The search for a new Infectious Disease Chief at Baystate Health – Interview with Dr. Sarah Haessler and Dr. Daniel Skiest

Baystate Medical Center is searching for a new Division Chief for Infectious Disease. We sat down with Dr. Sarah Haessler and Dr. Daniel Skiest, who has been the Division Chief for 8 years, to learn more about this prestigious and exciting position. 

Dr. Haessler: We are lucky to be a part of a really excellent, stable division. We have low turnover and very engaged, hard-working physicians. Each person within the division has their own niche of expertise. We have a really great, diverse range of people, from recent graduates to mid career physicians to senior clinicians and we have people from different background and ethnicities. Infectious Disease is very much a collegial and cooperative division; we have lots of team players and people are very collaborative.
What we’re looking for in a Chief is somebody who is experienced and who has been a division chief before, someone who has strong leadership and interpersonal skills. We are also looking for someone who has vision and experience in grants and research, as we have a strong research component to the division and several grant supported researchers.
We are very open to specialty or research focus in our candidates. Currently, one of our main research areas is HIV and outcomes research.

We also spoke with Dr. Daniel Skiest, who was the Division Chief of Infectious Disease for 8 years, to get an insider’s perspective on what the job is like. 

Dr. Skiest: Infectious Disease is a fairly large division now, double the size of what it used to be, and our scope has expanded. We are mainly based at our main campus which is the Baystate Medical Center, a large, academic teaching hospital in Springfield, MA, but our division also includes other affiliated community hospitals. Physicians from our service will rotate to these locations every week. We also provide all the infectious disease consultations, both inpatient and outpatient to Mercy Hospital, another large hospital in our area.
Additionally, our providers also service multiple skilled nursing facilities and clinics around the Springfield area doing everything from HIV to Hepatitis C care. Our HIV clinic in particular has a large population with about 1,000 patients that we follow. Our clinical trials started about ten years ago. 

Our division is also in charge of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee, hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control. We also run a hepatitis clinic, a small wound care clinic, and Baystate’s Travel Clinic.

In terms of our team, we have 10 faculty members, 6 of whom are full-time and one infectious disease fellow every year, along with our medical residents and students. We are very lucky to have such a great division and we always receive the highest possible ratings in patient satisfaction as well as physician engagement; we are usually at the top of the list for Bay State divisions.
The chief’s schedule is very varied, which makes it interesting. It’s a mix of teaching, administration, academic work, research, and patient care. One day you might be in a patient consult, teaching residents and fellows or attending administrative meetings. On another week, you might have case conferences, meet with faculty and fellows, or running division meetings. The best thing about this position and schedule is that you will never be bored!

baystate medical center

The Baystate Health System is located in the heart of the Pioneer Valley. The Valley boasts a lively mix of the old world New England charm and the vibrant energy of the revitalized city of Springfield and close proximity to Boston, Hartford, CT, Albany and New York City.

Residents of the Valley enjoy a multitude of arts, entertainment and recreational opportunities within a short drive. Whether you are enjoying a beautiful evening concert at the world-renowned summer home of the Boston Pops at Tanglewood, hiking the in the beautiful Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary or dining at one of the many multicultural restaurant offerings of Springfield’s vibrant foodie scene there is something for everyone!

pioneer valley


Are you interested in applying to be our new Infectious Disease Division Chief? Click below to learn more and apply today!

Apply to be our Infectious Disease Division Chief!

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Author:Pam Snyder