Guest Post: Francine Baker, UMD Public Health Science student

The Good, The Bad, and The Resistant: Antibiotics & Microbes

Francine Baker 1

Francine Baker

Collaboration, not only across disciplines but across universities, is among the best experience of being a student on the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus. Twice now, I’ve had the privilege of coordinating a Civic Engagement Event with students from various programs at USG. This semester’s event The Good, The Bad, and The Resistant: Antibiotics & Microbes was a collaboration between Pharmacy and Nursing students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore  and students from the University of Maryland, College Park’s Biological Science and Public Health programs. A true labor of love, this event was designed to (1) educate attendees on what microbes are (2) introduce the concept of antibiotic stewardship and (3) raise awareness regarding an overlooked, yet serious public health threat — antibiotic resistance. To achieve this, we called upon a panel of experts to share with the community the role they play with antibiotics and microbes. Among our experts were:

  • Katie Richards, an Improvement Consultant with Health Quality Innovators, the CMS Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization for Maryland and Virginia, and an epidemiologist specializing in healthcare associated infections and antibiotic stewardship.
  • Daniel Nelson, an Associate Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Antimicrobial Discovery at the University of Maryland.
  • Adrienne Ma, a clinical Pharmacy Specialist at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center where she heads the antimicrobial stewardship committee and serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland for fourth year advanced practice infectious disease rotations.
  • Wendy Henderson, Chief of the Digestive Disorders Unit within NINR’s Division of Intramural Research and served as a faculty member, nurse practitioner, and research coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pediatric Gastroenterology Department.

To round out the event, there were several hands-on activities for attendees to get up close and personal with different microbes, find out their microbe personality, learn proper handwashing, the right way to use antibiotics, and the benefits of probiotics. When attendees left the event, we wanted them to not only have a better understanding of what microbes are, but also realize their importance and why it’s necessary to be good stewards of antibiotics.

As a student, I can’t think of a better way to learn ones’ profession than practicing the skills being taught. This is why I love coordinating civic engagement events. Not only do I get to learn the art of multidisciplinary collaboration, but I also had the opportunity to work on conflict resolution, project and time management, public speaking, health literacy, program planning, and most importantly health education and promotion. These are all important skills of public health professionals. No matter how many lectures I sit in on, it is the hands-on, labor of love that I will remember and will take with me as I start my career.

Francine Baker


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