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Megan Morales, MD

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Specialty

Infectious Disease

Locations

VCU Medical Center Main Hospital
1250 E. Marshall Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Department

Internal Medicine

Education

Medical School

George Washington University School of Medicine

Internship

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Residency

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Fellowship

Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital

Biography

Infectious disease a ‘life’s calling’ in a changed world

Dr. Megan Morales’ start at VCU Health was anything but ordinary: She and her family relocated to Richmond toward the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic and Virginia’s “stay-at-home” order.

And her medical specialty has certainly gained a lot of attention in recent times: Dr. Morales works in infectious disease, helping prevent and treat infections in patients with impaired or decreased immune systems. 

Over the years, public health has seen the eradication of contagious illnesses such as polio and smallpox. Dr. Morales’ mentors faced epidemics such as HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s and infections that arise due to the disease. But “ID” always has evolving threats: challenges such as antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, and emerging or re-emerging viral infections like MERS, Ebola, and the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Morales treats a wide range of infections, including pneumonia, urinary tract infections, sepsis, and viral and parasitic infections. Treatment can include specialized testing, or prescribing antibiotics or other anti-infective drugs. She provides individualized care to patients of all ages, genders, and backgrounds who are living with a wide range of illnesses and symptoms. “Infections don’t see color or age or socioeconomic status,” she says. “At some point, we all get infections.”

As a patient, expect lots of questions on your first visit, she jokes. “Bear with me; there’s a method to the madness,” she says. “This is not only to get to know you, but asking questions like where you have lived, traveled, your hobbies and pets also helps me categorize what infections you may particularly be at risk for.”

She has a special place in her heart for transplant patients, who are more at-risk for highly unusual infections. “The stakes are high, so it is rewarding to help these patients recover and stay well so that they can make the most of their new life,” she says. “I love to see how a transplant can give someone their freedom and life back.”

In transplantation and oncology-related ID, physicians are seeing new immune-suppressing medications for autoimmune and other conditions. The result: patients live longer after organ or bone marrow transplants and cancer treatments. “We have a responsibility to be good stewards and protect the antibiotics and treatments we provide, so patients will benefit from them as long as possible to prevent or slow antibiotic resistance,” she says.

For Dr. Morales, becoming a physician has been her life’s calling. “I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything else. As a child I kept my medical kit under my bed,” she says. Her grandfather administered anesthesia to President Reagan after his attempted assassination in 1981. “His dedication was also an inspiration to me.”

Because she arrived in Richmond from Maryland during the COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing restrictions, Dr. Morales and her family got a delayed start to trying the region’s best restaurants and visiting popular local sites and museums. “I’m the person who likes to read every museum plaque, so my family usually abandons me,” she jokes. She also enjoys cooking, hiking, traveling…and Downton Abbey reruns.

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Locations

VCU Medical Center Main Hospital

1250 E. Marshall Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Ratings & Reviews

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