As Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Dr. Latania Logan ’93 is helping Rush University Medical Center navigate the immense challenges of COVID-19.
When COVID-19 first made its presence known at the start of 2020, the Department of Pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center knew that they had an enormous challenge ahead. But they also knew they had a tremendous leader to guide them.
As a physician, a researcher, an associate professor, and now as Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Dr. Latania Logan ’93 had established herself as a standout.
Logan is the Hospital Epidemiologist for Rush University Children’s Hospital and the incident commander for COVID-19 response for Rush’s women’s and children’s hospitals.
She rewarded her colleagues’ faith through an unprecedented year, earning their recognition with the 2020 Kenneth M. Boyer Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Colleagues called Logan a “fearless leader” who “stepped up and stepped in” when the arrival of COVID-19 drastically changed their lives by orchestrating guidelines, clinics, staffing, resources, and testing while fielding neverending emails and calls.
“She updated us each week with reassurance and information and a great sense of humor,” they wrote. “We have appreciated her leadership, thoughtfulness, balancing hard truths and cautious optimism in our time of need.”
Logan also is Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Pediatrics and associate professor of pediatrics at Rush. Last fall, she received the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s annual Pediatric Scholarship Award for her research on antibiotic resistant infections in children.
After graduating from Morgan Park Academy at 16, Logan studied biology as an undergrad at the University of Michigan, then earned her M.D. at Wayne State University School of Medicine.
She did her residency and a fellowship at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine before joining Rush in 2009.
In recent years she also earned a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Despite her competing roles as a physician-scientist, epidemiologist, chief, mentor, mother, wife and teacher, she maintained a 4.0 GPA during the Master’s program and received honors including induction in Delta Omega, the honors society for studies in public health, and the Alan W. Donaldson Award, which honors one graduating public health student for academic excellence, leadership, and service. It is the most prestigious award granted to a student by the UIC School of Public Health. In recognition of this honor, she gave the commencement address on behalf of the graduating class in 2018.
“Already a recognized scholar in antimicrobial resistance, she entered our program to advance her command of research methods,” said Dr. Linda Forst, Senior Associate Dean. Forst said Logan was selected in part because she mentored residents, graduate students, and fellows and volunteered in the community.
“At MPA, we were always encouraged to keep our standards high, to live up to those standards, and believe that we can achieve anything. I learned lessons that I use every day.”
When choosing a specialty, Logan said she was drawn to pediatrics infectious diseases (ID) for its unique combination of intellectual challenge and opportunity to make a direct impact on people’s lives.
“The field is very curative,” she said. “There are some chronic infectious diseases, but for the most part, we have treatment for even those chronic diseases, and very good treatment such that people with these conditions lead healthy, long, and normal lives.
“There’s nothing better than being able to say to a patient, ‘You’re going to leave here, and I’m going to cure this. And you’re not going to have to worry about this again.’
“Later on in life, [a former patient] will send you pictures of themselves and they’re going to their prom or their first day of kindergarten, and there is a great satisfaction in knowing that you played a huge part in making them better.”
Logan’s federally funded research is studying the clinical and molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistant infections in children, and this work is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Her other federally funded research is in increasing COVID-19 testing and education in communities of highest need in Chicago using a network of churches and pastors as community partners.
“I also really enjoy my research, because on that side of things, it’s always some new challenge,” she said. “There’s always something new and exciting happening which you have to read and learn about. I think most of us who go into ID like that kind of adrenaline rush because it’s intellectually very stimulating.”
Logan also serves as the Pediatrician on the Chicago Prevention and Intervention Epicenter branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epicenters Program with focuses on the prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections, serves on several national committees, serves as a reviewer for more than 10 journals, as an ad hoc grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, and is the volunteer medical director of a social service agency in Chicago.
Such a large professional workload, Logan said, requires careful managing to balance with her life at home with her husband and their two children.
“Balancing being a parent and a wife along with being a doctor has probably been the greatest challenge in my entire life,” she said. “But what I’ve learned during the time that I’ve had to be all three is that you have to take a break from one so that you can be good at the other.
“My family is my top priority and what keeps me going every day. And so I strive to keep work and family life as separate as possible, and I make sure to devote time for each of them every day.”
Logan is proud to have her children follow in her footsteps now as MPA students.
“I am grateful for my MPA education and to all of my teachers and coaches from kindergarten to 12th grade,” she said.
“MPA taught me many lessons that I use every day, including ingenuity, to be respectful, honest and courteous, and to appreciate people of all backgrounds. I learned how to multi-task and why it’s important to be well rounded. My teachers and coaches pushed me to be my best and to have a strong work ethic. At MPA, we were always encouraged to keep our standards high, to live up to those standards, and believe that we can achieve anything.”