University of Utah Prevention Epicenter
First Funded: 2015
Overview: The University of Utah’s Prevention Epicenter, Intermountain Program on Antibiotic Resistance and Microbial Threats (IMPART) addresses problems of high importance to public health, including healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), antimicrobial resistance (AR), and emerging pathogens. The IMPART Epicenter’s research is designed to improve approaches to effectively control and respond to these threats.
This site contributes to programmatic domains and pathogen-specific workgroups set up under the auspices of the Prevention Epicenter Program. This Epicenter’s activities have close alignment with CDC’s health priorities and substantial CDC staff programmatic involvement.
The IMPART Epicenter is actively engaged with other Prevention Epicenter sites on collaborative projects and works closely with public health entities at national, state, and local levels. The University of Utah is the hub for the program with Intermountain Health, a large regional integrated health system, serving as a major node. The Veterans Affairs (VA) Salt Lake City Healthcare System is a key partner for the Prevention Epicenter site operating within a programmatic network that encompasses the entire VA health system.
This Epicenter developed a computational environment to support comprehensive epidemiological analysis of infections within the Department of VA Health System, as well as Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health (UHealth).
IMPART has experience in translational research and expertise in multi-disciplinary methods to make significant contributions to improve the quality of antibiotic use, combat AR, and enhance health system response to microbial threats across the continuum of care. The IMPART Epicenter investigators conduct large-scale observational studies, as well as lead or co-lead interventional studies that range in scope from small pilots to multi-community randomized trials.
Core research study areas include:
- Core Project 1 evaluates alternative implementation strategies for outpatient stewardship and advances the dissemination of best practices for antibiotic stewardship.
- Core Project 2 tackles a longstanding source of controversy in the healthcare epidemiology community–the role of active surveillance and Contact Precautions (CP) in preventing HAIs due to endemic multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A period of partial CP de-implementation in some VA facilities, triggered in response to the emergence of COVID-19, creates the opportunity to study the impact of this natural experiment.
- Core Project 3 links an epidemiological analysis of transmission pathways in long-term care (LTC) facilities to the development and implementation of novel approaches to improve practice.
- Core Project 4 confronts the global health challenge of COVID-19, to enhance preparedness for future epidemics and increase understanding of how to control healthcare spread of both seasonal and novel viruses.
- Implement the Mountain West Stewardship Collaborative – Education, Research, and Dissemination (Adam Hersh, MD, PhD, Emily Spivak, MD, MHS, and Eddie Steinejhem, MD)
- Estimate the Impact of Changes in Contact Precautions Policies on MRSA Transmission in VA Acute Care Facilities (Michael Rubin, MD, PhD, MS)
- Improve Cleaning of Shared Equipment to Mitigate MDRO Transmission in Long-Term Care Facilities (Frank Drews, PhD and Lindsay Visnovsky, PhD, MS)
- Enhance Epidemic Preparedness for Novel Respiratory Transmission (Matthew Samore, MD and Jeanmarie Mayer, MD)