Caitlin Hansen, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, says she enjoys the daily detective work that goes into her job.
“We gather our information from talking with the patient, with their family, and with other doctors taking care of the child,” Dr. Hansen explains. “Then we’ll do our exam, go to radiology, and the microbiology lab. We take all of that information, suggest additional tests, and then come up with a diagnosis. It’s putting puzzle pieces together, and then coming up with a solid treatment plan.”
Dr. Hansen says she also finds it gratifying to take care of the greater public—many of the conditions she diagnoses and treats can be contagious and spread to other people.
Her research focuses on vaccines recommended for adolescents, including the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. “I’m interested in learning how we can give parents and pediatricians the tools to promote greater uptake of vaccines like this, which can prevent more disease,” Dr. Hansen says. “I am studying how we can use the time during an office visit to more efficiently and effectively address questions parents have.”
Dr. Hansen is an associate research scientist at Yale School of Medicine.