"5 Questions" with Antibiotic Resistance Experts!

There are many great researchers, organizations and community leaders committed to addressing antibiotic resistance. Below we spotlight a few of these leaders and their years of exceptional work and proven progress!

"5 Questions" with Antibiotic Resistance Experts!

There are many great researchers, organizations and community leaders committed to addressing antibiotic resistance. Below we spotlight a few of these leaders and their years of exceptional work and proven progress!

Five Questions: Chain Reaction VI

In mid-July, we issued a report that graded fast food and fast casual restaurant chains on the antibiotic use policies and practices behind the beef served in their restaurants. Six organizations co-authored the Chain Reaction VI report: Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, Food Animals Concerns Trust (FACT), Natural Resources Defense Council, US PIRG, and ARAC. We were pleased to interview the report's lead author, Steven Roach, Safe and Health Food Program Director for FACT, who takes us through the good, the bad and the ugly of this year's report.

5-Questions: Maryland PIRG

We’ve been working with MD PIRG since 2017. The organization led the charge in passing legislation in Maryland that disallows the inappropriate use of antibiotics in food animal production. It’s the strongest law in the nation. Maryland recently released a state report showing how antibiotics were used on farms. We love this! Until now, no one has ever had access to such data as the US government doesn’t require reporting. So we asked Emily Scarr, Director of MD PIRG, to tell us more about her organization and this big legislative win.

Five Questions: World Animal Protection

We love working with World Animal Protection (WAP) because they carry out amazing work! In April, WAP issued results from two research studies that we believe fit well in our 5-Question series. WAP tested groundwater and soil near industrial pig farms in four countries (including the United States). Alarmingly (but not surprisingly), they found antibiotic-resistant genes near and around these industrial farms in all four countries: more evidence as to how these large farms are contributing to the global antibiotic-resistance crisis we are facing.

Five Questions: Comedian Robert Mac

On April 1, we launched the first video (see below for more information and to watch it!) in our new series using humor to help educate more people on the dangers of antibiotic resistance. We partnered with Washington, DC-based comedian Robert Mac, who has been a fellow with our center for nearly a year. We interviewed Robert for our 5-Questions series. We hope you will want to learn more about our partnership, how we work together and how Robert is able to cleverly highlight important societal issues using humor.

Five Questions: State of the World's Antibiotics in 2021

In February 2021, researchers at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) released, The State of the World’s Antibiotics in 2021, which presents extensive data on global antimicrobial use and resistance. The report is a mix of good and bad news on antibiotic use in people and food animals, though alarmingly, the researchers say in the report: “antibiotic consumption is likely to increase worldwide by 200 percent between 2015 and 2030.” We were excited to have the opportunity to interview CDDEP’s executive director, Ramanan Laxminarayan on this important report.

Five Questions: Recombinant Films' Documentary on Antibiotic Resistance

This month we were pleased to interview Bill Mudge, who is the director and co-producer of the brand new documentary "Beating Superbugs: Can We Win?" The film focuses on patients, doctors, and research scientists as well as government and economic representatives, all who outline solutions to the increasing health crisis of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The film features an array of experts including our director, Dr. Lance B. Price!

Five Questions: #ResistTheResistance

We love connecting with others who share our passion for educating people on the dangers of antibiotic resistance. So we were particularly pleased when Dr. Parshad Mehta from Ahmedabad, India, reached out to us to tell us about a public awareness campaign he recently launched with a colleague to raise awareness in India on antibiotic resistance. In the interview, he tell us: "As I dug deep, I discovered that the problem is really serious and imminent steps are required to curb the problem, which in turn made me really inclined on the subject of antibiotic resistance."

Five Questions: Peggy Lillis Foundation

November is C. Diff Awareness Month and we are pleased to have been able to interview Christian Lillis who is the executive director of the Peggy Lillis Foundation. He and his brother founded the organization after their mother, Peggy, died after contracting C-Diff while in the hospital. C. Diff is short for clostridium difficile and it is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in healthcare settings. C. diff causes nearly 500,000 infections every year, and 29,000 deaths. To honor those affected by C. Diff, the Peggy Lillis Foundation has launched a month-long social media campaign to raise awareness of this preventable, but too often deadly disease.

Five Questions: World Animal Protection

On World Food Day (Oct. 16th), World Animal Protection (WAP) released results from a survey on global knowledge and attitudes about antibiotic use in farm animals after polling more than 15,000 people in  15 countries -- including the United States. So, this month we interviewed Cameron Harsh, farming campaign manager, from WAP to learn more about the survey and how the results can help reform of antibiotic use in farming globally.

