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Archives - Resistance Fighter

Winter 2014

Resistance Fighter

Date: February 1, 2014

“We’ve got patients in our hospitals for whom we have no treatment options now,” says Srinivasan.
“We’ve got patients in our hospitals for whom we have no treatment options now,” says Srinivasan.

Since joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2003, Arjun Srinivasan has been dedicated to helping hospitals improve their use of antibiotics, in an effort to decrease the health care burden of multidrug-resistant organisms.

“We’ve got patients in our hospitals for whom we have no treatment options now,” he says. “And we don’t have new antibiotics coming any time soon that are going to solve that problem for us. It’s a public health crisis.”

A captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, Srinivasan is the associate director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs in the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. He’s charged with overseeing and coordinating state health department activities related to health care-associated infections, and he helps think of ways to improve antibiotic use in inpatient facilities. In one project, he and others are developing an electronic monitoring system to collect information on antibiotic resistance from hospitals. “CDC’s emphasis is trying to promote better use of antibiotics because we know that one of the things we can do to help slow the development of this resistance is to do a much better job in using the antibiotics that we actually have available to us now,” Srinivasan says.

Srinivasan was an intern, resident, and fellow in Johns Hopkins’ Department of Medicine from 1996 to 2001, then served as an assistant professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division. In 2001 he founded Hopkins’ antibiotic stewardship program—an initiative aimed at coordinating interventions to improve and measure the appropriate use of antibiotics—and served as the associate hospital epidemiologist.

At the CDC, Srinivasan has led more than 35 investigations of disease outbreaks, resulting in changes to national policy and guidelines regarding the prevention of health care-associated infections. In 2008, he became medical director for CDC’s Get Smart for Healthcare initiative, a program designed to improve the use of antimicrobials in inpatient health care facilities.

“My fundamental goal would be to see that every hospital in America has an antibiotic stewardship program,” he says. “If we could get there, then we really could make a big difference.” KB