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Healthcare Epidemiology, Infection Control and Prevention

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, infection control and prevention as a part of their core training. All fellows are enrolled in the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) online, interactive self-study infection control course for fellows. Fellows who are interested in healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention and control as a career path may choose to participate in either the SHEA Annual Fellows’ Course in Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control or the SHEA/CDC Training Course in Healthcare Epidemiology Course, which is offered each spring at the SHEA annual scientific meeting. Fellows obtain practical experience in identification and surveillance of healthcare-associated infection outbreak investigation and control, and patient safety/quality improvement projects under the mentorship of Rush Faculty. 

Our clinical faculty (Drs. Alan Harris, Mary Hayden, Michael Lin, Kyle Popovich, Yoona Rhee, Sarah Sansom, John Segreti, Robert Weinstein, Sharon Welbel) include nationally and internationally recognized leaders in healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention. 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 can 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 dedicated to innovative research to protect patients. 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 HaydenMichael LinWilliam 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)