CDC Foundation Partners with The Pew Charitable Trusts to Examine Antibiotic Use in U.S. Healthcare Settings

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, both in the United States and across the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year in the United States more than 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant organisms, resulting in approximately 23,000 deaths. A primary factor driving antibiotic resistance is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. To help address this issue, the CDC Foundation partnered with The Pew Charitable Trusts to analyze antibiotic use in inpatient and outpatient healthcare settings in the United States. Improving antibiotic prescribing practices in human medicine protects patients from unnecessary risk for preventable allergic reactions, antibiotic-resistant infections, and Clostridium difficile infection, a sometimes deadly diarrhea resulting from an infection acquired during antibiotic use.

“Antibiotics are miracle drugs. A better understanding of how antibiotics are used inside and outside of hospitals will help us identify where improvements in prescribing practices are needed to protect patients and provide high-quality health care,” said Lauri Hicks, D.O., director of CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship. “This partnership will help CDC do more rapid analyses of our antibiotic use data to make recommendations for improvements and set the course for the nation.”

As part of the continued effort to combat antibiotic resistance, CDC, along with Pew and more than 150 organizations participated in a White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship earlier this year. CDC served as a lead organization for this event, which brought together key human and animal health constituencies involved in antibiotic stewardship—the development, promotion and implementation of activities to ensure the responsible use of antibiotics. As part of the event, companies, retailers and stakeholders highlighted commitments to implement changes over the next five years to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections. Pew’s commitment includes continued collaboration with CDC to provide both clinicians and policymakers with the data and tools necessary to improve how antibiotics are prescribed and used. 

“Pew is pleased to partner with CDC and CDC Foundation in the national effort to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic resistance project. “This work is foundational to improving stewardship of antibiotics across all health care settings—a critical component of the sustained, multipronged strategy required to effectively mitigate the threat of drug-resistant bacteria and protect the public health.” 

“If we all work together to employ effective antibiotic stewardship programs, we can make healthcare safer,” said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “We are grateful to The Pew Charitable Trusts for this support to help us obtain a better understanding of antibiotic use in healthcare settings.”

This data analysis project is part of the Safe Healthcare Initiative, a partnership program coordinated by CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion and the CDC Foundation to eliminate healthcare-associated infections. Other efforts include the Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program, the Safe Injection Practices Coalition and patient tools for antibiotic stewardship programs. Please contact Alison Thompson, associate vice president for advancement, at to learn more about this initiative.