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Healthcare professionals gather to explore lifesaving antibiotic research methods

Healthcare professionals gather to explore lifesaving antibiotic research methods

Healthcare professionals nationwide are gathering this week to discuss how to improve programs to better control antibiotic use in healthcare facilities. The Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Workshop, hosted by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), will prepare healthcare professionals to design, deploy, and evaluate antibiotic stewardship interventions to combat the emergence of deadly drug-resistant bacteria.

“Antimicrobial stewardship programs are some of the best defenses we have to combat antibiotic resistance,” said Jeffrey Gerber, MD, PhD, MSCE, the workshop co-chair, “But there are still many gaps in our knowledge, particularly in how best to implement these programs effectively across healthcare settings. Making research a priority is key to ensuring we have the most effective programs available in all healthcare settings for future generations.”

The emergence of antibiotic resistance has become a major burden on hospitals worldwide. Each year, antibiotic-resistant infections alone are estimated to cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $20 billion. Moreover, at least two million patients contract antibiotic-resistant infections every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at least 23,000 of them die.

Antimicrobial stewardship interventions help ensure patients get the right antibiotics at the right time for the right duration. These strategies prevent patients from being overexposed to antibiotics, thereby cutting down on the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms, reducing healthcare costs, and shortening the duration of hospital stays. The workshop, which attracts an interdisciplinary audience including physicians, pharmacists, and trainees, raises and reinforces the investigative standards for designing, implementing, disseminating, and assessing programs using sound research methods.

“This convening brings together professionals from across healthcare settings to help evolve our understanding and discover practical applications for improving these lifesaving programs,” said Elizabeth Dodds-Ashley, PharmD, MHS, co-chair of the workshop, “Together, we hope to inspire collaboration, partnership and, most importantly, strong research.”

The third annual Antimicrobial Stewardship Research Workshop is being held November 14-15, 2018, in Baltimore, MD. SHEA is hosting the event in collaboration with the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, and the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists. The meeting is supported by an unrestricted grant from Merck & Co.

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest public health threats we are facing and it’s important to Merck that we be a part of the solution,” said Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, Merck’s executive vice president and chief patient officer. “That’s why we are proud to help fund workshops like this that educate and prepare future stewards of this important work to make antibiotic stewardship programs more effective in keeping patients safe.”

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