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Prevention Research: Helping Hospitals Stop Spread of Bacteria, Protecting Patients and Staff

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
John Jernigan, M.D.
John Jernigan, M.D.

Author: John Jernigan, MD
Director of the Office of Prevention Research and Evaluation, CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

Every day, patients get infections in healthcare facilities while they are being treated for something else. Unfortunately, these infections can have devastating emotional, financial, and medical effects. Collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and academic medical leaders is vital to stay ahead of the spread of germs in healthcare facilities.

Toward that end, CDC has named six additional academic institutions to join the CDC Prevention Epicenters (PE) Program, a hub of on-the-ground patient safety work. This unique research initiative allows CDC experts to collaborate with academic investigators to conduct innovative infection control and prevention research, uncovering ways to help hospitals stop spread of bacteria, protecting patients and staff.

In the past, CDC has supported up to five Prevention Epicenters, but the addition of new centers now expands the program to 11 institutions. These new institutions will focus on interactions between healthcare workers, patients, personal protective equipment, and the healthcare environment. These new six institutions include:

  • Emory University
  • The Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • University of Utah

The expansion of research opportunities is made possible by awarding $11 million to the institutions to join the PE Program. The projects will include:

  • Determining which patient risk factors and healthcare worker-patient interactions lead to greater spread of infections in healthcare facilities.
  • Understanding risk factors for healthcare workers self-contaminating themselves while taking off personal protective equipment (PPE) and whether there are methods to better protect them during this process.
  • Studying how spread of germs from environmental surfaces in healthcare facilities can be effectively prevented.
  • Using computer modeling to better understand how germs spread in healthcare facilities.

The PE Program began in 1997 as a way to work directly with a network of medical academic centers to address important scientific questions regarding prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), antibiotic resistance, and other healthcare-associated adverse events. This collaborative research has resulted in findings that have improved patient safety, and the program will continue to work towards the prevention of HAIs and other adverse health outcomes.

We have a responsibility to protect patients from HAIs and to prevent the devastating emotional, financial, and medical effects. The PE program gives us a unique opportunity to do just that.

To learn more, visit:
CDC’s Prevention Epicenters Program website
CDC’s Patient Safety webpage

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

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