Analysis

Supermoms Against Superbugs

Advocates to gather in Washington to lobby for increased funding to combat antibiotic resistance

Mothers and fathers as well as farmers and doctors from across the county will meet with members of Congress and other policymakers in Washington Feb. 24-25 to share their personal experiences with antibiotic resistance and stewardship. Members of “Supermoms Against Superbugs” also will advocate for increased funding to combat the growing public health threat of drug-resistant bacterial infections. On February 24 from 10 to 11 a.m., the supermoms will participate in a congressional briefing with federal officials on key agency priorities for the fiscal year 2017 budget.

March marks one year since the White House released its five-year national action plan for addressing the urgent and serious threats from drug resistance that affect people in the U.S. and around the world. Successful implementation of this plan will require sustained funding year after year, as well as an ongoing bipartisan commitment from both Congress and the next president.

Meet the 2016 Supermoms and Superdads

John Baddley (Birmingham, Alabama): John W. Baddley, M.D., M.S.P.H., is a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He directs the infection control program at the Birmingham VA Medical Center and is director of transplant infectious diseases at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He graduated from Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans, where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. Baddley completed his fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and became a faculty member in 2002. He is an active clinician and researcher, focusing on infections in patients who are immunocompromised. He is co-director of the Birmingham VA Medical Center’s antimicrobial stewardship program, where he works to develop clinical guidelines that support antimicrobial stewardship and patient safety.

Susan Boyle Vavra (Chicago): Susan Boyle Vavra is a microbiologist and director of the MRSA Research Center Laboratory at the University of Chicago. A major goal of her research is to understand how pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. This information has been applied to the discovery of alternative antibiotics for use against MRSA. She believes increased funding is urgently needed for more research aimed at innovative antibiotic discovery as older antibiotics become ineffective.

Alicia Cole (Sherman Oaks, California): Alicia Cole is a nationally recognized patient safety advocate and survivor of multiple antibiotic-resistant, hospital-acquired infections, including near fatal sepsis and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). The fight to save her life included nine powerful antibiotics, six additional surgeries, near amputation of her leg, and an open abdomen for three years. Her story and advocacy work have been honored by President Barack Obama, and she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria task force. Cole also works with the California Department of Public Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Quality Forum, and Partnership for Patients. Between doctor appointments, she returned to school and earned a postgraduate certificate in health care management and leadership from the UCLA School of Public Health. Her mission is to partner with health policymakers, thought leaders, providers, and patients to transform the quality of care delivered to every patient, every time.

Kathy Eckhouse (Norwalk, Iowa): Kathy Eckhouse and her husband founded La Quercia, which sources all of its cured meats from pigs raised without antibiotics. She works in all aspects of the business: selecting and buying pork; salting, trimming, and handling hams; and leading the small group of dedicated staff who participate in the production. Eckhouse worked as a ranch hand and then researcher in agricultural economics at the University of California, Berkeley before she made homemaking and mothering her primary occupation. A longtime foodie (Berkeley-born and -raised) who lived in Europe for several years as a child and adolescent, she is the person her friends describe as the best cook they know. She adds intuition and a fine food sense developed through years of making bread and pasta, inventing recipes, and reading cookbooks.

Chandrabali Ghose (New York City): Chandrabali Ghose, Ph.D., is the chief scientific officer of Symbiotic Health, a New York biotech startup that aims to develop microbiome-based therapeutics to address critical public health challenges. She received her undergraduate education in biology and theology at St. Louis University and earned her doctorate in basic biomedical sciences from the Department of Microbiology at New York University. Ghose has published high-impact, peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and holds multiple patents related to Clostridium difficile infections. From 2013-15, she led research and development at the C. Diff Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness about C. difficile, and the diseases it causes, through education and advocacy.

Matthew Kronman (Seattle): Matthew Kronman is a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases who practices at Seattle Children’s Hospital/University of Washington. He trained at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington. His research interests focus on improving antibiotic prescribing for children, including understanding patterns of antibiotic overuse and decreasing this overuse among both hospitalized children and those in the community, identifying unintended consequences of antibiotic exposure, and evaluating alternative therapies that could be used in place of antibiotics.

Russ Kremer (Bonnots Mill, Missouri): Russ Kremer, aka the Pope of Pork, is a fifth-generation Missouri hog farmer and manager of Heritage Foods, a national processor, marketer, and distributor of natural and organic protein products. After a 1989 farm accident in which he contracted a dangerous antibiotic-resistant infection from his pigs, he became passionate about sustainable livestock production, including responsible antibiotic use. Kremer is the founding president of the Ozark Mountain Pork Cooperative, a network of nearly 100 small farmers raising their hogs humanely and sustainably. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri with degrees in animal husbandry and agriculture education.

