Infectious disease doctor awarded for his work during the pandemic at UVA

Dr. Bill Petri
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 12:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Dr. Bill Petri has been working at the University of Virginia since he was 20 years old. His dedication to helping the community through the coronavirus pandemic is now being recognized by the university.

“A year and a half ago, when the first word came out about China, I was really interested because it was an infectious disease,” Petri said. “I never anticipated that we would have a pandemic that we did.”

Everything was halted when COVID-19 hit Charlottesville.

“I had been prepared through all of my training to respond to something like this,” Petri said. “Before there was a vaccine, the number of people at on 5 South and 4 South at UVA and at Martha Jefferson Sentara [sic] they were putting their own health at risk to provide care.”

Petri risked his own health to care for patients inside the COVID ward, and now UVA is honoring his sacrifice with the Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

“My whole career has been at UVA, and so to be recognized by the university with the Jefferson Award... there’s nothing more meaningful for me to have that award,” Petri said.

When he’s not caring for patients or in the lab, he’s doing what he loves, teaching.

“One of the best parts about being a professor is seeing that your students are successful and contributing on their own, and that’s a big deal,” Petri said. “If someone is really prepared, then the next 30 years they’re going to be making their own discoveries and contributing in their own way. That’s the beauty about being a teacher is seeing your students doing well.”

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