Janet Gilsdorf was born in Minneapolis and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. She attended college at North Dakota State University, and medical school at the University of North Dakota and the University of Nebraska. She completed pediatric and infectious diseases training at Baylor Hospitals, Houston; Valley Medical Center, Fresno; and the University of Minnesota.
She is the Robert P. Kelch Research Professor Emerita in the Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Michigan and an infectious diseases physician at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she participates in the diagnosis and management of pediatric patients with complex infectious diseases and in the clinical training of medical students, pediatric residents, and pediatric infectious diseases fellows. She served as Director of the PID division from 1989 to 2012 and co-director of the Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan School of Public Health from 2000 – 2015. She teaches in the M1 Microbiology and Infectious Diseases sequence and the Humanities Path of Excellence at the University of Michigan Medical School. While Director of the Haemophilus influenzae Research Laboratory she has supervised the training of Masters and PhD students in Epidemiology. She has published over 100 articles of original research, most centering around the epidemiology, molecular characteristics, and pathogenesis of Haemophilus influenzae.
Dr. Gilsdorf has served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the Board of Scientific Councilors of the NIH Clinical Center, the Board of Directors on the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Associate Editor of the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, member of the Council of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and member of the PID sub-board of the American Board of Pediatrics. She is a past President of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and received the PIDS Distinguished Physician award in 2012. She is a member of the League of Research Excellence of the University of Michigan, received the 2008 Alumni Achievement Award from North Dakota State University, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska in 2015.
In addition to her scientific writing, she has published a number of personal essays in JAMA (Iournal of the American Medical Association), Emerging Infectious Diseases, Health Affairs and The Examined Life. In 1999 she was awarded the Journal of Internal Medicine Award for Prose.
Gilsdorf, J.R. “Brad missed the miracle.” JAMA 274:443, 1995
Gilsdorf, J.R. “Do you have a minute?” JAMA 275:343, 1996
Gilsdorf, J.R. March Schedules. J. Gen. Int. Med. 13:501-502, 1998. [JGIM 1998 Creative Medical Writing Runner-up for Prose]
Gilsdorf, J.R. “Off to the Left.” J. Gen. Int. Med. 14: 365-366, 1999. [JGIM 1999 Creative Medical Writing Award for Prose]
Gilsdorf, J.R. “A Simple Song of Gratitude.” JAMA 285:1555-1556, 2001
Gilsdorf, J.R. “Jet Black Eschar.” Emerg Infect Dis 8:871, 2002
Gilsdorf, J.R. “As Drug Marketing Pays Off, My Mother Pays Up.” Health Affairs 23:208-212, 2004
Gilsdorf, J.R. “A Long Time Ago.” JAMA 296:2777-2778, 2006
Gilsdorf, J.R. “The Disappearing Doctors.” Health Affairs 27:850-854, 2008
Gilsdorf, J.R. “Big Three CEOs: Here’s what you need to do to get the money.” Ann Arbor News, Dec 4, 2008
Gilsdorf, J. R. “A Doctor Named Charley.” The Examined Life Journal, 2:41-46, 2012.
Gilsdorf, J. R. “Everyone Loves a Parade.” in Larin, L.R. (ed.). A Handbook of Patient and Family Centered Care, Health Administration Press 2013,
Gilsdorf, J. R. “The Good-Enough Parent.” JAMA 316:2089, 2016