Washington, D.C., April 4, 2017 – Educating students, producers, veterinarians and others about the proper stewardship and judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture is an important campaign in the battle against antimicrobial resistance.
Now, a group of professors and scientists working on a project emanating from the Joint Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) | Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture has taken a huge step forward in that effort.
The Antimicrobial Resistance Core Competencies Working Group, created and tasked with developing the educational approach for advancing that strategy, has produced a comprehensive set of AMR Learning Outcomes. Adopting a curriculum design approach, the working group focused on learning outcomes specifically tailored for the individual stakeholder groups of novice (youth, FFA, 4H), developing (undergraduate and graduate) and professional (veterinary medical).
The learning outcomes are designed to define what learners will know and what skills they will have at the end of a program that incorporates various kinds of learning activities or courses, according to Working Group Chair Dr. Virginia Fajt, clinical associate professor of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“One of the most important things we can do in addressing this public health threat is to help educate core stakeholders about the proper stewardship and judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “The creation of the AMR learning outcomes produced by this working group represents a substantial step forward in this effort, and we’re grateful for their very significant contribution.”
These learning outcomes were grouped into six categories. Healthy Animals learning outcomes focus on raising healthy animals and keeping animals healthy. Global Impact learning outcomes demonstrate the importance of understanding that antibiotic resistance is a global public health issue. Antimicrobial Stewardship learning outcomes lead to an understanding of how the usefulness of antibiotics can be preserved.
Antimicrobial Drugs and Resistance learning outcomes center on the science of antibiotic drugs, how they work, and what antibiotic resistance is at the level of bacteria. Roles and Relationships learning outcomes relate to understanding who is responsible for the various aspects of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. Critical Analysis learning outcomes underline the importance that critical thinking plays in evidence, communications, and publications about antibiotic resistance.
Digital and print versions of a publication that outlines their extensive body of work have been produced. Recognizing the opportunity to help mitigate a global public health problem, the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provided support for the project.
Developing an actual curriculum was beyond the scope of the working group, according to Fajt, but next steps would include designing rubrics with performance criteria to define progress for each learning outcome, and mapping a curriculum to identify where the learning outcomes are introduced, reinforced, or demonstrated/mastered.
The 14-member Joint APLU | AAVMC Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture task force produced a report that outlined a national strategy for diminishing the role antibiotics used in food animal production systems play in the broader antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem.
See the AMR Learning Outcomes.
The AAVMC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean Basin, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.