The University of Iowa Prevention Epicenter

First Funded: 2015

Overview: The Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship: Minding the Gaps: The Iowa Prevention Epicenter conducts research to find better ways to protect patients and healthcare workers from infection.

CDC Prevention Epicenters - innovative research to protect patients

About this Epicenter

The Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship: Minding the Gaps: The Iowa Prevention Epicenter projects range from basic research (translational stage “T0”) to community implementation (translational stage “T2”) and involve diverse healthcare settings, including academic medical centers, a Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, acute care hospitals, and quick and urgent care centers (UCC). Additionally, projects involve surgical patients, patients discharged from personal protective equipment hospitals, and healthcare personnel (HCP) exposed to viral respiratory pathogens.

The Epicenter’s long-term objectives are to:

  1. Improve:
    1. Integration of infection prevention measures into HCPs’ patient care processes
    2. Design and use to decrease HCP contamination and transmission
    3. Surveillance for healthcare-associated infections
    4. Antibiotic use and decrease antimicrobial resistance
  2. Identify practical ways to decrease the spread of viral pathogens
  3. Prevent hospital-onset sepsis and healthcare-associated infections, including surgical site infections

Core Research Study Areas

This work is done through research projects focused on:

  • Preventing healthcare personnel (HCP) contamination
  • Understanding and decreasing transmission of pathogens, such as COVID-19
  • Extending antimicrobial stewardship
  • Decreasing antimicrobial resistant infections
  • Exploring sepsis epidemiology and prevention
  • Quantifying and decreasing environmental contamination
  • Implementing a decolonization program to obtain source control and decrease surgical site infections
  • Applying innovative research methodology
  • Training the next generation of healthcare epidemiologists

These research goals are met are by:

  1. Using new phone technology to expand infection surveillance in asymptomatic patients after hospital discharge
  2. Identifying ways to prevent infections and infections that can lead to sepsis in hospitalized patients
  3. Improving antibiotic prescribing in urgent care clinics
  4. Improving antibiotic prescribing for patients at the time of discharge from the hospital
  5. Reducing the contamination between healthcare providers’ personal protective equipment and medical equipment they use

Core research study areas include:

  • Patient Care Processes and Infection Prevention: An Innovative Mixed-Method Approach to Minding Our Knowledge and Practice Gaps
  • M-Health Surveillance for Healthcare-Associated Infections Following Hospital Discharge
  • Leveraging Novel Metrics to Improve Antibiotic-prescribing in Urgent CareRisk Factors and Preventability of Hospital-Onset Sepsis

Multicenter Collaborative Research Projects

  • Creation of geospatial antibiograms to guide antimicrobial therapy and improve tracking of resistance distributions in outpatient settings
  • Improving post-discharge antimicrobial use: a cluster-randomized trial
  • Intranasal povidone iodine to prevent Staphylococcus aureus surgical site infections after orthopedic trauma surgery: the POTENT study

Principal Investigator

Loreen Herwaldt, MD