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Penn CDC Prevention Epicenters Program

Southeastern Pennsylvania Adult and Pediatric Prevention Epicenter Network Overview

The Penn CDC Prevention Epicenter Site represents a broad collaboration across multiple institutions in southeastern Pennsylvania with a dual focus on adult and pediatric patient populations. Penn Epicenter investigators bring expertise in diverse fields including infectious diseases, internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, critical care, pulmonary medicine, emergency medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, health economics, and microbiology.

Penn epicenter studies are based primarily within the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia network.

Research Study Areas

Use of biomarkers to improve antimicrobial prescribing; Colonization with antimicrobial resistant organisms; antimicrobial stewardship strategies; epidemiology of household transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); treatment of multidrug resistant gram-negative organisms; strategies to improve the utility of public reporting of healthcare acquired infections.

Research Projects Led by Penn

The overall objective of the current CDC-supported Epicenter project at Penn is to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics in the intensive care unit (ICU). The purpose of Phase I of the study is to identify the biomarker, or combination of biomarkers, that provides optimal test characteristics in identifying adults and children/neonates with presumed sepsis who have a very low likelihood of bacterial infection. Results of Phase I will result in development of a biomarker-based algorithm to inform need for antibiotic use in ICU patients. In Phase II, the impact of this biomarker-based algorithm on reducing antibiotic use in the ICU will be determined. Costs or savings associated with the algorithm will also be assessed.

Numerous other projects are currently underway at Penn that are closely linked to the epicenter mission. For example, Penn Epicenter investigators are leading a multicenter study investigating longitudinal household transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This study is also assessing the impact of a decolonization protocol in curbing MRSA transmission in households. Other projects are focusing on the epidemiology and outcome of fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli infections in hospital and long term care settings as well as infection prevention and active surveillance strategies for curbing emergence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae in the hospital setting. Finally, ongoing work is examining the optimal duration of antimicrobial therapy for urinary tract infections in the pediatric population.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Initiative

A new antimicrobial stewardship initiative was commenced with CDC funding in 2013 and has been spearheaded by Keith Hamilton, MD and Jeff Gerber, MD, MSCE. The goal of this initiative was to develop an antimicrobial stewardship tool that could be incorporated at the point-of-care. Following extensive development and pilot testing, the antimicrobial checklist was finalized in 2014. Further work is planned to evaluate more fully the impact of implementation of the checklist.

Penn Epicenter Antimicrobial Stewardship Checklist

Download the checklist

View sample checklist

Principal Investigator

  • Ebbing Lautenbach, MD, MPH, MSCE

Co-Principal Investigator

  • Susan Coffin, MD, MPH


  • Fran Balamuth, MD, PhD
  • Warren Bilker, PhD
  • Susan Coffin, MD, MPH
  • Jalpa Doshi, PhD
  • Kristen Feemster, MD, MSHP
  • Neil Fishman, MD
  • Julie Fitzgerald, MD
  • Barry Fuchs, MD
  • Jeffrey Gerber, MD, MSCE
  • Keith Hamilton, MD
  • Jennifer Han, MD, MSCE
  • Meeta Prasad Kerlin, MD, MSCE
  • Darren Linkin, MD, MSCE
  • Joshua Metlay, MD, PhD
  • Mark MIkkelsen, MD, MSCE
  • Irving Nachamkin, DrPH, MPH
  • David Pegues, MD, MS
  • Julia Shaklee, MD
  • Scott Weiss, MD
  • Theoklis Zaoutis, MD, MSCE