Antimicrobial Resistance: The AAVMC is Taking Strategic Action to Confront a Critical Threat to Public Health

Antimicrobial resistance looms as one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. The historic invention of antibiotics in the early 20th century fundamentally changed the scope and impact of medicine. But decades later, an array of pathogenic organisms are becoming resistant to the arsenal of compounds used to control infection.
Our universities are already playing a critical role on this emerging battlefront and with appropriate resources could do much more. Researchers on our member institution campuses have the expertise and laboratory resources to conduct the scientific investigations that must be completed. University faculty and outreach specialists have the networks and opportunities to play a key role in educating agricultural producers, veterinarians, veterinary students and others about the judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture. Faculty experts on our campuses are collaborating with scientists and other stakeholders to help executive agencies, Congress and international organizations develop the regulations, policies and resources required to mitigate this threat.
Iowa State University has been selected by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the AAVMC to establish and host a new national Institute for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Education.

The institute, which will use a One Health approach to address the problem, will serve as a national resource for coordinating and focusing the efforts of various stakeholders, organizations and institutions from academia, government and industry.

Iowa State will build the new institute upon the foundation of an existing university-based research and education program called the Antimicrobial Resistance Consortium formed three years ago. Dr. Paul Plummer of Iowa State University, who leads the existing consortium, will serve as executive director.

As the leader of the new institute, Iowa State will partner with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center, the University of Iowa, and the Mayo Medical Clinic – all of which are involved with its existing consortium. Iowa State will also partner with two major USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) facilities, as well as a collection of agricultural stakeholders representing over one-fourth of the U.S. swine and beef industry.

Click here to read the news release announcing the selection.
Click here to read an FAQ document concerning the institute and its work.
Watch a video.

Joint APLU | AAVMC Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture
In 2014, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) joined forces to create the Joint APLU | AAVMC Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture. The task force was comprised of 14 leaders from U.S. agriculture colleges/land grant universities, veterinary colleges and key representatives from the production animal agriculture community and pharmaceutical industry. The task force developed a comprehensive national strategy for diminishing the role antibiotics used in food animal production systems play in the broader antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem. Their final report, “Addressing Antibiotic Resistance: A Report from the Joint APLU | AAVMC Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture.” was released in October 2015. The report detailed a research and educational agenda for addressing the problem.
Antimicrobial Resistance Core Competencies Working Group
Crucial to the success of the AMR mitigation effort is the need to educate a wide variety of stakeholders about the proper stewardship and judicious use of antibiotics in production agriculture. To address this substantial task, the Antimicrobial Resistance Core Competencies Working Group, which includes scientists and professors from a group of major universities, was established. Recognizing the opportunity to help mitigate a global public health problem, the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) agreed to provide support for the project. The working group identified a broad range of learning outcomes specifically tailored for the discrete stakeholder groups of novice (youth, FFA, 4H), developing (undergraduate and graduate) and professional (veterinary medical). This publication describes this important work.
Legislative Briefings, Federal, International Collaboration

Experts on our campuses are collaborating with scientists and other stakeholders to help executive agencies and Congress develop the regulations, policies and resources required to mitigate this threat. They are also working closely with the USDA, the FDA, the FAO, agricultural commodity organizations and professional societies, industry officials and others to build the broad stakeholder awareness and engagement required for success.

To summarize progress and map out future strategies, an Antimicrobial Resistance Roundtable Discussion involving 15 stakeholders from the AAVMC, the APLU, the FAO, the World Bank and other groups was hosted from FAO offices on April 6, 2017. The group focused on educational, research and policy development initiatives with international impact, including methods for educating stakeholders, the potential establishment of a university-based Center of Excellence to coordinate research and educational programs, and Congressional outreach and potential One Health legislation.

Congressional Briefing on Antimicrobial Resistance and One Health
On March 23, 2017, APLU and AAVMC sponsored a legislative briefing, Antimicrobial Resistance and One Health, for Congressional staffers.
The briefing took a One Health approach to addressing the educational, public policy, and research components of the antimicrobial/antibiotic resistance problem. The program was moderated by Barbara Ekwall, Senior Liaison Officer, Liaison Office for North America, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Featured experts and their presentations follow:

Terry W. Lenhenbauer
Associate Professor and Director
Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center
University of California, Davis

Amelia R. Woolums
Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
Mississippi State University

Hellen Gelband
Associate Director for Policy
Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy
Washington, D.C.