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Care for the Smallest Patients Earns Carrie Byington a Spot in National Academy of Medicine

Carrie Byington, MD, the former Vice Dean of the School of Medicine Academic Affairs & Faculty Development and professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah Health whose world-class work as a clinician researcher in pediatric infectious disease, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Byington is currently the vice chancellor for health services, dean of the College of Medicine and senior vice president for the health science center at Texas A&M University, her alma mater.

Byington is among 70 new U.S. NAM members and 10 international members elected to the class of 2017 in recognition of their professional achievements and outstanding contributions to service. The academy comprises a diverse group of members from the fields of health and medicine; the natural, social and behavioral sciences; and beyond to advise national and international communities on medical issues and questions.

"Dr. Byington's dedication to helping others, whether our most vulnerable patients or a diverse pool of researchers, represents our best hope for the future of health care," says Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for University of Utah Health Sciences. "This honor is a testament to her dedication and contribution to research and science."

Byington has devoted her career to providing excellent care to underserved populations. She has focused her research on viral and bacterial infections in infants and children — particularly influenza and the bacteria that can lead to pneumonia and meningitis. She has developed new molecular diagnostic methods for the detection of respiratory pathogens, partnering with ARUP and BioFire Diagnostics.

Her expertise in infectious disease led to appointment as chair of the United States Olympic Committee's Infectious Disease Advisory Group. Under her leadership, the U.S. Olympic team and staff were monitored for Zika and other tropical diseases during 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The results of the study were presented recently at IDWeek, a national infectious disease conference held in San Diego.

"I'm honored and humbled to have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine," Byington said. "It is a privilege to serve the Academy and I look forward to collaborating with leading medical professionals in the country to improve the health of our nation."

Beyond her clinical work, Byington supported the next generation of medical professionals by developing innovative programs to support and mentor researchers at U of U Health. Over the years she has personally mentored more than 100 undergraduates, medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty, conducting clinical and translational research.

Byington is a national leader in pediatrics and infectious disease, receiving numerous career accomplishments including awards from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. She holds board certification and national recognition in both General Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Byington received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Texas A&M University in 1985 and Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in 1989, both with honors. She trained in pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital and in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco.

Byington is the sixth faculty from the University of Utah to have been elected to the NAM, joining inductees Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., and Mario Capecchi, Ph.D., Sun Wan Kim, Ph.D., Baldomero Olivera, Ph.D. and Wendy Chapman, Ph.D.