The mission of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine is to be an internationally outstanding academic center. Our faculty members conduct research, analyze policy, deliver clinical care, and provide specialized training to healthcare providers locally, nationally and internationally. Our goal is to be a resource for infectious disease identification, prevention and treatment issues, including bioterrorism and the emergence of new pathogens.
Kami Kim, MD, FACP Szentivanyi Professor of Medicine Director
Charurut Somboonwit, MD, FACP Professor of Medicine Associate Director of Operations
We congratulate ID researcher, Elena Suvorova, PhD, who was recently awarded her first NIH-NIAID funded R01 grant. Dr. Suvorova specializes in molecular parasitology, primarily working with apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. T. gondii is an important human pathogen that causes life-long infection in millions of people. It presents a severe threat to people with immune deficiencies and unborn babies of infected mothers. This NIH funded study, “Cyclin mediated control of Toxoplasma development,” will examine how T. gondii maintains a balance between replication and development into dormant forms that evade host immunity. Particular focus will be placed on central mechanisms that regulate the transition from proliferative tachyzoite to latent bradyzoite state of the parasite responsible for currently incurable chronic toxoplasmosis.
Beginning March 30, 2020, the USF Department of Internal Medicine teamed up with the Division of Infectious Disease and the Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough to create the COVID-19 Confirmed Follow Up Clinic (COCO), a network of healthcare providers to provide ambulatory care for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. The program offers patients the option of home management of the virus to prevent hospitalization or re-admission to the hospital. Dr. Asa Oxner, Vice Chair for the Department of Internal Medicine and Dr. Elimarys Perez-Colon, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics are co-directors of the project.
This network of providers uses telehealth visits to assess, monitor and treat patients for COVID-19. During video visits, patients receive full medical assessment, including prescription of necessary medications, and in some cases are provided pulse oximeters to closely track their heart rate and oxygen levels. The team continues to monitor the patient’s vitals throughout the course of the disease. For the sickest patients, in-person care may be arranged at an isolation clinic with trained staff and USF physicians.
The COCO program encompasses not only the clinical care of the patient, but provides connections with home care companies, behavioral health clinicians and other resources for social support. If interested, patients may also be referred to clinical trials and participate in research.
As of today our physicians in the COCO network have cared for over 750 COVID-19 positive patients, with more than 550 patients being “cleared” of the virus. The program continues to get an average of 20 new referrals and 20 follow up visits per day.
To support this and other USF efforts in COVID-19 response, please click here.
To schedule an appointment to get tested for COVID-19, link to care with us if you have already tested positive, or to see if you are eligible for one of our clinical trials: call 813-974-7616. You will need to register with USF Health and sign new patient forms electronically.
Each year, the Division of Infectious Disease and Inter-national Medicine presents a graduating medical student with the Philip T. Gompf Award for Excellence in Infectious Diseases. This memorial award is supported by the USF Foundation and named after the son of ID faculty member, Dr. Sandra Gompf in honor of her son who lost his fight against amoebic encephalitis in 2009.
This year's recipient, Dr. Attiya Harit was presented this award for her commitment to her academic career and
her compassion to help the underserved. Her research includes being a PI on two projects at Kasturba Medical Hospital Manipal, Karnataka, India. Most notably, a project on the correlation between fluorescence in stiu hybridization (FISH) and immuno-histochemistry – the (IHC) analysis for HER2/Neu status. She was also Co-Investigator for the project “Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Influenza Vaccination Among Healthcare Professionals” in India. As a SELECT student, she also worked on the team-based research project- Improving Patient Nasal Rise Comprehension and Compliance with Instruction Cards for Chronic Sinusitis and Post-Endoscopic Surgery Care: Otolaryngology Department, USF Health. She volunteered with Tampa Bay Street Medicine and Project World Health at USF and was president of the Internal Medicine Interest Group.
Dr. Harit will be doing her Internal Medicine Residency at George Washington University and has chosen the public health and underserved concentration there.
