Prevention in Portland

Last week, several of your friendly neighborhood bloggers (Hilary, Scott, Mike, and yours truly) were among the attendees at this year's SHEA Spring Meeting, held in Portland, OR, and it was great to see how this iteration of the meeting has matured in just a few years.  The Planning Committee, headed by Matt Linam and Judy Guzman-Cottrill (who also hooked us up with some awesome Gram-positive and Gram-negative tailor-made SHEA Voodoo Donuts), did an outstanding job weaving the three traditional training courses (Healthcare Epi, Antibiotic Stewardship, and IP in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care -- check them out next year if you've never attended!) with many general meeting sessions that included important updates, pro-con debates, and impressive science.  The theme of the general track focused on communication, and the plenary sessions included pragmatic discussions of messaging to diverse stakeholders, to the media (with NPR's Joe Palca), and to government stakeholders through advocacy. 

I'm still unpacking everything I enjoyed about the meeting, but to highlight a few things:

  • The meeting size was just right to network with old colleagues well as the growing number of new faces in the field
  • The posters were held in a converted parking garage, which felt very old school SHEA ("We don't need no fancy ballroom to learn science!")
  • Antibiotic stewardship remains very hot, and it was great to see the innovation and engagement on this very important issue (and the continued presence of our pharmacy colleagues at this meeting).  Also nice to see the emergence of diagnostic stewardship at the meeting.  There were several posters on reducing unnecessary urine cultures and C. difficile testing, for example.
  • Not to be outdone by stewardship, infection prevention topics hit on some key challenges, including how to influence and change behavior (including the first? ever pro-con where a vegetable was introduced as a dueling weapon), barriers and innovations to improving use of PPE and hand hygiene, and discussions about risk-adjustment of reported HAI data, the limitations of surveillance definitions, and the possibility or folly of "chasing zero."
  • Seeing the finalists for the SHEA Epi Competition expertly field many tough questions about their proposed projects -- and congrats to Valerie Vaughn from Univ. of Michigan on winning the $20,000 award for her project entitled "Antibiotic Overuse at Hospital Discharge."
  • Getting to watch Scott's son, Daniel, present  like a pro as probably the youngest SHEA presenter in history (on an impressive look at CRE and transfer networks in Atlanta)
There's so much more to hit on, I invite my co-bloggers to jump in! Suffice to say it was a very successful meeting and a very nice partner to our fall extravaganza, IDWeek (Oct 3-7, 2018 in San Fran - register now!).  Next year, it's in Boston (April 24-26, 2019), so block your schedules!  Perhaps Eli will host a 10th blogiversary celebration?


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