By Samantha Dunn
Prior to becoming a pediatric infectious diseases subspecialist at CHOC Children’s, Dr. Jasjit Singh’s medical career was based on the East Coast. She received her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and her medical degree from the Duke University School of Medicine, then completed her pediatrics residency at Cornell University Medical Center in New York, where she also served as chief resident. Finally, she completed her subspecialty fellowship training in pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore.
But after finishing her post-residency, she and her husband, who is also a physician, struggled to find jobs in the same location. Being that they both work in a subspecialty, choosing a destination together was nearly impossible. After searching, they landed posts on the other side of the country in Orange County. They thought they would try California for a few years, then go back East. That was 24 years ago.
Now, Singh serves as assistant director of the pediatric infectious diseases division for CHOC Children’s Specialists and is the medical epidemiologist for CHOC Children’s Hospital. She’ll be the first to admit that working with children is the only thing she wants to do.
“I could not take care of adults anymore!” she says. “Children are so honest, open, easily change their habits, and don’t hold grudges. They are extremely resilient and joyful to work with. They don’t malinger, and they don’t overdo it either. When you can make a difference in a child’s life, you know it will have a profound impact on their entire family for decades to come. There is nothing more gratifying than to see a child who was sick, walk out of the hospital ready to go back to regular childhood life!”
Her main interests are in the prevention of infection, vaccines, international health and primary immunodeficiency conditions in children.
“Pediatric infectious diseases is a field where we take care of some of the sickest children in the hospital – from the tiniest premature babies, to the children on the oncology floors with an invasive infection. We are the ones often doing the ‘detective work’ to figure out what is going on with a complicated case.”
During the current pandemic, Singh has learned a lot about what equates to success in pediatrics. “So much of what we do in pediatrics is about prevention, and what this has illuminated for me during this pandemic, is when you are in this sphere your success is measured by what doesn’t happen.”
One thing that Singh does see happening is future success for CHOC Children’s Hospital. “I feel really fortunate,” she says. “The trajectory of this hospital has been about increasing excellence and care. Everyone here has a real passion for taking care of children.”