Infectious Disease

Hooked on ID with Angela Hewlett, MD, MS

September 23, 2022

2 min read

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I was a college student at University of Texas in the mid-90s, when the book The Hot Zone by Richard Preston was released.

After reading this book, I was so riveted by the concept of battling hot viruses that I registered for a human infectious diseases class the next semester, and I read multiple other books focused on ID and biopreparedness. From that point on, I was truly and unabashedly hooked on ID.

Angela Hewlett, MD, MS
Angela Hewlett

I entered medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) with plans to become an ID doctor. In fact, one of the faculty affectionately called me the “embryonic ID fellow” when I was a medical student because I declared an interest in ID so early in my medical education. I was fortunate to work with ID physicians on my clinical rotations and benefited immensely from the mentorship of several amazing ID faculty members at UTMB, who truly guided and influenced my career path. I completed an ID fellowship, as well as a research fellowship and a master’s degree to prepare myself for a career in academia. After my fellowship, I was offered the opportunity to start a clinical program in orthopedic infectious diseases as well as pursue my interest in biopreparedness and biocontainment, which led me from my home state of Texas to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).

I currently serve as the director of the UNMC orthopedic ID team, as well as the medical director of the Nebraska biocontainment unit. I have cared for patients with Ebola virus disease, the initial COVID-19 patients from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and, most recently, patients with monkeypox. I also enjoy working closely with the orthopedic surgeons to manage patients with complicated bone and joint infections and am a past-president of the MusculoSkeletal Infection Society. My job as an academic ID physician is multifaceted, and I love being a clinician, teacher, researcher and now a mentor to others in order to pay it forward for the mentorship that I have been privileged to receive both during training at UTMB and in my current position at UNMC.

I can honestly say that being an ID doctor is always challenging and exciting, and I can’t imagine another field of medicine that provides the same breadth of experiences and opportunities that I have found in ID.

Reading The Hot Zone as a college student set me on the path to my career in ID, which currently involves many aspects of biopreparedness and the care of patients with highly hazardous communicable diseases, so I guess you could say I’ve come full circle. I am so truly grateful that I have the opportunity to work with an amazing group of ID colleagues in a career that I enjoy every single day, and that I am able to share my experiences and my love of ID with others.

— Angela Hewlett, MD, MS
Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases
University of Nebraska Medical Center

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Hooked on ID

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