Five Questions: Sydney Riess, U.S. PIRG

This month we interviewed Sydney Riess, a new fellow for U.S. PIRG, who will be taking the lead on their campaign to end the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in food animal production for the next year. Sydney will work closely with Matthew Wellington who directs PIRG's public health campaigns and is the co-host of our joint podcast, Superbugs Unplugged. Read the interview to learn more about Sydney and how she came to work on such an important public health issue. She also outlines some of the work she will champion over the next 12 months to help to improve antibiotic use policies both in the U.S, government and in U.S. companies.

Five Questions: Dr. Carla Brown, Game Doctor

We love hearing about novel approaches to educating the public about the dangers of superbugs. That’s why we were excited to learn about Game Doctor, a Scotland-based educational studio using digital mediums, like mobile games, for science and health learning. We interviewed the founder of Game Doctor, Dr. Carla Brown, to learn how her team works to educate the public about the antibiotic resistance crisis and other health topics and how gamification of public health learning ensures the games they produce are educational and genuinely fun.

Five Questions: Better Burgers Report

In June 2020, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released their report “Better Burgers: Why It’s High Time the U.S. Beef Industry Kicked Its Antibiotics Habit” to provide insight on how the beef industry’s routine and often unnecessary use of antibiotics is contributing to the antibiotic resistance crisis.  We interviewed NRDC’s Senior Health Officer Dr. David Wallinga to hear more about their findings and why major changes are needed to reform this sector.

Five Questions: Iceland Consortium

We're excited to announce the formation of an interdisciplinary, international consortium that will study antimicrobial resistance in Iceland, a unique and ideal location to study this growing public health threat. The consortium will undertake a national scale One Health study to advance our understanding of how antimicrobial-resistant bacteria from environmental sources, such as food and food animals, could impact human health. Dr. Cindy Liu, ARAC's chief medical officer, gives the full details on this important new research project.

Five Questions: Chain Reaction V

Today marks the release of Chain Reaction V -- a report that ranks America’s 25 largest fast food and fast casual restaurants on their antibiotic use policies and practices in their meat and poultry supply chains. The report, first issued in 2015, was produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumer Reports, Center for Food Safety, Food Animal Concerns Trust, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and as a brand new co-author ARAC! We interviewed Meg Bohne from Consumer Reports who tells us about the importance of this new report.

Five Questions: Global Pneumonia Research

This month we interviewed Dr. Laura Hammitt who is an Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She served as a co-author of a Lancet paper published this summer on the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) study that was conducted in seven countries and found the majority of cases of pneumonia in children are caused by viruses -- not bacteria. This finding is important because 100+ million cases of pneumonia are reported worldwide every year in children five years old or younger — killing 900,000. Researchers say the study highlights the need for new vaccines to protect children from this dangerous infection.

Five Questions: Humane Society International

We love working with our partners and collaborators. We've recently started working with Humane Society International (HSI) and their Global Farm Animal program which focuses on ending the cruelest practices on factory farms abroad as well as implementing plant-based solutions as alternatives to animal products.  Their work is lead by our long-time friend, Julie Janovsky, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection. She's been leading their work for the past nine-months when she joined HSI after leading a host of campaign efforts for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Five Questions: The Antibiotic Footprint

You’ve heard about the carbon footprint and its impact on climate change, but what about the antibiotic footprint? We are excited to introduce to you this new concept, which is a communications tool created by antibiotic resistance experts, including Peter Collignon, infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital in Australia, to educate the public on antibiotic resistance and ultimately minimize overuse and misuse. Dr. Collignon was kind enough to answer this month's 5-questions series.

Erika Kurt

Five Questions: Small World Initiative

We were so pleased to be introduced recently to the Small World Initiative (R) (SWI). SWI encourages students to pursue careers in science and increases scientific literacy while addressing the global public health threat of antibiotic resistance and the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics. SWI has trained instructors at more than 300 undergraduate institutions and high schools across 42 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 12 countries.

Five Questions: The Perfect Predator

We were excited to learn more about this new book, The Perfect Predator - A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug by Steffanie Strathdee and Tom Patterson, both renowned scientists at the University of California, San Diego. We first became aware of Dr. Strathdee though Twitter (@chngin_the_wrld) where she routinely highlights global health issues, including antibiotic resistance. So, when we heard about their first-hand experience in fighting a deadly superbug, we knew we had to interview Steffanie and learn more!

