New immunocompromised host ID service at UNC Hospitals

With two new faculty hires, the new service will provide specialized care to immunocompromised patients with unusual infections that require special expertise.

New immunocompromised host ID service at UNC Hospitals click to enlarge David van Duin, MD, PhD
New immunocompromised host ID service at UNC Hospitals click to enlarge Pearlie Chong, MD

UNC Hospitals has begun a new clinical service specializing in support for patients with cancer, bone marrow transplants, burns, and solid organ transplants. The service provides specialized care to immunocompromised patients who often have unusual infections that require specific expertise.

“Immunocompromised patients don’t have fully functioning immune systems. It’s very difficult to diagnose and treat these patients, and often they require toxic medications with a lot of side effects,” explained Dr. Charles van der Horst, a UNC physician and professor of medicine who led the search committee to staff the new service.

The service will primarily see patients admitted to the hospital, but also will provide outpatient services to patients who have already received solid organ or bone marrow transplants or need to be screened before receiving transplants.

UNC also has the only burn care unit in the state, and many burn patients will benefit from this service.

After a comprehensive and competitive national recruitment process, two physicians have been recruited to lead the new service, infectious disease specialists David van Duin, MD, PhD, and Pearlie Chong, MD, will work with a team of nurses, pharmacists, oncologists, and other specialists to treat infections in immunocompromised patients.

“We could not be more excited about this new service along with the new clinical research and teaching benefits for our patients, students and faculty,” said Myron Cohen, MD, who is chief of the division of infectious diseases and director of the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.

Dr. van Duin was previously an attending physician at the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio) with their transplant ID service. Pearlie Chong, MD, completed an ID fellowship at Georgetown, followed by a transplant ID fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Both physicians have undergone extensive training in the treatment of infections in immunocompromised hosts.