Division of Infectious Diseases

New Staff Spotlight

Please join us in welcoming Phil Chung, an Infectious Diseases pharmacist, to the Division of Infectious Diseases. Phil will serve as a pharmacist supporting the Community Outreach Pharmacy Coordinator for the Nebraska Antimicrobial Stewardship Assessment and Promotion Program (ASAP).

Tell us about your background:

Phil is originally from Hong Kong and en route to us here in Omaha he has live in several locations around the country including Brooklyn, NY; Lexington, KY; Cleveland, OH and most recently, Bronx, NY.


I was attracted to UNMC by the progressive nature of pharmacy practice in this institution.  Secondly, my current position as a community outreach Antimicrobial Stewardship pharmacist for long-term care facilities and critical access hospitals is an exciting opportunity and relatively new avenue for ASP.

What about ID makes you excited?

There is a third party (the bug) in ID that needs to kept in considerations.  Because of that, sometimes a little more thinking is required.

Tell us something interesting about yourself UNRELATED to medicine:

I have 2 cats. They are both great but both have issues (one with hairball issue and the other is overweight).

See more about the UNMC ID and ASP programs at: https://www.unmc.edu/intmed/divisions/id/index.html and http://www.nebraskamed.com/careers/education-programs/asp

SO Much to Celebrate!! Presentations, St. Patrick’s Day and MATCH DAY!!!

Today is a HUGE day! It is MATCH day and we are celebrating the many successes of our students. We may or may not also partake in some GREEN-inspired treats for St. Patrick’s Day as we celebrate!
Here at UNMC we have a Comprehensive HIV Medicine Track as one of the competitive Enhanced Medical Education Tracks (EMET) offered through the College of Medicine. Students apply for these tracks during their first year of medical school and, if accepted, are given the opportunity to perform in-depth study of an interdisciplinary field of medicine that enhances the required curriculum without extending the time needed to graduate from medical school.
Yesterday we had THREE fourth year student present their capstone projects (see below) and we are very proud of them. What an amazing week that is full of excitement and celebrations! Congratulations to Sarah Lee, Jordan Broekhuis and Andrew Braith on your presentations and we wish you nothing but the best today!
Learn more about EMET tracks at: https://www.unmc.edu/com/curriculum/special-programs/emet.html

Dr. Vanschooneveld on “Why I Love ID”


“I love ID for four reasons.  First, is I actually can cure people of their disease.  Second, I get to solve puzzles that others can’t.  Third, in my roles in antibiotic stewardship and infection control I get to improve patient care and prevent infection in whole groups of people.  Finally, I love the opportunity to teach trainees and other clinicians about how to manage various infections.”

– Trevor Vanschooneveld, MD, FACP


See more about Dr. Vanschooneveld and the UNMC Infectious Disease Division at https://www.unmc.edu/intmed/divisions/id/index.html

Appropriate Work Attire???

Some days, you never know WHAT you will need to wear to work here! From Ebola to MERS and other new or emerging infectious diseases, we are ready!

  • Drs. Smith and Hewlett geared up in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit

Learn more about the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit here : http://www.nebraskamed.com/biocontainment-unit

UNMC ID had a strong presence at CROI – Read on for details!!

The UNMC HIV team traveled to Seattle to attend CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections) last month and came back inspired and eager to continue our clinical and research endeavors here in Omaha.

Dr. Susan Buchbinder, chair of the Scientific Program Committee opened the conference with a warm welcome to all conference attendees hailing from over 90 different countries. The opening and plenary lectures were all dynamic and topics ranged from the work done in HIV prevention using nonhuman primate models by Jeffrey Lifson to the innovative efforts to eliminate new HIV infections in New York City by the inimitable Dr. Demetre Daskalakis. The oral presentations can be found here.

We learned that the number of new HIV infections in the United States is finally beginning to decline thanks in large part to treatment as prevention and PrEP and heard about many new and investigational therapies.  Research presentations covered a wide range of topics and UNMC’s HIV team presented a number of studies in the areas of pharmacology, PrEP, comorbidities, and TB.

  • Jordan Broekhuis, a 4th year medical student and participant in the HIV Enhanced Medical Education Track at UNMC presented his findings from a survey study of pharmacists in Nebraska and Iowa in which he found that although respondents had limited knowledge and experience with PrEP, most indicated willingness to provide PrEP through collaborative practice agreements after additional training.  See photo above.
  • Anthony Podany, Pharm.D. and Assistant Professor in the College of Pharmacy presented data from a PK study of plasma and intracellular tenofovir levels in patients switched from TDF to TAF.
  • Sara H. Bares, MD and Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases presented findings from a pooled study of 3 ACTG trials in which her team found that women gain more weight than men following the initiation of ART.
  • Kim Scarsi, Pharm.D. and Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy was a coauthor and mentor on the first two studies listed above and also presented a poster on her work on an in vitro-in silico study of reduced dose efavirenz interaction with levonorgesterol.
  • Susan Swindells, MBBS, Professor of Medicine and Medical Director of the UNMC HIV Clinic, was a coauthor and mentor for the first two studies listed above and also presented two studies she has contributed to as a leader in the ACTG’s Tuberculosis Transformative Science Group. The first poster related to HIV testing uptake among household contacts of MDR-TB index cases in 8 countries and the second poster reported on the early bactericidal effect of INH during the first 14 days of TB therapy.


We are glad to be back home in Omaha but inspired to continue our research endeavors both locally and in collaboration with many of the people we connected with at CROI 2017.

Written by Dr. Sara Bares.