The development of antibiotic therapy has prevented tens of millions of infection-related deaths, but the evolution of multidrug-resistant pathogens threatens our status quo. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has bene projected to substantially increase the morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs of infectious diseases treatment. Harvard Antimicrobial Resistance (HAMR), a subgroup of the Harvard Infectious Diseases Consortium (IDC), was founded to bring together the broader Harvard community to address this pressing challenge on all fronts, from understanding the basic science of resistance to studying economic interventions for incentivizing drug development. Our work falls broadly under two areas: community engagement and political advocacy.
As part of our community engagement efforts, we host events for the Harvard and broader Boston AMR community with the goals of fostering increased collaboration and providing trainees with more opportunities to showcase their work. We aim to highlight perspectives not typically encountered in the academic biomedical community including experts from law, economics, pharmacy, activism, and beyond. We plan to expand our engagement to include middle and high school students by running introductory workshops on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.
Recognizing the importance of engaging our elected representatives on AMR, we are also planning to 1) write op-eds and 2) set up meetings with health staffers in congressional offices to advocate for increased government funding on AMR public health initiatives. Despite growing recognition of the importance of an early response to AMR trends, funding for sustainable antibiotic development and public health surveillance have remained low.