Convening Stakeholders to Discuss Antimicrobial Stewardship Research

By Tim Kurt, D.V.M., Ph.D., FFAR Scientific Program Director

One Health Day was November 3, 2017, and FFAR kicked off the celebration a day early by partnering with the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) at the Antibiotic Stewardship Symposium in Herndon, VA. For three days, veterinarians, researchers, public health experts, livestock producers, and representatives from the animal health industry and Federal and state agencies came together to discuss antibiotic stewardship and its role in the economic and social sustainability of livestock production. FFAR staff attended the symposium to explore research gaps in antibiotic stewardship and farm management practices, and to support collaborative efforts to address these issues. At the conclusion of the symposium, on November 2, FFAR hosted a workshop that focused on identifying area for collaborative research towards enhancing antimicrobial stewardship in livestock production.

FFAR Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey started the workshop with an introduction to FFAR, followed by Dr. H. Morgan Scott, a professor at Texas A&M, who presented a talk titled “Mitigating the Spread of Residues and Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in the Environment.” Dr. Scott described work to elucidate the spread of Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg in a closed community. His results have informed surveillance efforts and the ability to predict infectious disease outbreaks.

Dr. Peter Davies, a professor at the University of Minnesota, next presented a talk on microbial selection pressures and food safety. Dr. Davies explored the complexity of antimicrobial resistance - a concept that involves living systems influenced by abiotic factors. He emphasized environmental components of antimicrobial resistance and food safety, which are often overlooked, and suggested that we need to better define selection pressures and quantification of antibiotic use to truly understand the impacts of antibiotic use and reduction.

Both Drs. Morgan and Davies discussed challenges to antibiotic stewardship, which provided a segue into small-group discussions of research needs in this area. It was exciting to see that thought-leaders from diverse backgrounds share a common goal of improved antibiotic stewardship. The discussions were very productive and resulted in many recommendations for research that could be supported by FFAR. We look forward to continuing this conversation with potential partners from industry, academic, government and non-governmental organizations as we develop an initiative to support antimicrobial stewardship research.

Special thanks to Derecka Alexander for contributing to this post.

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About the Author

Dr. Tim Kurt, D.V.M., Ph.D., joined the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research in October 2016 as a Scientific Program Director. Dr. Kurt manages the Protein Challenge, a research portfolio in support of FFAR efforts to enhance and improve the environmental, economic and social sustainability of diverse proteins for a growing global population. He also oversees the Rapid Outcomes from Agricultural Research (ROAR) program, which awards grants for research to prevent and/or mitigate agricultural pest or pathogen outbreaks. Dr.  Kurt received his D.V.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado State University.

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