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Daniel Skiest MD Receives Baystate's Highest Academic Honor

June 14, 2016
Dr. Daniel Skiest

Daniel Skiest MD, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, has received the 2016 Weinberg Award for Academic Excellence.

Dr. Skiest, Professor of Medicine and director of the Adult HIV/AIDS Programs, has focused his research over his 22 year career on clinical aspects of HIV. In addition to his own research, he has been involved in a number of institutional research-related efforts—the Department of Medicine research task force, the Research Week awards committee, and the Incubator Funds grant committee.

Advancing the Field

When Skiest came to Baystate almost 11 years ago as director of HIV services, part of his mission was to promote clinical research and academic activity.

Since then, he has significantly increased the size and scope of the ID Division, including the establishment of a clinical trials unit with 5 research staff, that has allowed them to offer a number of trials to their patients that they might not otherwise have had access to.

Dr. Skiest and his clinical research team have enrolled over 300 patients in 24 clinical trials in the past 5 years.

They are currently enrolling patients in the NIH-sponsored REPRIEVE trial which is testing the efficacy of statins in people with HIV infection. (More information about the REPRIEVE study) They also participated in the paradigm-changing SMART trial that suggested the superiority of continuous antiviral therapy in treating HIV.

“It’s very exciting to know that you are part of something that could improve the care of your patients and patients everywhere,” says Skiest. “Even to be a small part of that is very gratifying.”

Promoting Knowledge

Skiest describes infectious disease as a cognitive sub-specialty, explaining that ID specialists need a wide breadth of knowledge because they are often asked to see the most challenging cases, which usually aren't confined to a single organ system.

Skiest is proud that their ID fellows are being well trained to develop an academic state of mind as well as to be excellent clinicians. He adds that with the challenge of constant new ID threats—Zika, Ebola, SARS—it's imperative that fellows learn to be lifelong learners.

Skiest is particularly gratified to have helped train two fellows who have stayed on as faculty and joined the research team. Armando Paez MD is now the program director of the ID fellowship and Associate Director, Baystate Infectious Diseases Clinical Research. Durane Walker MD is director, Outpatient ID Services and Residency Teaching Coordinator.

"I enjoy teaching, discussing interesting cases. Just by teaching, you are learning a lot.

The Weinberg Family Award for Academic Excellence is awarded annually to an individual whose innovative research, publications, or leadership of a national academic organization have brought honor to Baystate Health.

 > Previous Weinberg Award Recipients