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Cutting-Edge Research, Smart Policy, Creative Communications
This summer, we responded to community health needs by offering free COVID-19 testing services to GW staff, students, and faculty as part of a research study. Although these efforts were a departure from our typical projects, we couldn’t have been prouder to join the cause. We are immeasurably grateful for the volunteers who made this project possible, some of whom are pictured above (from left to right: Aida Nankumba, Nancy LaVerda, Priya Kumrah, Erika Roloff, Hanna Rabanes, and Jake Wittbrodt).
We love hearing about novel approaches to educating the public about the dangers of superbugs. That’s why we were excited to learn about Game Doctor, a Scotland-based educational studio using digital mediums, like mobile games, for science and health learning.

We interviewed the founder of Game Doctor, Dr. Carla Brown, to learn how her team works to educate the public about the antibiotic resistance crisis and other health topics and how gamification of public health learning ensures the games they produce are both educational and genuinely fun.

Read the interview here.

Our Study: Antibiotic Rx Decrease in Telemedicine
with Education and Individualized Feedback

ARAC’s Director Dr. Cindy Liu, Senior Research Associate Dan Park and Stewardship Advisor Dr. Rana Hamdy were co-authors on a new study, "Education vs Clinician Feedback on Antibiotic Prescriptions for Acute Respiratory Infections in Telemedicine: a Randomized Controlled Trial", published this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. In telemedicine settings, antibiotics prescribed for acute respiratory tract infections (URIs) are often unnecessary. The study investigates how education in conjunction with individualized feedback—as compared to education alone—in a telemedicine practice affects antibiotic prescription rates for URI, bronchitis, sinusitis, and pharyngitis. The study found that education plus individualized feedback significantly decreased antibiotic prescription rates for both URI and bronchitis. The study highlights a potentially promising intervention for antibiotic stewardship programs in the new era of telemedicine. Read the full paper.

Innovative Teen Uses Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing”
to Raise Awareness about Antibiotic Resistance

As COVID-19 caused global shutdowns, Nintendo released the immensely popular video game "Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” with millions of players social distancing via a virtual community. San Diego high school student Kara Fan saw the game as a potential tool for educating players about antibiotic resistance. Kara initially took interest in antibiotics after her hospitalized grandmother received lifesaving antibiotics, and she eventually created and her award-winning project Nano-Silver Liquid Bandage to raise awareness and help combat the crisis.

Inspired by organizations using "Animal Crossing” to effect real change, she created a virtual island called AntibiotiX to teach people about antibiotic resistance though galleries depicting superbugs, causes of resistant bacteria and ways to make a difference. She says the game is ideal for learning during the pandemic, allowing for interactive learning outside of the classroom while having fun and enabling her to reach all age groups—without going outside. She hopes her visitors will “start to make small changes to their lifestyles to help fight superbugs” and raise awareness in their own communities.

Visit Kara’s island: DA-9607-6724-6247. Please also check out her website and twitter.

Must Read: Racing the Clock to Stop Drug-Resistant Superbugs

We wanted to highlight this important story by journalist and author Maryn McKenna. She gives an excellent summary of the antibiotic resistance crisis we are facing and how a small non-profit in Boston could be a savior. Based at Boston University, CARB-X funds preclinical antibiotic research, shepherding small companies as they struggle with the profound financial burden required to make it to market. Mckenna vividly highlights the consequences of steep antibiotic development costs as the world confronts the increasingly urgent need for new antibiotics: “They are also now the last defense against the worst complications of COVID-19. Yet we let their development languish. In the midst of a global conflagration, we have opened the cupboard to find we have no fire extinguishers.” Read the full story in the Boston Globe.

New Podcast: NRDC Report on Overuse of Antibiotics in Cattle

In this episode, co-host, Matthew Wellington, interviews Dr. David Wallinga, Senior Health Advisor at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Dr. Wallinga is a physician with over 20 years of experience working on policy and advocacy, and his current work focuses on antibiotic overuse in U.S. livestock production. They discuss Better Burgers: Why It's High Time the U.S. Beef Industry Kicked It's Antibiotic Habit, a report from the NRDC that analyzes antibiotic overuse in the U.S. beef industry, including its relationship to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and negative impacts on human health. Listen.

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