Dr. Laartz’s passion in life is helping people understand how to protect themselves from infection and deal with an infection that has already occurred. The infectious disease doctor is always ready to share an anecdote to help someone understand a disease that may be affecting them or a loved one. He started the series “Protect Yourself” and the companies Protect U Guard and Caribe ID to help educate individuals on what they need to do to protect themselves from infections. His book, “Protect Yourself: From Ebola to Zika, and From MRSA to Hospital Acquired Infections: How to Avoid Contagious Diseases” is available on his website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. Click on the above menu links for more information.
Dr. Laartz is a board certified infectious diseases specialist in Safety Harbor, Florida with years of experience in infection control at hospitals, nursing facilities, rehab facilities and outpatient clinics. He graduated with his BA and MS degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and his MD degree in 1998 from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He finished his training in Tampa, Florida, where he completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the University of South Florida. He served as chief Infectious Disease Fellow while at the University of South Florida and learned the skills to treat patients with infections. His interest in preventing infections started during this time as he was able to participate in infection prevention rounds at Tampa General Hospital, which he considers one of the great examples of infection control at a teaching hospital.
In Safety Harbor, Florida, he founded and continues to run a successful practice called West Coast Infectious Diseases where he and his partners have treated patients with almost every infectious disease imaginable. The practice has grown to four physicians and two nurse practitioners. Dr Laartz is on staff at eight local hospitals and runs two outpatient locations. He teaches frequently, holding a teaching appointment as Affiliate Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the University of South Florida. Dr Laartz is faculty for two residency programs and teaches for a pharmacy residency and fellowship program. He has served as infection control director and hospital epidemiologist for multiple hospitals. His state of the art clinic in travel medicine offers vaccines, preventive treatment and counseling for travelers. All too often, he has seen diabetic and immunocompromised patients and returning travelers suffer from preventable infections. Dr. Laartz has travelled around the world offering medical assistance wherever needed. He has participated in medical missions to India and has provided care to indigent patients in the Caribbean. For 2 years, while living in the Virgin Islands, he provided education to healthcare providers and patients alike regarding widespread infections such as HIV and tuberculosis.
Through years of practice Dr. Laartz has continued to develop the knowledge to treat some of the most complex infections. Along with this experience comes first hand observation to the many reasons we come down with infections and what predicaments we put ourselves into when we lack common sense. From his medical and travel experience he has learned techniques to prevent infections. In hospitals, he has seen first-hand what works in preventing infections, but also has seen some of the faults in the system patients need to avoid. Not infallible, he has developed infections while travelling, such as one unfortunate episode resulting from eating lobster with a salad at a seaside restaurant in Costa Rica. He is sharing the fruits of this research with the public to help avoid the same infections he has seen day in and day out in the hospital. Many suggestions are so simple that they seem like common sense: however, if common sense was common, we wouldn't need these reminders.
He also performs consulting work for corporations and other organizations to help prevent infections in the workplace and in places where the public congregates, including gyms, restaurants, and churches. Identifying the potential hazards and risks that may lurk at your job, supermarket or your local gym and the best way for these organizations to minimize these risks is no small task. All too often, employers and corporations do not have the guidance necessary. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides some guidance, but, as is sometimes discovered, lessons are learned too late. An ounce of prevention is worth a million pounds of cure any day when it comes to infections.
In order to further empower individuals who wish to avoid infections, he has founded, and is currently creating a company whose vision is to provide quality safety and infection prevention tools directly to the public. He observed that when people need these medical supplies, the cost is prohibitive because they cannot order mass quantities. Protect U Guard, LLC cuts these costs for the average consumers so they can protect themselves better.
In his spare time Dr. Laartz enjoys mountain biking, sailing, boating and scuba diving. Every chance he gets he plays soccer and baseball and travels the globe with his children. Originally from Iowa, he places a great importance on family and his friends. He supports local charities and food markets and enjoys the arts such as opera and Broadway plays. He is extremely passionate about hockey. He is also obsessed with helping provide access to care for persons with chronic diseases like HIV and helping the public get access to preventive education information. He works tirelessly educating healthcare providers about the simple things they can do to protect their patients. He is penning a book titled “Protect Yourself and Your Patients: Save a Life From Health Care Related Infections”, that is geared toward health professionals and how they can understand infection control. Look for it soon.