Good morning. I’m Dr. Jeff Kingsley here with Dr. Iris Basilio, a pediatrician at Uptown Pediatrics in Columbus, Georgia.
Dr. Basilio, talk to me about how you got into health care in general and how you decided to become a pediatrician.
I always had an interest in medicine or basic science and just continued to follow that track through college with premed. It also helped that my mom is a physician and I was exposed early on to a life of medicine. She’s a pediatrician and during medical school, I had an interest in women’s health and children’s health, but in the end chose pediatric medicine. Once I finished, I joined her practice.
What excites you about pediatrics?
I do like that the patients are usually at least smaller than me. I like the continuity, following them birth to early adult hood.
And with kids you end up seeing them more routinely than you do a 20 year old who comes once every 10 years to see a doctor when they’ve lost their leg.
Yes, so you build that connection with the family and the patient. I just really enjoy that.
One of the things that we talked about already this morning was that there’s not enough pediatric research. Talk to me about what that means to you. Why isn’t there enough pediatric research? What are the issues?
I think a lot of the issues are with parents. It’s their child and they’re always gonna protect their children. So with research, they’re always concerned if they using their child as a test and their fear of any side effects of any medications or vaccinations, especially when things aren’t known. So they’re really worried about using their child as a test.
Why do we need pediatric research?
Well, it’s very important because a lot of medications that we know that may help adults may also help children, but dosages may be different. There are so many things we don’t know in pediatrics that in order to determine the need or benefit, we can’t extrapolate adult medicines and trials to pediatrics. Children are just very different.
I remember years ago when some of the antivirals first came out for flu and I was doing ER shift and I had an infant come in who was flu positive. I got an infectious disease doctor on the phone and asked, “What do you think?” And he felt that I should start this kid on the antiviral, but he just made up the dose. And that’s not science.
As I trained, there always what we always called off-label uses. In pediatrics, almost everything sometimes is off-label use. We really need the clinical trials to know.
Off label is when there’s no scientific evidence to support it. If you’ve done an actual rigorous research trial, then on-labeled is what FDA approves and says, “This is known.” Everything outside of that is called off-label. In obstetrics, there’s an actual book that people reference to find out what’s Category A, what’s Category B, what’s Category C findings? Is there anything like that in pediatrics?
There is not. We usually look to the specialists. Especially as a general pediatrician, if there is something, we look to the specialist as they’re more experienced with certain medications that we may not be familiar with.
Why are you getting involved in research now?
In the past as a resident, research was really in training more for Fellows. So after people finished their pediatric training, if they wanted to go onto a sub-specialty, research was really focused for the Fellowships. But there are so many medications and studies that I think that would benefit general pediatrics. In my practice, the fact that a lot of the administrative burden that can be cumbersome, has improved with just even your facility. And so when you called me, I thought it was a great opportunity.
Any particular area of pediatrics where you feel it’s really vital that we have some research?
I think dermatology and immunizations. For instance, I had a mom with molluscum virus, which is a common viral rash that we see. She has two children that she’s been battling with it for months and she told me one day that if there was a vaccine for molluscum that she would do it because it’s been so frustrating for her. Just something simple that we usually reassure will eventually go away, which it will. But in some families, it is very frustrating.
Thanks for riding along!
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