Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control

Clinical Strengths

Healthcare epidemiology and infection control are critical activities for patient safety. The training that is provided through the Rush University Medical Center (RUMC)/Cook County Health (CCH) ID fellowship lays a solid foundation in infection prevention and prepares fellows for advanced training towards leadership roles as hospital epidemiologists.

RUMC and CCH feature robust infection control programs led by seasoned healthcare epidemiologists and infection preventionists. The programs utilize cutting-edge surveillance and prevention strategies to reduce hospital-acquired infections.

Fellows receive didactic teaching in healthcare epidemiology as a part of their core training. The RUMC infection control department also hosts a monthly infection control ‘lunch and learn’ session that is geared toward learning about new concepts in infection control. Fellows interested in acquiring practical experience in infection prevention can participate in outbreak investigations, perform quality improvement projects, and attend monthly departmental infection control meetings under the mentorship of Rush faculty.

Our clinical faculty (Drs. Alan Harris, Mary Hayden, Michael Lin, Kyle Popovich, David Schwartz, John Segreti, Robert Weinstein, Sharon Welbel) include nationally and internationally recognized leaders in infection control. Examples of current activities include:

Research Excellence

Our fellowship program seeks to prepare fellows interested in a career in academic medicine. Fellows in our training program have the opportunity to advance science through mentored research during their two-year fellowship. Interested fellows may apply for a funded 3rd year of fellowship dedicated to research training.

The Chicago Prevention and Intervention Epicenter at RUMC/CCH is one of eleven CDC Prevention Epicenters in the United States. Our Epicenter program, continuously funded since 2006, provides unparalleled opportunities for fellows to collaborate with CDC, state and local public health authorities, and other academic institutions to prevent healthcare associated infections. Our faculty have received over $12.5 million in CDC and NIH funding over the last 5 years to conduct innovative infection control and prevention research.

Current areas of healthcare epidemiology research include the following:

  • Epidemiology and control of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in healthcare and community settings (Dr. Kyle Popovich)
  • Epidemiology and control of extensively drug-resistant organisms (XDROs), including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales and Candida auris (Drs. Mary Hayden, Michael Lin, William Trick, Robert Weinstein, Sarah Sansom)
  • Genomic epidemiology of healthcare-associated pathogens (Drs. Michael Lin, Mary Hayden, Kyle Popovich, Sarah Sansom, Stefan Green)
  • Understanding the role of the human microbiome in the spread of antibiotic resistance (Drs. Mary Hayden, Michael Lin, Sarah Sansom, Stefan Green)
  • Network analysis and modeling of pathogen transmission (Drs. Kyle Popovich, Michael Lin, Mary Hayden, William Trick)
  • De-colonization strategies such as chlorhexidine gluconate bathing to reduce hospital acquired infection (Drs. Mary Hayden, Michael Lin, Yoona Rhee, Robert Weinstein)
  • Improving the diagnosis and prevention of C. difficile in the hospital setting (Drs. Michael Lin, John Segreti, Mary Hayden)
  • Computer informatics to improve the surveillance of healthcare acquired infections and to control XDROs (Drs. Michael Lin, William Trick, Carlos Santos)