SHEA Chair Discusses Antimicrobial Resistance at IDWeek 2023 With ICT


Belinda Ostrowsky, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FSHEA, and SHEA Chair, highlights IDWeek 2023's hybrid format and discusses the critical topic of antimicrobial resistance, emphasizing the role of vaccines in reducing AMR.

As Chair of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, for IDWeek 2023, Belinda Ostrowsky, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FSHEA, is busy during the duration of IDWeek meeting those who attended and those who presented. In fact, part of her “role, along with the rest of the planning committee, [was] to get wonderful people to come and speak for us” at IDWeek. In addition to her work for SHEA at IDWeek, she moderated several sessions. Outside of IDWeek, she is the clinical associate professor, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

IDWeek 2023 was held in Boston, Massachusetts from October 11 to 15, 2023.

Despite her busy schedule, Ostrowsky found time to speak with Infection Control Today® (ICT®) about her work at IDWeek and a hot topic at IDWeek, antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Ostrowsky told ICT that one of the best things of IDWeek 2023 is that it is hybrid, both in-person and virtual. “It continues so that people can enjoy being here and seeing their colleagues. But if they can't [be in person], they can see all the sessions remotely. And, in fact, even if someone were to have a challenge and have a problem while here, they can watch it from their room.”

Paper with words antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and glasses.   (Adobe Stock 126570978 by Vitalii Vodolazskyi)

Paper with words antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and glasses.

(Adobe Stock 126570978 by Vitalii Vodolazskyi)

Concerning AMR, Ostrowsky said it is “highlighted in the program in many different areas. Coming out of COVID[-19], obviously, there have been some challenges that we may have lost some ground and health care-associated infections, it's more challenging for people to sort of come back and figure out where our baseline is. We have some talks that are going to give us a sense of where we are now coming, a few years out of COVID[-19]. We've definitely seen more challenges with pathogens, such as Candida auris, since COVID-19.”

There were over 2000 posters at IDWeek 2023, and more than 200 presentations. Of those, more than 80 at least mentioned AMR. Ostrowsky mentions one in particular. “We also have some very cutting-edge and interesting sessions. There's a session [at IDWeek 2023] that was on antimicrobial resistance and the role of vaccines called ‘Hit Me with Your Best Shot: Improving Pre-Lung Transplant Vaccination Rates with Infectious Disease Evaluation],’ [presented by Gustavo Contreras, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California]. That was really an eye-opening session because it talked about 4 different kinds of pathogens, and how vaccines may play a role.”

Ostrowsky explains why she mentions this presentation specifically. “I thought that was a great background that set the stage for antimicrobial resistance in the US and internationally. And then [the presenter] walked us through 4 bacterial and viral pathogens, [and] how vaccines could decrease antibiotic resistance and use. The two ways they underscored were 1, there might be resistant pathogens that are going to be treated. And the second would be, they potentially, hopefully, decrease antibiotic use in general. And so that would really decrease pressure for antibiotic resistance, and they went over some exciting data about some of our newer, anti-viral medications and vaccines for RSV, that I think are going to be exciting coming through.”

During the rest of the audio interview, Ostrowsky speaks on other interesting and important sessions.

(The quotes have been edited for clarity.)

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