Contagious Conversations: Creatively Combating Antimicrobial Resistance


When it comes to communicating important public health messaging, not many people think immediately of musicals. But the arts can serve a powerful role in spreading awareness about health threats like chronic disease and the rise of antimicrobial resistance. In the latest episode of our Contagious Conversations podcast, I enjoyed discussing this unique overlap with Dr. Meghan Perry and Ella Balasa.

Dr. Perry is an infectious disease physician in the Scottish National Health Service and a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Her experience with infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance sparked the idea for a musical titled “The Mould that Changed the World,” which details the life of Dr. Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Ella has endured a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis that has left her with some antibiotic resistance and led her to become a patient advocate for cystic fibrosis patients.  

The CDC Foundation is collaborating with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support organizations using the arts and culture to educate local communities about vaccine safety and efficacy. Through funding provided by the CDC, the CDC Foundation is supporting 30 community-based organizations–include arts, cultural, public health, higher education and other types of organizations–to  create work that inspires people to get vaccinated by providing accurate information about the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines in creative, engaging ways. 

I hope you will tune in for this powerful and personal conversation about the power of the arts to promote key public health messages and the role patient advocacy can play in raising awareness about public health issues like antimicrobial resistance.   

Judy Monroe
Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.