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Our Current Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellows


Infectious Disease Current Fellows


3rd Year Fellows

M Edzards

Michael Edzards 
Originally from the Midwest, my wife and I have transitioned smoothly to D.C. I don’t yet know what direction I’m headed within Infectious Disease, but I have always been well supported by the faculty/co-fellows at CNHS. The variety of infectious diseases that we encounter has exceeded my expectations thanks in part to the many international travelers we have the opportunity to treat. I have loved living in the city and taking advantage of the bevy of restaurants in the area. A favorite D.C. moment: sitting in on a Supreme Court oral argument. Favorite infectious organism: what do you have?

N Rister

Nicholas Rister 
Living in D.C. has been one of the most rewarding and entertaining times of my life. Coming from Southeast Virginia, I had gotten to know the city many times but living here has been an explosion of opportunities and new experiences. It seems like every day brings a novel restaurant, concert or festival. My work at both Children’s National and the FDA has been fascinating and the fellowship extremely welcoming. It feels like I have a whole family at work that have not been shy about getting to know me and making sure we experience everything D.C. has to offer. From learning more about a diverse international patient population to exploring the entire DMV region, I can’t wait to see what the fellowship brings.

R Zhang

Rachel Zhang
I hail from the great Garden State (no Jersey jokes around me!), but lived most of my life in New York City before coming down to D.C. I enjoy snacking (hint: come work with me when I’m on service and you’ll be well fed), traveling on credit card points, going to operas and musicals and strolling through museums. My ID interests include esoteric pathogens, weird rashes and the latest technology down in the micro lab. As a hardcore coffee addict, my favorite organism has to be Pseudomonas putida, a bacterium that can survive on the metabolism of pure caffeine.

2nd Year Fellows

M BozellaMichael Bozzella
I'm originally from the Boston area, and have spent most of my life in the north east between undergrad in western New York, medical school in Maine and residency in Boston. I'm excited to be here in D.C. for this next life chapter, and be immersed in all things infectious. I'm looking forward to getting to know a new city and exploring its museums, restaurants and theaters. I have a particular interest in medical education and its use in promoting antimicrobial stewardship, and I have been known to get way too excited by purulence and febrile travelers. While I normally love a good virus, one of my current favorite organisms is Rickettsia rickettsii (just another prime example of how nature is out to get us).

A YountsAlexandra Yonts
I was born a Buckeye, raised a Husker and most recently lived in the sunny land of Northern California, so I am excited to be back in B1G 10 country (Go Big Red!) and in a place where people actually get excited about sports. Other than spectating at athletic events, I also enjoy exploring the DMV via my tastebuds, cooking, baking, going to concerts, painting, hiking and skiing. As a CBER FDA fellow, I am looking forward to broadening my skill set and learning about the very different world of clinical vaccine trials and the processes involved in getting them to market. I’m also excited and honored to continue to work with sick children and their families, and to participate in the fascinating medical detective work that is Pediatric Infectious Disease every day! As the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, I would have to say my favorite infectious organism is Mycobacterium bovis or anything else that can be found in unpasteurized milk.

1st Year Fellows

Mark Connelly

Mark Connelly
I was born in Maryland and raised as a Terrapin before medical school and residency introduced me to the land of the Tar Heels. After my time there, my family and I moved back to D.C. where I first completed a fellowship in pediatric critical care before starting my ID fellowship. I am very interested in learning more about severe viral infections and how the immune system handles them. I am a beach bum at heart and would spend all day in the water if I could, so I would have to choose Vibrio vulnificus as my spirit microorganism.

Sefi Hefter

Sefi Hefter
I come from the New York City area where I've been most of my life until venturing "down south" (it’s all relative!) for fellowship, and I am already loving the D.C. area. When I'm not working, you'll find me spending time with family and friends, cooking and reading. I also love some good trivia! Nothing relaxes me like a crossword puzzle or watching Jeopardy! at the end of a long day. Favorite infection for $800: What is EBV? EBV, its range of presentations, and the effects on the immune system fascinate me. But I must admit, playing favorites is hard for me. I love all of ID! I am also so excited to learn about and participate in the vaccine approval process as an FDA CBER fellow.

Gillian Taormina

Gillian Taormina
I’m from New York and completed my education and pediatrics training in various parts of the state, until now! I enjoy going to concerts, baseball games, movies, museums and trying new restaurants/breweries. I’m excited to immerse myself in the world of ID and the work at FDA/CDER, and to be surrounded by people who get equally excited about cultures, susceptibilities, and antibiotic stewardship. While I try not to play favorites (yet), I’m partial to Aspergillus because a microbiology Ph.D. friend somehow turned that into a nickname for me.

What Are Our Recent Graduates Up To?

What Are Our Recent Graduates Up To?

Since 2007, 14 physicians have completed our pediatric infectious diseases fellowship training program and gone on to a variety of activities. Currently, 5 are in traditional academic practice (clinical, education, research), 1 is in an academic practice but doing little research, and 1 is in a purely clinical practice without research or education duties. The remaining 7 have landed in perhaps less common but very challenging infectious diseases venues: 3 are based with the FDA, 2 are providing clinical infectious diseases services in underserved countries, 1 is with the CDC, and 1 is doing bench research with no clinical duties.

Quotes From Our Fellows and Alumni

Quotes From Our Fellows and Alumni

“D.C. is a cool city. It has a bit of everything; history, architecture, food, art, culture, politics, you name it. It also makes an interesting place to work. We have a fun group with lots of fellows and engaging faculty and staff. There is always the potential of a rural, urban and/or exotic differential being on your list of patients to see daily. We see and do a lot, but never feel overwhelmed!” –Dr. Amol Purandare, Current Fellow

“My experiences at Children’s National Health System and the FDA have prepared me well for my new position. Children’s National provided me with a strong clinical background and the FDA a strong understanding of clinical trials and regulatory science.” -Dr. George Dubrocq, Alumnus 2017

“Looking back on my training, CNHS/FDA was the perfect combination for me. I saw a tremendous volume of patients presenting with both common and uncommon infectious diseases and learned from amazing attendings on the wards and in the microbiology lab. Through my time in the FDA CDER track, I developed an understanding of drug development, clinical trials and labeling that has proven invaluable in my interactions with patients and in my pursuit of scholarly activity.” -Dr. Kimberly Martin, Alumna 2015

“During residency I became interested in pediatric HIV and international health. Out of residency, I worked for the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative in Malawi, and thereafter decided to pursue a Peds ID fellowship at CNHS because I knew it would offer me the opportunity to continue to pursue my interests in HIV, tropical medicine and international health but more importantly would give me the tools to become an effective clinician and independent physician scientist.

My primary scholarly research was completed at the FDA with a focus on evaluating safety and effectiveness of new vaccines.  In addition, the fellowship offered me the opportunity to conduct investigator-initiated clinical research projects and I took courses in epidemiology and biostatistics in the school of public health at GWU. The support and academic experience at CNHS were optimal to pursue a career as a physician scientist.

After fellowship, I accepted a faculty position at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital/CWRU School of Medicine.  In September 2016, I was awarded a K23 Mentored Career Development Award from the NIH to study the relationship of cardiovascular health and inflammation in children infected with HIV in Uganda.

The Peds ID fellowship at CNMC offered me the mentorship and environment to enable me to purse my research career and work towards achieving my long-term career objective and become a pediatric clinical research with international expertise in metabolic and cardiovascular complications of HIV.” – Dr. Sahera Fargo, Alumna 2013