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Two U of M College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members appointed to National Presidential Advisory Council

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An increasing number of bacterial infections no longer respond to antibiotics, which threatens public health and the economy. As a result, the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria was formed. Out of just four U.S. veterinarians to be appointed to the committee, two are University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members Peter Robert Davies B.V.Sc., and Randall Singer, D.V.M.

What is the Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense established the Advisory Council in 2014 and recently appointed its members. The Advisory Council will provide advice, information and recommendations to the HHS Secretary on programs and policies related to fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Who was appointed?

Peter Robert Davies B.V.Sc., Ph.D., professor of Swine Health and Production, is a veterinary epidemiologist that specializes in infectious diseases of food animals, particularly swine. His research focuses on the epidemiology of zoonotic and foodborne pathogens, including antimicrobial resistance in farms. His research looks at relationships between farm environments and how its management influences the occurrence of infectious agents, including associated risks to animals and people.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to contribute to the efforts of the Advisory Council to address one of the most problematic issues in human and animal health,” Davies said. “The council is being convened at a time when significant changes are being implemented regarding the availability of antimicrobials in the food animal sector, including increased veterinary oversight and efforts to promote stewardship of antimicrobial use in all arenas.”

Randall Singer, D.V.M. M.P.V.M., Ph.D., is a professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. He investigates the emergence, persistence and spreading of antibiotic resistance. Singer has worked with a diverse set of organizations and stakeholders, including veterinary and human medical, agricultural and public health. He has also provided expert testimonies to the U.S. House of Representatives on antimicrobial use in animal agriculture.

“Having spent the last two decades researching antibiotic resistance and its impact on animals, humans and the environment, I welcome this opportunity to help develop strategies for preserving the effectiveness of the valuable antibiotics we have in our toolbox and for mitigating the risks that resistant bacteria have on human and animal health,” Singer said.

What does the Advisory Council hope to achieve?

This advisory council was created to detect, prevent and control antibiotic resistance in a strategic and sustained way.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “the work of this advisory council will compliment other federal efforts and ultimately preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, strengthen surveillance, prevent the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, further new research, and improve international coordination.”

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