We welcome Dr. Anthony Cannella as a new Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine. Dr. Cannella is a USF alumnus, graduating from the USF Morsani College of Medicine in 2006. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2009 where he received awards for both his research as well as teaching. He then completed both a clinical ID fellowship (2011) and a post-doctoral ID fellowship (2013) at the University of California, San Diego; there he obtained an NIH Diversity Award which funded him for two years on his adaptive immunology research of Brucella melitensis. In 2013 he became faculty at UCSD and was awarded an NIH (NIAID) K08 grant to study the innate and adaptive T cell responses of Plasmodium falciparum.
He was recruited to the University of Florida College of Medicine (2014) to work at the Emerging Pathogens Institute; there he authored senior authored manuscripts, received accolades for both teaching and mentoring as well as having the opportunity to be part of the UFCOM medical admissions process. He also started the UF Travel Clinic, Non-tuberculous mycobacteria clinic, worked in hospital epidemiology for both UF Health and the Malcolm Randall VAMC as well as starting the UF Outpatient Parental Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) program.
Dr. Cannella has now returned home to where he first learned medicine and will be part of the Hospital Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs at the James A. Haley VAMC, as well as joining the Moffitt Cancer Center ID team. In his spare time, he enjoys boxing, culinary arts and spending time with his wife and two young sons.
The Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) study was recently funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and will be led by the Duke Clinical Research Institute in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The study will focus on the healthcare workers who are at high risk of contracting this novel coronavirus. It will engage healthcare workers across the nation to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their health and to evaluate whether or not hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19 infections.
USF Infectious Disease doctors Kami Kim, MD and Seetha Lakshmi, MD have worked closely with Tampa General Hospital (TGH) administrators and the OneFlorida consortium to submit their proposal for participation in this important study. As a result of their hard work, TGH has been selected as one of 16 prominent healthcare facilities across the country to participate in the study. Dr. Lakshmi will act as lead investigator for the TGH site.
Click here to learn more about this study.
Dr. Baluch was selected 2019 Charles C. Williams Jr., MD Physician of the Year at the Moffitt Cancer Center annual Faculty Recognition and Award Ceremony held on February 11, 2020.
USF’s Infectious Diseases fellows and faculty were well-represented at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s annual IDWeek held in Washington, D.C., October 2 -6, 2019. IDWeek is the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medical Association (HIVMA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS).
This year the ID Division was collectively responsible for a division record 14 posters that were accepted for presentation. Many faculty, fellows, and medical students were fortunate to attend the conference to present their work as well as attend the daily lecture series, and network with colleagues from across the nation.
From Left to Right: Dr. Andrew Nguyen (bottom), Dr. Carlos Perez, Dr. Aliyah Baluch, Dr. Beata Casanas, Dr. Ju Hee Katzman, Dr. Vidhya Sabapathy, Dr. Sarah Shewayish, and Dr. Greg Teo.
From Left to Right: Dr. Minh Ho, Dr. Beata Casanas, Dr. Sadaf Aslam, Dr. Sarah Shewayish, Dr. Ju Hee Katzman, Dr. Amanda Mercurio, Dr. Cristina Garcia, Dr. Andrew Nguyen, Dr. Carlos Perez, Dr. Shuchi Pandya, and Dr. Flor Sanchez.
From Left to Right: Dr. Sadaf Aslam, Dr. Kullatham Kongpakpaisarn, and Dr. Charurut Somboonwit
Dr. Vidhya Sabathy and Dr. Ju Hee Katzman
Tampa, FL, October 22nd – USF Health’s IDPodcasts Youtube Channel, a production of the Division of Infectious Diseases of the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, announced in October 2019 that it has reached its one millionth lifetime view milestone. Although this number is modest in comparison to top 100 YouTube channel rankings with millions of subscribers, IDPodcasts’ subscriber base is #1 among all YouTube Channels belonging to the University of South Florida or its medical affiliates. IDPodcast’s YouTube channel first went online on January 13, 2012, and now has almost 7,000 subscribers.
Click here to read full article.
COVID-19 Research & Response Fund
1 Tampa General Circle Rm G323
Tampa, FL 33606