Host Defense Program

Caring for Immunocompromised Children

Host Defense Program

The Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Hematology, Oncology and BMT at Nationwide Children’s have developed the country’s first Host Defense Program specifically designed to address the needs of immunocompromised patients.

Our collaborative and comprehensive approach ensures that the unique needs of your patient will be reviewed and provided by fellowship-trained Host Defense Specialists, who are supported by an interdisciplinary team of experts in immunocompromised conditions.


The Host Defense Program provides individualized consultation services for immunocompromised patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings for a wide variety of conditions and needs, including:

  • Bone Marrow Failure or Cytopenias
  • Oncology
  • Primary immunodeficiency
  • Bone marrow transplant 
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Autoimmune or autoinflammatory conditions, such as Lupus or Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Patients receiving medications that suppress the immune system
  • Vaccine Clinic

Meet Our Host Defense Program Team

A variety of specialists work together to provide the best care to immunocompromised patients. These specialties include hematology, oncology, infectious disease, gastroenterology and other support staff roles.

Host Defense Education Opportunities

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Host Defense Fellowship

The Infectious Disease Host Defense Fellowship is a GME-approved, one-year program that provides additional training and expertise in the comprehensive management of infections in immunocompromised children.

Resources for Parents and Patients

Child laying in bed with wet towel pressed against their forehead

Fungus Among Us: What Patients and Parents Need to Know About Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by the fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, which is found as spores in soil, bird and bat droppings and some decaying materials. It is the most common fungal infection in North America.

measles on a child's shoulder

What Parents Need to Know About Measles

Measles, also known as rubeola, is an infection caused by the measles virus. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, followed by a characteristic rash. The pink-red rash typically starts on the face, spreads to the neck and trunk, and then to the arms and legs.

Child sitting in bed wearing a headwrap and holding a teddy bear.

Safe Living After a Bone Marrow Transplant

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT), more commonly known as bone marrow transplantation, is a procedure for used for some patients with cancer, immune deficiencies, or other genetic diseases.

child laying in a hospital bed with an IV in her arm, wearing a scarf around her head.

Infection Prevention After a Bone Marrow Transplant

A weak immune system makes a patient more vulnerable to infection and taking away medications early to boost the immune system may help prevent or treat infections, but may also raise the risk of GvHD.

Immunodeficiency and Infection: Who Is at Risk?

Certain conditions may cause a child to become immunocompromised. Some children are born with abnormal immune systems and have genetic conditions called primary immunodeficiency disorders like chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) or severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).

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Host Defense Program Brochure

Our collaborative approach ensures that each child’s unique needs are addressed by specialized physicians, who are supported by an interdisciplinary team of experts in immunocompromised conditions.

Nationwide Children's Hospital Patient Stock Photo

Safe Living After Solid Organ Transplantation

We want you to have the tools you need to live a safe and happy life after your transplant. This document gives you the information you need to help prevent infections that can occur after transplantation.

Reflective Teen Boy Resting Arm on Chair

Safe Living After Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

Although you cannot prevent all infections, many can be. This booklet was written by the Infectious Disease Host Defense Program doctors so you have the information you need to live a safe and happy life after transplant.

For Providers 

Host Defense Program consultations are available for Nationwide Children's physicians through an EPIC order. 

If you're a referring physician interested in a consult, please call: 614-722-4452.

To make a referral, please request an appointment online or fax information to (614) 722-4458.

Referral Requirements:

  • Immunization record 
  • Written reason for referral
  • Records of office visits
  • Reports of other consultants
  • Lab and imaging study results pertinent to the referral

Physician Direct Connect (PDC)

Physician Direct Connect is a 24-hour physician/provider consult-transfer center. PDC is managed by experienced RNs who can assist in caring for your patients as a single point of contact for numerous requests.

Download our Host Defense Program Brochure