Media Contacts

Melinda Rogers

Communications Specialist, University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs

Jun 27, 2014 10:26 AM

Carrie Byington, M.D.
Carrie Byington, M.D.

University of Utah pediatrician Carrie L. Byington, M.D., has no shortage of interesting challenges to keep her on her toes.  A highly regarded clinician, researcher, teacher and mentor, Byington serves as associate vice president for faculty and academic affairs for the U.’s health sciences campus.

Soon, she’ll throw another new assignment into the mix: on July 1, she becomes Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, also known as the Red Book Committee. It’s a position that will give her a unique opportunity to continue work on pressing issues related to infectious diseases worldwide —a topic of intense interest in many areas that grapple with vaccine hesitancy from some people.

She explains more about her new role in a Q&A:

Q:  Congratulations on your new appointment with the Red Book Committee.  For those unfamiliar with the committee’s work, how would you describe it?

A:  The Red Book Committee ( celebrated its 75th anniversary recently. The Committee monitors developments in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases and reports these to the 62,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics. We prepare all policies related to pediatric infectious diseases, vaccines, and produce the Red Book —widely considered the best source of the most clinically useful findings on the manifestations, etiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of more than 200 childhood infectious diseases.

Q:  Why are you excited about this appointment?

A: The Red Book is one of the most important resources for pediatric providers. The book is translated into six languages and is used all over the world. One goal I have over the next four years is to have the Red Book translated into Mandarin, to further extend the reach of the important information the book provides. The policy statements and the Red Book lead to better care for children. Participating on the Committee on Infectious Diseases is one way for me to make a difference for children including those I will never meet.
Q:  You are taking this leadership position at a time with unique challenges related to pediatric infectious diseases. What’s at stake right now and how might the work you do with Red Book make a difference?

A: Two of the most important issues we face in infectious diseases in the U.S. are vaccine hesitancy and antimicrobial resistance. Vaccines and antibiotics are two of the most important public health achievements of the 20th century and have improved the health and longevity of millions. In the 21st century, we risk losing these gains. Working with the Committee on Infectious Diseases is one way I can help to craft national policies and create resources for pediatricians and for families that safeguard the health of children.