The University of Alabama at Birmingham and UAB Medicine have been awarded the designation of an Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. This designation ranks UAB among just 100 other programs nationwide.
It is given to stewardship programs led by physicians and pharmacists trained in infectious diseases who advance science in antimicrobial resistance and have achieved standards aligned with evidence-based national guidelines, such as the IDSA-SHEA guidelines and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Core Elements.
“Antimicrobial stewardship is essential to control the use of antibiotics, reduce rates of antimicrobial resistance and costs of therapy, and limit adverse events,” said Peter Pappas, M.D., professor in UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases. “This IDSA designation signifies that UAB’s antimicrobial stewardship program is robust, has strong administrative and faculty support, and exceeds criteria established by the CDC and IDSA, which constitute a successful program.”
Effective antimicrobial stewardship programs create a safer hospital and outpatient environment for patients and health care workers, with the goal of fewer hospital-acquired infections due to multidrug-resistant germs.
While antibiotics are essential to modern medicine and can be lifesaving medications, they become less effective for everyone the more they are used and may cause unwanted side effects. For that reason, antimicrobial stewardship programs focus efforts on improving how antimicrobial agents are used in order to take better care of patients and to minimize negative effects of antibiotic use, such as side effects or the development of a new or difficult-to-treat infection.
“It is a great honor to receive this designation, and it helps us continue to set the bar higher to better serve our patients,” said Matt Brown, Pharm.D., antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist in the Department of Pharmacy at UAB Medicine. “Antimicrobial stewardship is a multidisciplinary, team effort involving infectious diseases physicians, pharmacists, infection preventionists, microbiologists, nurses, informaticists and essentially all front-line providers. At UAB, we are fortunate to have the expertise and assistance of each of these disciplines, all working toward the common goal of providing higher-quality, safer health care for our patients.”