Alumni Profile: Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH

From the Winter 2016 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine Magazine

Career Shaped by Personal Experiences

Photo by Joe Howell
Photo by Joe Howell

At a young age, Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH, observed firsthand the debilitating effects of disease. Unbeknownst to him, that experience would lead him down a career path and passion for helping others.

“When I was about 7 years old, my mother was diagnosed with a form of lupus,” Creech said. “As a kid who enjoyed science, I hoped that one day I could find a cure for the disease.”

During his undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University, Creech worked in several research laboratories and served as a counselor at summer camps, including for children with diabetes. These experiences led to his conviction that he wanted to be a pediatrician.

After completing medical school at the University of Tennessee College Of Health Sciences in Memphis, Creech returned to Vanderbilt to complete a residency in pediatrics. During that time, his father passed away from endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart.

Creech completed a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases and pursued a Master of Public Health degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“Now, looking back, my road makes sense—­from physician, to pediatrician, to infectious diseases specialist,” he said.

Creech, an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program (VVRP) in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, has a primary focus in preventing infectious diseases in children, particularly bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus aureus. His group also works to develop new vaccines and therapeutics, including vaccines targeting influenza, malaria, S. aureus, and others.

“Vanderbilt is, and always has been for me, about the people. From our research group to the clinical division with whom I get to work, to collaborators across the campus, Vanderbilt epitomizes collaboration and collegiality. I think this is the most powerful aspect of Vanderbilt—we have a shared ethos and a shared vision that drives all that we do.”

Creech’s journey in his medical career has been destined and shaped by his life experiences.

“There is a real sense of providence in my life. There are no accidents, and no elements of our lives that happen by chance alone; as a result, I think that it gives me great confidence that there is purpose and value in all that we do.”