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$10 Million Dollars to Save Countless Lives

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
John A. Jernigan, MD, MS
John A. Jernigan, MD, MS

Author – John Jernigan, M.D.
CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

Today, I am proud to announce that my office is awarding $10 million for new research to five academic medical centers as part of our Prevention Epicenter grant program.  This program supports efforts to develop and test innovative approaches to reducing infections in healthcare settings. It is more than research – we are taking novel discoveries and translating them into clinical practice.  These efforts save lives.

We founded the Prevention Epicenter program in 1997.  CDC staff work closely with academic investigators to discover solutions, and refine them so they can work to prevent infections for all healthcare settings.  It has been thrilling over the years to watch the innovations in infection prevention that have come out of this program.  Some of our biggest breakthroughs in infection prevention and strategies to save lives have been rooted in research of the Prevention Epicenter program.

Some of the breakthroughs that I have been particularly proud of are:

  • using skin antiseptic in routine bathing of patients to prevent HAIs, including the use of chlorhexidine to prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infections,
  • developing cutting edge methods for detecting HAIs such as using computer algorithms to detect  bloodstream infections, and
  • pioneering a new method for determining the effectiveness of HAI prevention strategies among a large group of hospitals. 

I am excited to continue our important work with the Epicenters investigators, and look forward to further advancements in HAI prevention.  The institutions participating in the 2011 Prevention Epicenter Program, representing affiliated hospitals are:

  • Chicago Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention Epicenter (CARPE)
    • Cook County Health and Hospital System
  • Rush University Duke University Prevention Epicenter
    • Duke University
  • Eastern Massachusetts Prevention Epicenter
    •  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Adult and Pediatric Prevention Epicenter Network
    • University of Pennsylvania
  • Washington University and BJC Epi-Center for Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections
    • Washington University

In this round of funding, we are expanding our efforts to include:

  • the use of combinations of bleach and ultraviolet light to clean hospital rooms to help prevent infection,
  • new tests that help distinguish patients who need antibiotics from those who  don’t, as a means to prevent antibiotic- resistant infections,
  • methods that can help doctors anticipate when medical devices being used to treat a patient are on the verge of causing an infection, so that device-associated infections can be averted before they begin, and
  • treating patients with living microorganisms that are harmless to the patient but compete with harmful germs, as a means of preventing health care-associated infections.

We will  be providing more regular updates on the research coming out of these institutions through this blog and our Prevention Epicenter website.  In the meantime, tell us your thoughts.

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

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