University of Minnesota: CIDRAP launches a communication toolkit for antimicrobial resistance

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Antimicrobial Stewardship Project (CIDRAP-ASP) at the University of Minnesota announced today that it has launched a communication toolkit for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The AMR Communication Toolkit, which includes posters, infographics and a video, defines AMR, explains how it happens and provides steps that anyone can take to stop its spread. The toolkit equips doctors and patients with key facts in an accessible format, giving them the resources to raise AMR awareness in their communities.

AMR occurs when pathogens such as bacteria evolve to become resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them. As AMR rises worldwide and antibiotics become less effective, infectious diseases are becoming difficult to treat, and, in some cases, untreatable. Every year, AMR is associated with a significant number of deaths around the world, with the highest burden being in low- and middle-income countries. A recent study found that more than 1.2 million deaths in 2019 were directly attributable to AMR (Lancet, 2022). The effects of AMR will continue to wear away at our ability to treat infections unless all people commit to changing the way that antibiotics are used and valued.

Education plays an important role in building bridges between clinicians and patients, helping to ensure access to antibiotics when they are needed, and improving understanding about the harms and benefits of antibiotic use.

The AMR Communication Toolkit serves two purposes:

To provide information on AMR that can be shared freely within communities
To call for champions who wish to spread the message of CIDRAP-ASP’s AMR campaign online
The AMR Communication Toolkit was informed by interviews with clinicians and policymakers in India’s Kerala State. Interviewees highlighted the fact that awareness about AMR varies widely throughout communities, and that efforts to improve antibiotic use and safety are rarely designed for primary care settings, where people most commonly interact with doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Furthermore, most members of the public obtain information from opinion leaders who already have close ties to their communities. With these insights in mind, CIDRAP-ASP sought to design tools that specifically meet the information and decision-making needs of patients, their families and their trusted healthcare providers.

CIDRAP is a global leader in addressing public health challenges and emerging infectious disease response. Since 2016, CIDRAP-ASP has grown an online platform that consolidates the best information on AMR research, education, journalism, and clinical practice from international sources. Over the past two years, CIDRAP-ASP has also built the most comprehensive available resource hub on COVID-19 and co-infections.

The CIDRAP-ASP team, directed by Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., MPH, includes CIDRAP staff members Francesca Chiara, Ph.D., MPH; Natalie Vestin, MPH; Jamie Umber, DVM, MPH; Marnie Peterson, PharmD, Ph.D.; Chris Dall, MA; Carlos R. Cruz; and Jim Wappes.

“AMR is a major global health challenge, and its complexity is still poorly understood by the general public,” said Francesca Chiara, Ph.D., MPH, director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Project at CIDRAP. ”We need to make scientific evidence and knowledge more accessible to create a critical mass of champions who can advocate for the implementation of interventions and policies to slow down the spread of AMR. There is still a long way to go, but we hope that with this toolkit—together with our project-wide communications and outreach strategy focused particularly on the needs of low- and middle-income countries—we are creating the basis for change.”

“CIDRAP-ASP has created, with the support of subject matter experts, the go-to resource for evidence-based comprehensive information on AMR and what can be done to reduce its negative impact on human health,” said Michael T. Osterholm, University of Minnesota Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health and director of CIDRAP. “Knowledge is the key to empower healthcare professionals and patients to take meaningful action against one of the most urgent global health challenges of our time.”

The design of the AMR Communication Toolkit was led by the communication agency BB Partners and supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust.

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