Research within the Infectious Disease Division has focused on
best practices for decreasing antimicrobial resistance and hospital
acquired infection, prevention of communicable infection and
vaccine education and implementation. We have been involved in
studies of new drugs for treatment of fungal infections in
neonates, new diagnostics and impact of rapid testing for
respiratory viruses, risk factors for catheter-associated
infections and MRSA or VRE colonization, and the changing
epidemiology and bacterial resistance related to staphylococcal and
gram negative pathogens. We have also been instrumental in building
alliances nationally with the ultimate goal of enhancing the health
and well-being of children and families.
Vaccine Education and Treatment Unit
Building on its long tradition of excellence in infectious
diseases, Children's Mercy has been designated as part of the
national network of eight National Institutes of Health Vaccine and
Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU), which perform important vaccine
research not sponsored by industry. Children's Mercy is the
pediatric unit collaborating with the University of Iowa's adult
unit. Christopher J. Harrison,
MD, Director of the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, is
the principal investigator of the Pediatric Subunit site and Mary Anne Jackson, MD, is
Antimicrobial Stewardship Program
In 2007, the Infectious Disease Society of America and the
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America issued guidelines to
support antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs). Such programs
use computer surveillance, data collection, dedicated personnel,
and policies and procedures that limit inappropriate use of
antimicrobial agents and optimize their selection, dosing, and
duration of therapy. The utilization of an ASP program reduces
antimicrobial resistance, length of hospital stay and costs, and
subsequent morbidity and mortality. However, a recent study shows
the prevalence of ASPs in pediatrics is limited and opportunities
exist to improve current programs. Children's Mercy is one of only
a handful of hospitals to institute such a program. Directed by Dr.
Jason Newland and pharmacotherapy specialists Drs. Leslie Stach
and Diana Yu, the program utilizes a prospective audit of 17
monitored antimicrobials with specified interventions. Erin Hedican
is the current data analyst for the program.
Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory
Dr. Christopher Harrison directs the bench lab and Dr. Scott
Duncan is the current post-doctoral faculty. Dr. Harrison has
envisioned the bench lab to be a source for quality translational,
clinical and epidemiologic research into the pathogenesis,
immunology and outcome of viral and bacterial diseases in children.
It focuses on selected pathogens' responses to vaccines and
treatments, as well as new potential interventions.
Other Infectious Disease faculty members involved in bench-based
projects include Dr. Angela Myers, whose work involves
evaluation of genetic-based polymorphisms related to histamine
degradation. This project endeavors to localize a patient-specific
risk factor that may predispose to vancomycin Red Man syndrome. Dr.
Myers is also an integral member of the vaccine research
Dr. Doug Swanson, who is an active
investigator into the changing epidemiology of pneumococcal
infections and performs serotyping of pneumococci, also has an
active project that is evaluating antigenic diversity of
non-tuberculous mycobacterial strains.
Dr. Barbara Pahud, who joined the ID division in February 2011
after completing her ID fellowship at University of California and
Stanford University, brings expertise in vaccine research and the
clinical assessment of immunization adverse events.
Dr. J. Christopher Day is the Director of Transplant Infectious
Disease services and the newest member of the ID division.
Dr. Raj Selverangan, Director of the Microbiology Laboratory, has
actively collaborated with the Infectious Disease division on
several laboratory-based studies dealing with diagnostic testing.
He also is the primary investigator for a multi-center initiative
with the Center for Disease Control evaluating rotavirus vaccine
efficacy, with co-investigators, Drs. Harrison and Jackson.