sato was co-presenter for a COVID-19 lecture in the National Society for Hospital Medicine Webinar series. Finally, Dr. Sato is part of the newly established COVID-19 Course Planning Workgroup to develop resources for schools (including for school nurses) as part of a grant awarded to the Nebraska Department of Education and administered through Children’s. Within her short tenure, Dr. Sato has already proven to be an invaluable member of the Infectious Disease team.

Gwenn Skar, MD, was awarded the prestigious NIH K08 to research The role of complement in cerebral spinal fluid shunt infections. We are very proud of her hard work and accomplishments!

Andrea Green Hines, MD, is the medical director of Children's Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. Dr. Green Hines has successfully worked with several hospital committees on antimicrobial initiatives to improve patient care and safety across the organization. She will be promoted to associate professor of Pediatrics as of July 1, 2020. Congratulations, Dr. Green Hines!

Kari Neemann, MD, will be leading the new Pediatric Transplant ID and Immunocompromised section in our division as we work towards providing a dedicated service in early 2021 due to an increasing number of more complex patients. Dr. Neemann is also the principal investigator (PI) at UNMC and Children’s for a multi-centered Gilead study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and PK of remdesivir in children <18 with COVID-19. This is an important and needed study for children and we are proud that our institution was chosen as a site and Dr. Neemann as the PI.

Shirley Delair, MD, MPH, is the interim chief of the division since October 2019. Dr. Delair was awarded a 2-year Faculty Diversity Fund Grant for a project to leverage UNMC affiliated pre-health programs to increase underrepresented minority student recruitment and retention at the college of medicine. The grant will fund the development of pre-health program metrics platform to establish baseline measures, identify opportunities for improvement and monitor success over time.

Congratulations to all on their accomplishments and thank you for your continued dedication!