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Marshall University to establish statewide antimicrobial stewardship program

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) has awarded a grant to the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine to facilitate the creation of a statewide, outpatient antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP) that encourages appropriate antibiotic use for children and adults across West Virginia. These efforts will be led by Marshall’s pediatric infectious disease experts, Assistant Professors Jacob T. Kilgore, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., and Mariana Lanata, M.D., F.A.A.P. 

Through this program, Marshall will facilitate sustainable, evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship interventions throughout West Virginia that equip outpatient providers with the tools and metrics necessary to affect patients by becoming a resource to other providers outside their community. This data-driven approach aims to improve antibiotic prescribing practices to more effectively treat infections, enhance patient safety and help slow the spread of antibiotic resistance. 

West Virginia consistently ranks first nationally for per capita antibiotic prescription rates in both pediatric and adult outpatient populations. Antibiotic stewardship efforts like this new initiative seek to measure and improve how antibiotics are prescribed by physicians and used by patients. Inpatient ASPs are well established and studied. However, most antimicrobial prescriptions occur in outpatient settings, yet optimal stewardship strategies in the outpatient setting remain understudied and likely vary by provider setting, patient population and unique sociodemographic factors.

“Many West Virginia medical providers are faced with unique circumstances when it comes to navigating the nuances of rural health,” said Lanata, who also serves as medical director of antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention at Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital. “Clinicians do so much for our communities already, often with limited support. This exciting and important new program is an opportunity to provide a useful tool, not only for medical providers but for West Virginia families. We want to be their allies, working together to improve prescriptions rates.”

Kilgore and Lanata have assembled a team of general pediatricians, other pediatric infectious diseases providers, clinical pharmacists and data analysts to develop and deliver program content. The team will also work closely with WVDHHR on educational resources and interventions.

“As a native West Virginian, proud graduate of Marshall University and former pediatric patient at the now Hoops Family Children’s Hospital, it’s an honor to serve the children of our state in this way,” Kilgore said. “Part of our mission as a community-based medical center is to empower and educate our patients and their families while simultaneously providing the most effective and evidence-based medical care available. This project has the potential to both fulfill our institutional goal and greatly enhance the care of patients. We are extremely thankful to WVDHHR for this opportunity and are confident our research team will work diligently to exceed expectations.” 

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Date Posted: Thursday, May 05, 2022