Antibiotic Stewardship

Concurrent Education Session - 60 minutes

2300 - Biofilms: The Expanding Threat and How to Win

Thursday, June 15
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Oregon Convention Center, B 110-112

Man and microorganism share the same prime directive: the instinctual drive to survive as an individual and as a species. A single bacterium alone is vulnerable to various threats of disinfectants, antibiotics, environmental conditions, and the defensive human immune system. One of several mechanisms for survival used by bacteria and fungi is the formation of biofilms. A biofilm is a highly organized community of bacteria that communicate with each other, harvest food, eject waste, and establish multifaceted defense systems throughout the protective gooey matrix within which they dwell. We will discuss the conditions that promote biofilm formation, why they are such a threat, chart their most frequent location sites for surgical patients, and explain why they are successful in some areas of the body more than others. How biofilms are actually breeding grounds for interspecies transmission of antibiotic resistance plasmid genes and why they are an increasing threat in the intricacies of complex multiuse devices will be explained. The importance of the concept “know thine enemy” has been proven repeatedly in war and athletic competition, as well as when fighting disease. The understanding of these biofilm fortress communities is expanding rapidly. Many new strategies for preventing their formation and disrupting those already established are gaining headway. This session will address practices in the acute and ambulatory surgery suites, procedure suites, catheterization labs, and sterile processing departments that can make a huge impact on the occurrence of patient biofilm threats.

Learning Objectives:

Wava Truscott

Truscott MedSci Associates, LLC
Roswell, Georgia

Wava Truscott, PhD, is president of Truscott MedSci Associates, an independent consulting and education advancement company. Her doctorate in comparative pathology is from the University of California emphasizing microbiology, immunology, and pathology; her MBA is from the University of La Verne; and her bachelor’s degree is from Brigham Young University. Truscott was formerly employed at Kimberly-Clark, SafeSkin, Baxter HealthCare, and MIDECO, a medical device–testing laboratory. Her responsibilities have included test development and supervision, standards setting, regulatory, and educational course development. Truscott has lectured in 17 countries, authored over 90 articles and six book chapters, petitioned the FDA to ban glove powder in U.S. healthcare facilities, and coauthored the microbiology section of the AAMI Sterilization Recommended Practices. She was appointed a U.S. delegate to the International Standards Organization on Medical Device Biocompatibility Testing as the European Union was forming.


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Sarah Smathers

Manager Infection Prevention and Control
Department of Infection Prevention and Control, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sarah Smathers, MPH, CIC, FAPIC is the Manager of Infection Prevention and Control at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Sarah has conducted research in infectious diseases and infection prevention and control in the areas of Clostrium difficile, multidrug-resistant organisms, and healthcare-associated infection prevention. She has worked in infection prevention at CHOP since 2009, was CIC certified in 2010, and became an APIC Fellow in 2016. She is the vice chair of the Infection Prevention and Control Committee at CHOP and serves on the Awards and Nominating Committee for the APIC Delaware Valley chapter and the Public Policy Committee for national APIC. She has presented abstracts at national conferences, including SHEA and IDWeek, and has published on the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases. Sarah earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Kalamazoo College and master of public health in hospital and molecular epidemiology from the University of Michigan.


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2300 - Biofilms: The Expanding Threat and How to Win

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