Change is Driving Healthcare Epidemiology

Julie Louise Gerberding, MD, MPH, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and now with Merck Vaccines, says that globalization, sustainability, and consumer empowerment will continue to drive the future of healthcare. She adds that healthcare epidemiology, with the noble mission of protecting patients and their healthcare providers from infectious diseases and other threats, is facing immense change, the one constant that links the successes of this field in each decade of history.

Speaking at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections held in March, Gerberding notes, "Change is the constant that links our past to our future, as the evolution of the decennial conference themes from one decade to the next so aptly illustrates. Even so, patterns emerge. The appearance and spread of awesome new healthcare-associated pathogens and new mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance have headlined each successive conference. Throughout the years, these predictable surprises have become increasingly complex and more difficult to treat and are no longer bounded by hospital walls."

This article and others from the Fifth Decennial on Healthcare-Associated Infections meeting held in March are available from SHEA/Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. To access these papers, CLICK HERE.

Reference: Gerberding JL. Healthcare Epidemiology: Past and Future. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2010;31:S73S75.