Tom Lutsey (Green Bay, Wisconsin): Though trained as a businessman, Lutsey has always had a green thumb. It took a health scare in the early 2000s to rediscover his passion for agriculture and lean meats. He began raising healthy, organic beef for his own consumption, and with the assistance of his already certified-organic neighbor in Door County, the original herd grew from six head to 40. At that point, the search for his own farm began. He stumbled upon Waseda Farms and has since grown that small herd to approximately 600 cows, 300 pigs, 1,000 chickens, and 2,000 laying hens. He oversees the farm and store management, guides the direction of sales, and is final decision-maker at Waseda Farms.

Dana Mirman (Naples, Florida): Dana Mirman survived a life-threatening infection in December 2011 and credits her recovery to her doctors’ prompt diagnosis and the efficacy of the antibiotics they used to treat her. She is a writer, television producer, and public relations executive. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Binghamton University in New York; was an associate producer for ABC’s “20/20”; and has developed content for TLC, Animal Planet, National Geographic Wild, Discovery, and “The Montel Williams Show.” She is a member of the board of directors of Sepsis Alliance, the national nonprofit organization devoted to raising awareness of sepsis.

Jason Newland (Overland Park, Kansas): Jason Newland, M.D., M.Ed., F.P.I.D.S., obtained his bachelor’s degree in preprofessional studies at the University of Notre Dame in 1996 and medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 2000. He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Nebraska/Creighton Medical Centers in 2003 and fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2006, distinguishing himself with teaching awards at both the resident and fellow level. From 2006-15, he was a pediatric infectious diseases faculty member at Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri, where he developed and served as medical director of the antimicrobial stewardship program. Additionally while at Children’s Mercy, he was the inaugural medical director of patient safety and systems reliability. An active resident and faculty mentor, he has completed his master’s degree in education. Starting in 2016, Newland joined the faculty of Washington University as an associate professor of pediatrics and directs the antimicrobial stewardship program at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. His current research spotlights the use of antimicrobials and the impact of an antimicrobial stewardship program at a children’s hospital. He is a co-founder of the Sharing Antimicrobial Reports for Pediatric Stewardship (SHARPS) Collaborative for improving antimicrobial use in children that includes 42 children’s hospitals in the United States.

David Rosmann (Omaha): David Rosmann was born and raised on a certified organic farm in southwestern Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in public service and administration in agriculture. He works on the farm with his parents and younger brother and is proud to be a second-generation board member of Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Will Witherspoon (Chesterfield, Missouri): Will Witherspoon is a former St. Louis Rams linebacker and current sideline reporter for 101 ESPN and the Rams Radio Network. During his 12 seasons in the National Football League, four of them with the Rams, Witherspoon was known for more than his skills on the field. He routinely went above and beyond for his community and his fans through his charity work. During Witherspoon’s 12-year NFL career, he played for the Carolina Panthers (2002-05), St. Louis Rams (2006-9, 2013-14), Philadelphia Eagles (2009), and Tennessee Titans (2010-13). He retired from the NFL in 2014 to become a reporter. He owns Shire Gate Farm in Owensville, Missouri, which quickly set the industry’s highest standard for humanely raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free grass-fed beef.

Theo Zaoutis (Philadelphia): Theoklis Zaoutis, M.D., M.S.C.E., is the Thomas Frederick McNair Scott Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He is also senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Penn. Zaoutis directed the antimicrobial stewardship program at CHOP from 2004-10. He is the author of over 150 peer-reviewed articles and sits on numerous national and international committees. He is the principal investigator for a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) contract, which supports a randomized placebo controlled trial of short-course antibiotic therapy for urinary tract infections in children as a strategy to reduce antimicrobial resistance. He also serves as co-principal investigator of the first large resource study to be conducted by the newly formed Antimicrobial Leadership Group of NIAID, focusing on the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia. He has served as an expert consultant for the CDC for hospital-based antimicrobial surveillance, on the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act Prioritization Meeting NICHD Expert Review Panel, as a co-investigator at the Penn Centers for Education on Research and Therapeutics administered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and an associate editor for Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. Zaoutis is editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and directs the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness at the CHOP Research Institute. In 2009, he received the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Pediatric Investigator Award.

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