Five Questions: Superheroes Against Superbugs

Children can change the world! So that’s why we were excited to meet the creators of Superheroes Against Superbugs, a program in India that aims to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and superbugs and change behavior through comic books designed by children. Superheroes Against Superbugs was developed in collaboration with the WellcomeTrust/DBT India Alliance. We interviewed Ponnari Gottipati and Sarah Iqbal, the leaders of Superheroes Against Superbugs to learn more about their important work!

Five Questions: Steve Roach, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)

A recent report, Stuffed: The Use of Antibiotics and Other Drugs in the U.S. Turkey Industry, highlights the antibiotics policies of the top 20 turkey producers in the United States. The report, written by Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) was first released in November 2015 and updated in November 2018. We talked to Steven Roach, FACT’s Food Safety Program Director and co-author of the report.

Five Questions: Dr. Lauri Hicks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, which will be observed November 12-18, 2018, is a key component of the CDC's work to combat antibiotic resistance by improving antibiotic use in people and food animals. We interviewed Dr. Lauri Hicks, a medical epidemiologist in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at CDC. Since 2008, Dr. Hicks has been the medical director for the “Be Antibiotics Aware” program, which aims to educate healthcare providers and the public about appropriate antibiotic use. In 2015, she became the director for CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship to improve integration of stewardship across the spectrum of healthcare.

Five Questions: Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition Report & Scorecard

Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition is a recently released report that ranks America’s 25 largest fast food and fast casual restaurants on their antibiotic use policies and practices in their meat supply chain. The report, first issued in 2015, was produced by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Food Safety, Food Animal Concerns Trust, and Consumer Reports. We talked to the authors of the report to learn more about their findings.

Five Questions: Dr. Lance B. Price, Antibiotic Resistance Action Center

We’re doing something a little different this month! We’re interviewing our Director, Dr. Lance B. Price about a new paper, he and his colleagues recently published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal mBio. The study, “Escherichia coli ST131-H22 as a Foodborne Uropathogen,” highlights how an E. coli strain from retail poultry may cause urinary tract infections in people. Read the interview below to learn more about what this means and why it’s so significant.

Five Questions: Matt Wellington & Shelby Luce, U.S. PIRG

Largely driven by consumer demand, many major food companies have committed to responsible antibiotic use policies — changes that will help address the antibiotic resistance crisis. One group helping lead marketplace change is U.S. PIRG, which has helped use market-based pressure to convince leading food companies such as McDonald’s, Subway and KFC to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics from their meat supply chains. Learn more about their current activities focused on encouraging McDonald’s to expand its U.S. chicken policy (which disallows the use of medically important antibiotics) to beef  to help drive change in the marketplace.

Five Questions: Laurel Stoimenoff, Urgent Care Association

You’ve probably been to an urgent care clinic. It’s a rapidly growing segment of the healthcare industry that sees 65-80 million patient visits each year. ARAC formed a partnership with the Urgent Care Association (UCA) in 2016 to promote antibiotic stewardship in the sector — action that could help slow the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. In announcing our partnership, UCA said: “We want to do more than just our part in helping achieve this goal. We want to lead the way.” We talked to Laurel Stoimenoff, CEO of the Urgent Care Association to learn more about antibiotic stewardship in urgent care.

Five Questions: Dr. David Wallinga, NRDC

There’s been a great deal of progress in reducing antibiotic use in the poultry industry and now public health experts are urging the beef and pork sectors to follow suit. Enter, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit that has worked since 1970 to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC has recently released a new issue brief, “Better Bacon: Why It’s High Time the U.S. Pork Industry Stopped Pigging Out on Antibiotics.” We talked to NRDC’s Senior Health Officer Dr. David Wallinga to find out what inspired this new report.

Five Questions: Suzi Shingler, Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, UK

We talk a lot about what is going on in the U.S., but we also love the opportunity to spotlight our colleagues around the world! This month we interviewed the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, a coalition of health, medical, farming, environmental and civil society organizations from across the European Union. Campaign Manager Suzi Shingler discusses the Alliance’s work calling on the United Kingdom, food retailers and European policymakers to protect antibiotics.

Five Questions: Ramanan Laxminarayan, CDDEP

A fantastic perk of our work? Working with leading researchers around the world! One such researcher is Ramanan Laxminarayan, founder and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP). CDDEP and its colleagues recently published a paper that highlights how global consumption of antibiotics is skyrocketing, further driving antibiotic resistance. We interviewed Dr. Laxminarayan to get his take on their latest report and what the world can do to tackle antibiotic resistance.

