Lourdes DelRosso, MD, is a sleep physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree at the University of Miami; completed a residency in family medicine at Kaiser Permanente/UC Irvine, a sleep medicine fellowship at Louisiana State University and a Master’s degree in Medical Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. DelRosso is dedicated entirely to the field of pediatric sleep medicine, including education, clinical care and research. She is involved nationally in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and internationally in sleep medicine courses in Latin America. Her research interests include restless sleep and the consequences of sleep disorders.
Why do you contribute to the AASM Foundation?
I share the mission to support sleep health awareness, to improve sleep health, patient care and outcomes. I am proud of the organization for supporting a variety of projects and ideas, supporting young investigators, community projects, and educational projects. I also appreciate that volunteers of the organization have open minds to identify and receive new ideas. Additionally, I know the AASM Foundation is led by an outstanding group of people with a heart for service.
How did you discover your passion for family medicine and medical education?
Early in my life, even as a child growing up in Peru, I knew that I wanted to be a physician and work with families and communities. Family medicine, as my first specialty, allowed me to obtain knowledge and experience not just about medicine, but about public health, social issues, mental health, and other areas. Sleep has completed the whole picture (for me).
As I grew in my career, I was given the opportunity to be an associate professor at Louisiana State University. This was the first step in my academic career, and I realized the importance of supporting and participating in medical education. Since then, I have continued teaching in various academic institutions. Today, I am happy to be involved in the training of sleep fellows, residents and medical students at the University of Washington.
As a recipient of an AASM Foundation award, could you discuss how it impacted your career?
The impact is bigger than one can imagine, and it started with the application process. I remember working together with my mentor at the time, Dr. Andrew Chesson, learning from him, writing the application together, re-submitting it the next year and awaiting the results. The process itself is a wonderful learning experience and a great opportunity for mentoring and growth, something I will never forget.
The award I received was a humanitarian award. At the time, I did not have experience with research, but I had a passion to help our community. Finding support for a community-directed project without any prior experience, was motivating and encouraging. I discovered that the AASM Foundation will support individual and personal goals in various career paths. I believe this support and encouragement was key in moving my career forward. The award gave me confidence and helped me build collaborations. Most importantly, the award gave me the opportunity to help my community sleep better.
Looking to the future, what discoveries do you think are going to have the biggest impact on advancing the understanding of sleep?
We are moving forward in a field that has numerous opportunities for research. We have colleagues all over the world working on different pieces of the puzzle. Regardless of how small it may initially seem, I believe every effort and every step is important to advance the knowledge and understanding of sleep.
When we look at medical literature, we often find that the initial description of a sleep disorder, such as restless legs syndrome, was published in a small case series, sometimes with as few as five patients! This underscores how both small steps and huge steps help us move forward. I believe that collaboration in sleep research is what makes our specialty grow and what ultimately will provide all the answers to our questions. I thank the AASM Foundation for believing in research and for allowing us to continue pursuing our dreams.