Newswise — PHILADELPHIA—The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have been awarded over $5 million to serve as a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Prevention Epicenter site to help develop and test innovative approaches to preventing superbugs and improving patient safety.

The Penn-CHOP site is one of five academic medical centers to receive the designation as part of the CDC‘s patient safety research effort known as the Prevention Epicenters Program, which was created in 1997 to address the emerging problem of health care-associated infections. This round of funding (a total of $26 million) more than doubles previous awards and extends the program to 2020.

Ebbing Lautenbach, MD, MPH, MSCE, chief of the division of Infectious Diseases and senior scholar in Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), and Jeff Gerber, MD, PhD, an attending physician at CHOP and CCEB senior scholar, will serve as co-principal investigators for the Penn-CHOP site.

Penn has been a designated site since 2011, when the CDC awarded $2 million to its CCEB. This latest award brings pediatric research and care into the fold.

“Penn is proud to continue to serve as an Epicenter Program site and be part of a larger, collaborative effort with our neighbor CHOP to advance the science on health care-associated infections and help discover new approaches and solutions that will ultimately improve patient care,” Lautenbach said.

The Penn-CHOP site represents a broad collaboration across the two institutions with a dual focus on adult and pediatric patient populations. The investigators bring expertise in fields ranging from infectious diseases, geriatrics, critical care, pulmonary medicine, emergency medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, health economics, and microbiology.

Numerous clinical and research resources will help to support the mission of the Penn-CHOP Epicenter site, including the CCEB, the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, the Institute on Aging, the Center for Public Health Initiatives, the Penn/CHOP Microbiome Program, the CHOP Research Institute, and the CHOP Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness.

The site will investigate risk factors and characterize outcomes for healthcare-associated viral infections in hospitalized children and adults, use of biomarkers to inform antimicrobial prescribing, antimicrobial stewardship in health care and community settings, and study multidrug-resistance organisms in long-term acute care settings, among other areas.

Funding for the Prevention Epicenters is part of CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative, an national effort transforming the Agency’s ability to further address antibiotic resistance at all levels. Prevention Epicenter efforts will help slow the development of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections, the first goal in the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

“Since launching in 1997, the Epicenters have advanced the fight against healthcare-associated infections with practical clinical innovations that have saved lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “This research is more critical today than ever before, given the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant infections and the spread of dangerous new microbes.”


Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.