Alicia LaPorte

Five Questions: Alicia LaPorte, Fair Farms

ARAC works with a wide network of organizations in the U.S. and globally. One such group is Fair Farms, a coalition of environmental and public health groups, businesses, consumers, and farmers committed to a sustainable food system. ARAC recently joined the new campaign, Fair Farms Fair Choices campaign, an effort to get Mid-Atlantic grocery chain Weis Markets to help fight drug-resistant superbugs by changing their store brand chicken from Sanderson Farms to a brand that has better antibiotic policies. Alicia LaPorte, Campaign Manager for Fair Farms, explains their latest campaign focused on addressing antibiotic resistance and battling superbugs.

Five Questions: Gina Asoudegan, Applegate

One simple way people can help fight antibiotic resistance is by voting with your fork and purchasing meat raised without antibiotic misuse. That’s why we love to spotlight companies and farmers who are committed to raising livestock without antibiotics (as well as those who use antibiotics responsibly). One such company is Applegate - a natural and organic meat company that makes hot dogs, bacon, deli meat, sausage and corn dogs, among other things! Gina Asoudegan, Senior Director of Mission for Applegate, answers this month edition of Five Questions and explains why they are Food Rebels with A Cause!

Five Questions: Dr. Tara Smith

Ever wonder what zombies and infectious diseases have in common? Dr. Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at the Kent State University College of Public Health and one of our frequent research collaborators explains! Dr. Smith's research generally focuses on zoonotic infections (infections which are transferred between animals and humans). She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the United States. Dr. Smith has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers and has been profiled in many major media outlets.

Five Questions: Sara Kenney, Comic Creator, Surgeon X

Here at the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, we firmly believe that creative communication is critical to improving understanding of the superbug crisis and prompting action. That’s why we were thrilled when Surgeon X, a comic book series by Image Comics and the creative mind of Sara Kenney, was published. The tragic heroine, Rosa Scott, is a surgeon gone rogue, bucking unjust antibiotic rationing rules, treating patients with black-market drugs, and all the while trying to solve the mystery behind her altruistic mother’s mysterious death and potential key to beating superbugs.

Five Questions: Tharini Sathiamoorthy, Associate Vice President of AdvaMedDx

A critical component in any strategy to reduce antibiotic resistance is diagnostic tests, which are ordered by healthcare professionals to help determine what’s making a person sick. Diagnostic tests can help clinicians decide whether an antibiotic will cure an infection and which specific drug will work best. ARAC has partnered with AdvaMedDx, an organization representing the diagnostic community, to highlight the need for ​the ​better use of, and investments in, diagnostic tests to help reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

Five Questions: Georgina Crayford, Senior Policy Adviser, at the UK National Pig Association

We are very impressed with news that the United Kingdom has decreased its antibiotic use in its pork and poultry sectors. Earlier this summer we met Georgina Crayford, a 2017 Nuffield Farming Scholar and Senior Policy Adviser, at the UK National Pig Association. Dr. Crayford is traveling around the world to conduct research on antibiotic stewardship best practices, and then she’ll share her first-hand knowledge with the UK farming community. She provided an interesting perspective of what is happening in Europe that we thought you would find interesting too.

Five Questions: Maryn McKenna, Journalist

Maryn McKenna is an award-winning journalist and the author of two critically acclaimed books, Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. On September 12, 2017 she launches her third book, Big Chicken. This book tells the story of how antibiotics helped fuel modern agriculture and changed the way the world eats. Her 2015 TED talk, "What Do We Do When Antibiotics Don't Work Anymore?" has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

Five Questions: Paul Willis of Niman Ranch

We’ve said it countless times -- it’s more important than ever for consumers to support farmers and ranchers who raise their livestock without antibiotic overuse. That’s why we love the opportunity to spotlight companies and farmers who are doing just that. One such company is Niman Ranch.

Five Questions: Dr. Evgeni Sokurenko on Bacterial “Fingerprinting” Technology

Dr. Evgeni Sokurenko is an ARAC research collaborator who runs ID Genomics, a new Seattle-based start-up, that has developed a 30-minute diagnostic test that identifies a bacteria’s exact “fingerprint” and provides prescribers the information they need to select the correct antibiotic.

Q & A with Dr. Peter Collignon

Peter Collignon, M.D., a prominent antibiotic resistance expert and infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital in Australia, served as a visiting scholar with ARAC in 2016. In this Q & A, Dr. Collignon answers some pressing questions on antibiotic resistance and the role everyone has to play in combating this global threat.