Establishment of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announce the appointment of nationally recognized experts to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (the Advisory Council).

“Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health threat across our country. That’s why it’s so important that we work together to address this challenge,” said HHS Secretary Burwell. “Work is underway to implement a National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, a research-driven plan toentify and coordinate action across the administration to prevent and control outbreaks of resistant pathogens. We have made progress including CDC’s new recommendations for nursing homes to improve antibiotic prescribing. But there is still more to do. I know this council will be important to this effort and provide invaluable advice on our programs, policies and plans to continue our work to combat this growing global threat.”

Antibiotics reduce illness and death from infectious diseases. However, an increasing number of bacterial infections no longer respond to our most powerful antibiotics, putting patients at risk for severe infections and even death. Detecting, preventing, and controlling antibiotic resistance requires a strategic, coordinated, and sustained effort.  The work of the Advisory Council complements other federal efforts, including the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria. Together, these efforts provide a roadmap to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, strengthen surveillance, prevent the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, further new research, and improve international coordination.

“The range and depth of expertise on the Advisory Council will be invaluable to USDA and our partner agencies as we work to ensure the continued effectiveness of antibiotics,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “We at USDA look forward to working with these council members who have dedicated their careers to addressing what has become a critical public health concern.”

"The threat from antibiotic resistant bacteria is not just a health issue - it is a threat to the safety of all Americans and their trust in our institutions providing health care," said the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson. "The Defense Department is excited about this opportunity to work with leading scientists and researchers in the field to improve our national and international strategies for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

Established by Executive Order 13676, signed by President Obama on Sept. 18, 2014, the Advisory Council, comprising fifteen experts and five organizations, will provide advice, information, and recommendations to the HHS Secretary on programs and policies related to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Advisory’s Council’s inaugural meeting, open to the public, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201.

The following individuals have been appointed as voting members to the Advisory Council: Chair: Martin J. Blaser, M.D.; Muriel and George Singer Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology, and Director of the Human Microbiome Program, NYU School of Medicine, New York City. Dr. Blaser, a physician and microbiologist, with more than 30 years of expertise on human pathogens and the human microbiome, served as Chair of the Department of Medicine at NYU. He also has served as President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, Chair of the Advisory Board for Clinical Research of the National Institutes of Health, and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and he was elected to the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Blaser wrote Missing Microbes for the general public. He is passionate about controlling antibiotic overuse, understanding the consequences of overuse, and creating new narrow spectrum agents and alternatives. 

Vice Chair: Lonnie J. King, D.V.M., M.S., M.P.A., A.C.V.P.M.; Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, Executive Dean, Health Science Colleges, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Dr. King has more than 30 years of expertise in advancing the health and welfare of animals and humans. He is an innovator in veterinary education, biomedical research, and animal disease discovery. Dr. King is an expert in the “One Health” initiative and frequently serves as a keynote and guest panelist to diverse audiences worldwide regarding the convergence of human and animal health. He has also served as co-chair on the joint Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture to respond to the recommendations in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report on Antimicrobial Resistance.

Michael Apley, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.C.V.C.P.; Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences, Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Manhattan, Kansas. Dr. Apley is a veterinarian with nearly 30 years of experience in food animal agriculture, including time as a general practitioner, a specialized production medicine practitioner and researcher, and most currently as an academic veterinarian focusing on the use of drugs in food animals. He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology and has an extensive background in the use of antimicrobials in food animals, including service to related task forces or committees within the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the National Pork Board, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants.

Helen Boucher, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.I.D.S.A.; Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program and Associate Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Boucher is Director of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program and Director of the Ventricular Assist Device and Cardiac Transplant Infectious Diseases Program at Tufts Medical Center (TMC). She also holds an appointment as Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Her clinical interests include infections in immunocompromised patients and antibiotic resistant infections. Her research interests focus on antibiotic resistant bacteria and the development of new anti-infective agents. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and currently serves on the American Board of Internal Medicine Infectious Disease Exam Writing Committee and Subspecialty Board. In 2014 she was appointed Associate Editor of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Dr. Boucher also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Physicians of TMC and The College of the Holy Cross.

Angela Caliendo, M.D., Ph.D., F.I.D.S.A.; Professor and Executive Vice Chair of Medicine and Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Caliendo is a leader in infectious disease medicine and the development of molecular diagnostic tests for the detection and quantification of infectious diseases. She currently serves as chair of the Diagnostics Task Force (DFT) for the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), and has provided crucial contributions as a member onSA’s Research Committee. During her tenure as DTF chair, she has led the Society’s policy initiatives related to clinical diagnostics, which have resulted in several publications, increasing congressional awareness on the need to support new infectious disease diagnostic technologies.

