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Johns Hopkins Expert Tapped by White House to Participate in Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative

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Johns Hopkins infectious disease researcher Sara Cosgrove, MD, MS, has been tapped by the White House to help address solutions to the ever-growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Cosgrove, along with more than 150 stakeholders in the field, outlined current and future contributions to antibiotic stewardship as part of a White House initiative. This work will be part of a federal plan to implement changes over the next five years to slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, detect resistant strains, preserve the efficacy of our existing antibiotics and prevent the spread of resistant infections.

Cosgrove is an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. She has spent mor than a decade researching how infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria impact patients and the methods needed to ensure that patients receive the best antibiotic treatment. Development and implementation of such methods in health care is known as antibiotic stewardship, and Cosgrove is the director of the Johns Hopkins antimicrobial stewardship program. Cosgrove is also the vice president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), a major player in the field of prevention of health care-associated infections and antibiotic resistance.

“With more than 14 years of work in the field of antibiotic stewardship, Johns Hopkins is well-poised to bring its expertise to the table and demonstrate its commitment to optimizing the use of antibiotics,” says Cosgrove. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to work with such a profound group of experts to help find real solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance.”

As part of Cosgrove’s commitment to the White House, she will help lead a team at Johns Hopkins to create antibiotic stewardship programs in all of its hospitals over the next two years.

Antibiotic resistance has been an issue since shortly after the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s. Until recently, new antibiotics were developed to respond to the problem. Unfortunately, resistance in bacteria now has increased, and new antibiotics have not been developed in response. “There is no doubt that antibiotics revolutionized medicine, and we are now at a critical point in time where we must focus both on development of new antibiotics and preservation of existing antibiotics to ensure that we can continue to deliver modern medical care,” says Cosgrove.

Federal agencies have all but mandated requirements for hospitals to develop antibiotic stewardship programs. In March 2015, the White House published a national action plan that included having antibiotic stewardship programs across the health care system. This led to the culminating event recently held by the White House on June 2, 2015, galvanizing experts across the nation.

“This is the first time in the United States that we’re actually recognizing that antibiotic resistance is a national problem that requires national solutions,” says Cosgrove. “This acknowledgement, coupled with further study of the issue and the adoption of known methods to decrease the threat of antibiotic resistance, may guide us in the right direction toward a solution.”

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

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