The resistance continues...and you can help!

Billions & Billions (Eric Daigh) Each of the 34,800 pills in the picture represents 1 million doses of antibiotics, totalling 34.8 billion doses given each year around the world.    

As SHEA president this year,  I have not been doing much blogging but I have been traveling and learning and representing SHEA in many different places.  In the last few weeks, I was able to attend the International Conference for Prevention and Infection Control (ICPIC) in Geneva and also attend a ‘side event’ at the United Nations General Assembly focused on antimicrobial resistance. 

In Geneva, I heard about efforts to combat and contain multi-drug resistant infections in many different countries.  (I also realized that many European countries are still struggling to raise their healthcare worker influenza vaccination rates over 40 or 50%!)  In addition, Kristy Weinshel, SHEA executive director, and I met with leaders from WHO to discuss how SHEA can best support WHO efforts to improve infection prevention and antimicrobial usage around the world.  We discussed training courses to develop local expertise in resource limited countries, continued engagement of past participants in SHEA’s International Ambassador program, and adaptation of infection prevention guidance for these challenging settings.

In New York city, at an event sponsored by CDC, ASM, the Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust, we heard from DHHS Secretary Azar, a young man who survived a multi-drug resistant infection after a train accident in India, “England’s CMO” Dame Sally Davies and others about the risks of continued antimicrobial overuse in agriculture and in medicine.  The night also included multi-media artworks including comic books about a post-antibiotic apocalyptic future, ‘petri dish’ microbial art including a street map of NYC and Van Gogh’s sunflowers, textiles stained with bacterial growth and the picture above  Many countries, individuals, companies and organizations were there to celebrate progress since last year’s commitment in The AMR Challenge and to re-commit to continued progress. 

One of SHEA’s commitments is to expand scholarships in order to continue to grow the community of experts that can improve the appropriate use of antimicrobials in human populations.  These scholarships are used to support education for physicians, pharmacists and other providers who are involved in stewardship research or practice.  Since 2015, SHEA members have raised over $30,000 through our annual Race AgainstResistance, originally conceived by Judy Guzman-Cottrill and carried forward by David Calfee.  Due in part to support from all of you, last year I was the leading fundraiser, without running a step!  This year my speed reading team of 1 (me!) is in 4th place behind some stiff competition from actual athletes.

Now’s your chance to help!  Donate to the Race Against Resistance (pick any team)! Help fight the spread of antimicrobial resistance!  Help SHEA fund colleagues building skills in antimicrobial stewardship research and clinical practice!  Help prove that you don’t have to be an athlete to raise money (look for the team picture that is a book and a cocktail)!

Hope to see many of you at IDWeek next week! 


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