Alicia R. Cole; Founder, Alliance for Safety Awareness for Patients (ASAP), Sherman Oaks, California. Ms. Cole’s life changed dramatically in 2006 when a routine surgical procedure left her fighting for her life against sepsis, multi-drug resistant bacterial infections, and necrotizing fasciitis. Following a month in the intensive care unit and six additional surgeries, the healthcare associated infection survivor has endured nine years of aftercare. As a result of her experience, Ms. Cole and her parents founded ASAP, a non-profit education and awareness organization working to eliminate preventable infections. Ms. Cole is a nationally recognized patient safety consultant, public speaker, and patient advocate. She helped co-sponsor the California law mandating annual infection prevention education for all healthcare workers with patient contact and mandatory public reporting of hospital infection rates. She serves on the California Department of Public Health’s Healthcare Associated Infection Advisory Committee, the Wyoming Infection Prevention Advisory Group and received a Post-Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management and Leadership from University of California, Los Angeles.

Sara Cosgrove, M.D., M.S.; Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. Dr. Cosgrove has been nationally and internationally-recognized for her contributions to antimicrobial stewardship, preventing antimicrobial resistance and enhancing patient safety. She has conducted several important studies to demonstrate ways to prevent healthcare-associated infection, particularly those related to medical devices. Dr. Cosgrove was awarded the prestigious Oswald Avery Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which recognizes her substantial contribution to the infectious diseases research. She currently serves as Vice-President of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Dr. Cosgrove also served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology as a participant in the Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance that has recently provided guidance to President Obama on addressing the problem of antimicrobial resistance.

Peter Robert Davies, B.V.Sc., Ph.D.; Professor of Swine Health and Production, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Dr. Davies is a veterinary epidemiologist specializing in infectious diseases of food animals, particularly swine. His professional experience includes several years of clinical practice; government regulatory work; two years as a livestock advisor on an international development project in Brazil; and senior academic positions in swine medicine (Leman Chair of Swine Health and Production, University of Minnesota) and veterinary public health (MAF Professor of Food Safety and Public Health, Massey University, New Zealand). Dr. Davies’ research focus is on the epidemiology of zoonotic and foodborne pathogens, including antimicrobial resistance, at the farm level. This research advances the understanding of relationships between the farm environment and its management that influence the occurrence of infectious agents, including assessment and mitigation of the associated risks to animals and people.

Kent E. Kester, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.I.D.S.A., F.A.S.T.M.H.; Vice President and Head, Translational Sciences and Biomarkers, Sanofi Pasteur, Swiftwater, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kester is an Infectious Disease clinician-scientist with a long history of activities in infectious diseases and public health research, development, and response. During his 25-year career in the U.S. Army, he held a variety of research assignments at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, an organization that he later served as Commander/Director. During his time there, he developed new research strategies to address infectious disease threats, and established new disease surveillance and research initiatives related to nosocomial infections and antimicrobial resistance. In addition to his current position at Sanofi, Dr. Kester also remains an active infectious disease clinician at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and is a Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, Ph.D., M.P.H; Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, Washington, D.C. Dr. Laxminarayan’s professional career has been devoted to the issue of antimicrobial resistance, including the dynamics of its spread and its broad economic effects. He has an impressive track record in collaboratively crafting policies both in high- and low-income countries to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. He has also helped develop several innovations such as the Resistance Map, an interactive set of maps that allow exploration of the evolution of antibiotic resistance in the United States, and the Drug Resistance Index, which produces a single measure of the burden of resistance in a hospital or geographical area which can be followed over time.

Aileen M. Marty, M.D., F.A.C.P.; Professor, Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Family Medicine, and Community Health, Director, Health Travel Medicine Program and Vaccine Clinic, Florida International University, Miami. Dr. Marty is an infectious disease physician with over 30 years of experience in clinical medicine and pathology. She is an expert in Tropical and Travel Medicine with expertise in the use and development of antimicrobials, new vaccines research, antibiotics, and diagnostic tools. She has helped study and develop microbiologic diagnostic tools and methods forentifying infectious agents, and helped develop new attenuated strains for safe and effective new vaccines. Dr. Marty also certified as a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic School at Plum Island Animal Disease Center. She has served on Blue-Ribbon committees, White House committees, National Security Council advisory committees, and for the World Health Organization.

John H. Rex, M.D.; Senior Vice President and Head of Infection, Global Medicines Development, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Waltham, Massachusetts. Dr. Rex is a board-certified internist and Infectious-Disease Specialist, and a leader in anti-infectives and product innovation. As an example he was one of two Industry-based co-founders of the New Drugs for Bad Bugs program within the Innovative Medicines Initiative in Europe, which boasts multiple working projects, several of which are specifically designed to bring Industry and Academic collaborators together on drug discovery projects. He brings a unique national and international perspective, in addition to his experience in small and large pharmaceuticals, academia, and industry. Dr. Rex also served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Thomas R. Shryock, Ph.D.; Chief Scientific Officer and Managing Member, Antimicrobial Consultants L.L.C., Greenfield, Indiana. Dr. Shryock is a microbiologist with nearly 30 years of experience in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry advancing antibiotic candidates through all pipeline phases. He specializes in regulatory requirements for antibiotics in the U.S. and other countries. He has also worked on expert panels for the World Health O