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Datta Honored With Dostanic Award

May 04, 2020
by Julie Parry

Rupak Datta, MD/PhD, MPH, clinical fellow/instructor (infectious diseases) has been named the 2020 Iva Dostanic, MD, PhD, Physician-Scientist Trainee Award honoree.

The Iva Dostanic, MD, PhD, Physician-Scientist Trainee Award and Lecture was established by the Department of Medicine to recognize a physician-scientist trainee whose passion for the science of medicine, intelligence, creativity, work ethic, and accomplishments exemplify the best of medical research and the physician scientist, the qualities that Dostanic displayed.

“To win this award is an incredible privilege. I am absolutely thrilled,” said Datta. “I know her story, and while it’s incredibly sad, it’s also inspiring. I share her same values for education and research, and her parents’ generous contribution to Yale is humbling.”

Datta first came to Yale in 2006 to study at the School of Public Health (YSPH). He returned to the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) in 2014 for his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in infectious diseases (ID) through the Yale Physician-Scientist Training Program.

Datta always had an interest in population health.

“The interaction between patients, pathogens, and the environment always intrigued me. I am particularly fascinated by the dynamic nature of these interactions,” explained Datta. “I also had incredible mentors who instilled in me the importance of human behavior. Our behavior impacts our risk for infection in so many ways, from hand hygiene to antibiotic use. Pathogens change over time, resistance emerges over time, and it's often related to human behavior. We're even seeing that now with new and emerging infectious diseases, like COVID-19. It brings all of these issues to the forefront.”

Datta is currently the Assistant Hospital Epidemiologist at VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven. He is involved in the COVID-19 response, along with antibiotic stewardship. When the current pandemic ceases, he will work on a team to prevent healthcare-associated infections.

He is thrilled to be at YSM and part of the ID section.

“What amazed me about this section is how wonderful the faculty are, and I say this from many different perspectives. They are incredibly accomplished but also very humble and inviting,” said Datta. “Everyone is a willing mentor and wants to support your career development, which is really important for junior faculty and fellows in the later stages of their training. There is a lot of support through our T32 and other internal mechanisms. Training opportunities abound. In addition, there is support for interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration, which I think is uncommon.”

Datta is the ninth recipient of the honor.

The Iva Dostanic, MD, PhD, Physician-Scientist Trainee Award was created in memory of Dostanic. She was an exceptionally talented physician-scientist who matched at Yale School of Medicine (YSM) for residency in Internal Medicine. Dostanic was accepted into the Internal Medicine Physician – Scientist Pathway, but delayed her residency after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2011. While undergoing treatment, Dostanic became a research fellow in the Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, & Sleep Medicine at YSM. Unfortunately, Dostanic’s cancer returned. Before she died, she received the very first Iva Dostanic, MD, PhD, Physician-Scientist Trainee Award in a ceremony held in her room at Yale New Haven Hospital. The award was created to celebrate Dostanic’s intelligence, creativity, work ethic, and passion, said Peter Aronson, MD, C.N.H. Long Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) and professor of cellular and molecular physiology. In December 2011, less than a week after receiving the award, she passed away.

In combination with the award, honorees present at the Department of Internal Medicine’s Medical Grand Rounds. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the date of the presentation is to be determined.

The Section of Infectious Diseases is one of the eleven sections within YSM’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about their work, visit Infectious Diseases.

Submitted by Julie Parry on May 04, 2020