After the tragic loss of her daughter, Diane Shader Smith has become dedicated to raising awareness about the seriousness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Diane Shader Smith
AMR Advocate and Author
How can we push AMR to the forefront of global health concerns?
Despite compelling data that proves superbugs pose an urgent threat to human health, these virulent strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi are not capturing worldwide attention and striking the appropriate level of fear. To facilitate public understanding, we need to throw out confusing acronyms that have led to mass misunderstanding, and urge stakeholders to agree on a name.
The word “cancer” describes a large group of diseases and conveys gravitas. This model should be followed to focus global attention on the multi-faceted and catastrophic problem of AMR. Scientific, medical, and pharma communities understand the dangers superbugs pose. It’s time to engage the public and make clear why we need to care. The lack of a perception of urgency is why AMR needs to be rebranded so people understand that bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi are killing many millions, and the death toll is rising.
The brightest minds in healthcare are meeting in echo chambers to address the problem. We need them to break out of their silos and use effective storytellers to convey information that stresses the severity of AMR.
What is an important message you would like to personally convey to the
Superbugs are bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that are resistant to treatment. Sometimes they are the primary diagnosis; other times they are secondary to another medical condition. A common misperception is
that these antimicrobials only affect certain patients.
While AMR disproportionately affects the cystic fibrosis, HIV, cancer, and amputee communities, among other immunocompromised patient groups, even the “very healthy” are at risk of contracting a community-based or hospital-acquired infection. To raise global awareness, we need to put a face to the issue — and we need new and
novel treatments, better diagnostics, and antibiotic stewardship.
Diane Shader Smith was the World AMR Congress 2022 Keynote Speaker.