The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has designated The Ohio State University Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) as an International Reference Centre for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This designation recognizes the global impact of Ohio State’s comprehensive clinical, research, and education programs addressing antimicrobial use, resistance, and stewardship. The Ohio State IDI is the only institution in the Pan-American region to receive this prestigious designation and is one of only five FAO AMR reference centers designated worldwide. Dr. Thomas Wittum, professor and chair of the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, will lead the international AMR reference center at Ohio State as co-director of the IDI’s AMR thematic programs.
Antimicrobial use, resistance, and stewardship are critically important veterinary and public health issues. The UN has called the problem of antimicrobial resistance a “global health emergency” because many antibiotics are no longer effective in treating life-threatening infections. Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine faculty and staff are providing leadership in finding effective solutions to the problem through the college’s Infectious Disease Signature Program. For example, the college has implemented a comprehensive antimicrobial stewardship program in Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center designed to protect patients and train future veterinarians to confidently make judicious decisions regarding antibiotic prescribing in their clinical practice. In addition, College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members are actively engaged in basic and translational research to identify effective antibiotic alternatives, and in applied field research around Ohio and the US investigating the factors influencing the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in pets, in livestock and poultry on farms, and in the environment using a One Health approach.
One Health represents the concept that the health of people, animals, and the environment are all interconnected. “Antimicrobial resistance is also a critical One Health issue that threatens animal and human health and food safety in the US and around the world” according to Dr. Rustin Moore, dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “This designation by the UN FAO recognizes the valuable and highly regarded work being accomplished by scientists and educators at Ohio State.” Research and outreach activities at Ohio State related to antimicrobial resistance are supported through competitive funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture among others, as well as funding from the college.
The College of Veterinary Medicine, through its work with the IDI and the Infectious Disease Signature Program, is committed to finding One Health solutions to solving the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Ohio State experts working collaboratively through the IDI on the problem of antibiotic resistance include not only veterinarians but also physicians, pharmacists, nurses, microbiologists, food scientists, animal scientists, and public health specialists, among others. Dr. Mike Oglesbee, director of the Ohio State Infectious Diseases Institute and professor in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences explained that “The IDI was created to help scientists at Ohio State work together to find innovative solutions to solve our most serious global infectious disease problems like antimicrobial resistance.”
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the great public health challenges of our time” according to Dr. Amy Fairchild, dean of The Ohio State University College of Public Health. “Finding solutions is an urgent public health priority that needs this type of collaborative global approach.” As an International Reference Center for AMR, scientists in the Ohio State IDI will partner with the UN FAO to raise global awareness of AMR, develop laboratory and surveillance capability worldwide, support national policy development, identify effective antibiotic alternatives, and promote good antibiotic use practices. Research, policies, and guidance documents generated throughout this collaboration will positively impact animal and public health locally, nationally, and globally.