How KD Chose Me as a Career Path?
I came to Kawasaki disease in a rather circuitous fashion. By the time that the fascinating world of KD research found me, I had completed medical school at UCLA, pediatric residency training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and pediatric infectious disease training at the University of California, San Diego. I had even had a year of pediatric pharmacology training and was finishing up a Master in Clinical Research as I was passionate about finding the right dosing of medications in children and a new treatment for infections such as HIV.
What I didn’t realize was that I would find myself well-trained but searching for a puzzle to solve and that KD would be that puzzle.
After much soul-searching, a senior colleague and mentor of mine said, “I know who should talk to,” and without even asking, he dialed Dr. Jane Burns’ office number. She answered, and within moments she was pitching a clinical trial of Infliximab in KD patients that she had been wanting to design and launch. From a world of infectious diseases where I had chosen a career based on the certainty of picking an antibiotic therapy based on the infection we could see on a plate in the microbiology lab, I dove into a world of uncertainty with KD. An unknown cause, an increasing number of cases, a rising rate of resistance to therapy, lack of a diagnostic test, only one proven treatment…I should have questioned my decision, but instead, I jumped in wholeheartedly and have not looked back since.
I’m blessed every day by the families I get to meet, by the team members with whom I work and by the colleagues I have met in a variety of fields around the world. As I say often, I look forward to the day when we figure out the cause(s) of KD and eradicate it. I’ll be happy to find another calling then. Until then though, I’ll be here.