Kawasaki Disease Nationwide Researchers
So really KD came and got me. I had no choice. Here was a new disease, a mystery waiting to be solved. I was a smart, young person. This was an amazing opportunity to find the missing pieces of the puzzle. So I jumped in….that was almost 40 years ago. And still, the journey continues…
During my training, my mentor Dr. Shulman, who is very interested in Kawasaki disease and other heart infections, encouraged me to pursue investigations into its cause and how it affects the heart. Since completing my training, I have investigated the diagnosis, etiology, pathology immunology of Kawasaki disease. The parents, grandparents, and other family members of Kawasaki disease children who fervently desire to improve awareness, education, and research have inspired me to continue this work for the past several decades.
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 didn’t realize that I would find myself well-trained but searching for a puzzle to solve and that KD would be that puzzle.
I first became involved in caring for KD patients and their families in the early 80’s, before IVIG was an established therapy. At the time, I had recently completed my fellowship training in Pediatric Cardiology and completed a masters degree in biostatistics and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Because of this training, my department chairman, Dr. Alexander Nadas, asked me in 1982 to assume responsibility for children with KD at Boston Children’s Hospital. I had no idea at the time that this disease would become a lifelong mission for me. The 80’s were an exciting time for Kawasaki disease care and research in Boston.