Pediatrician-Researcher Named to Prestigious Institute of Medicine

October 29, 2002

Caroline Hall, M.D., a pediatrician, researcher, and teacher at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, is a newly elected member of the National Academy of Sciences’ prestigious Institute of Medicine.

Known throughout the world for her work studying viral diseases in children, Hall is the third member of Golisano Children’s Hospital ever to be selected to the Institute of Medicine. With less than 70 people worldwide selected to join the organization this year, inclusion in the Institute is one of the highest honors in the medical profession. Active members elect new members based upon their major contributions to health and medicine, or to related fields such as social and behavioral sciences, law, and economics.

“Few people are more deserving of this honor than Caroline Hall,” says Elizabeth McAnarney, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital, and a 2000 inductee into the Institute of Medicine. “Dr. Hall has improved the lives of children, trainees, and colleagues with her devotion to science, clinical care, and teaching. Whether caring for patients, working in the laboratory, or instructing young doctors, Dr. Hall demonstrates her steadfast commitment to all she does at the highest level.”

Hall, of Brighton, specializes in infectious disease at Golisano Children’s Hospital. She is particularly interested in viral diseases in children, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza.

“RSV, a virus we all get as children, causes epidemics of pneumonia and wheezing each year in young children, some of whom have to be hospitalized,” Hall says. “For many years, we have studied the virus to determine why it causes such severe infection in infants - although they possess some immunity from their mothers - and why some people continue to get a less-severe form of the virus in adulthood. Several RSV vaccines have been developed, but haven’t been successful in initial trials. A number of vaccines using newer techniques are being examined, which may be useful for individual groups of high risk children or even high risk adults.”

Hall is also interested in another virus found in children. That virus, human herpes virus 6, is the cause of roseola, a common childhood disease. “We have shown that this virus is acquired by essentially all children early in life, and it causes many more manifestations than just roseola,” Hall says. “It has the ability to persist secretly and without overt clinical effect for many years, even into adulthood. The mechanisms and diseases associated with this virus and its newer sibling, human herpes virus 7, are unclear, but are an area of great fascination for us. The more we learn about the manifestations of these common infections, the more likely we are to be able to develop an approach for control that is feasible and safe.”

Election to the Institute of Medicine is both an honor and an obligation to work on behalf of the organization in its governance and studies. Members such as Hall commit to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of committees. They engage in a broad range of studies on health policy issues, such as reviewing the current state of knowledge and policy regarding microbial threats to health; assessing protections afforded to human participants in research studies; and examining the long-term results of cancer treatment and survival.

Hall is married to William J. Hall, M.D., who practices internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and last year served as president of the American College of Physicians. The Halls have three children, a daughter who is a lawyer, another daughter who is a nationally recognized tri-athlete, and a son who is in fellowship studying cardiology and internal medicine at University of Michigan.

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