Antimicrobial Stewardship’s Role in Preventing AMR


Sam Aitken, PharmD, president-elect of the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists (SIDP), discusses how this strategy is one significant part of a complex puzzle to decrease antimicrobial resistance.

Various stakeholders involved in efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR) agree there is no one size-fits-all approach to it. Rather, it will take a multipronged approach with different key stakeholders doing their parts in their areas of expertise to piece together elements that can be a patchwork approach to reducing AMR.

For example, for infectious disease clinicians, antimicrobial stewardship is a significant piece of the AMR pie they have taken ownership of, as they continue to work towards judicious use of antimicrobials to care for their patients as well as work with their colleagues to strive to achieve this.

“Stewardship is certainly something that's foremost on our minds within the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists in the United States. And that cannot be understated how important antimicrobial stewardship is,” Sam Aitken, PharmD, clinical pharmacist specialist, Infectious Diseases, adjunct clinical professor of Pharmacy at the University of Michigan, said.

In addition to his work at the University of Michigan, Aitken is the president-elect of the Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists (SIDP) and will take on the new role come November. He reinforces the organization’s traditional role in its work on antimicrobial stewardship and AMR.

“We're perhaps most well-known for doing antimicrobial stewardship, and I want to continue to emphasize that,” Aitken said.

Socioeconomics Inform AMR Strategies on a Local Level

Aitken concurs with the multipronged approach to decreasing AMR and says it needs to be done on a country-by-country basis, depending on the needs of the local populace.

“It [antimicrobial stewardship] really is just one facet of it. There are infection prevention practices that need to be buttressed and improved throughout the United States and the world,” Aitken said, “And certainly in developing countries, there are going to be unique solutions that are not necessarily relevant in the United States. So, we need to solve poverty from the ground up; we need to solve food inequity from the ground up—things that you might not think of as being inherently linked into microbial resistance absolutely need to be fixed. It's complex solutions, requiring many people from various walks of life working on those.”

The recent World AMR Congress in Philadelphia had clinicians, industry representatives, and other key stakeholders come together to meet and discuss this significant issue.

Aitken participated in a fireside chat about reducing health disparities by increasing antimicrobial stewardship. He points to a major hotspot in the world—the war in Ukraine—as an example of how AMR may occur within a specific geographic location, but the effects of multidrug resistant infections can spread across borders.

“There are a lot of the folks who are injured fighting in that war, and they are suffering from incredibly impossible to treat infections,” Aitken said. “So this really limits our ability to perform medicine as we know it; if we do not come up with a solution to the AMR crisis.”

Contagion spoke to Aitken at the World AMR Congress about addressing antimicrobial stewardship and the work he would like to do during his tenure as president of SIDP.

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