Pharmacy Professor Sought for Expertise on Superbugs

by Kathryn Sill, Public Relations Writer

With cold and flu season upon us, medical professionals are preparing themselves for a large increase in the number of patients they treat for illnesses. Complicating matters even further are drug-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs,” which have increased dramatically over the last decade.

In order to fight these powerful strands of bacteria, pharmacists and physicians have been partnering together to be more strategic in administering antibiotics.

This method of being wise with antibiotics is known as antimicrobial stewardship. The primary goals of antimicrobial stewardship are to decrease the rate of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and to encourage safer and more effective uses of antibiotics.

Zach Jenkins, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Cedarville University, was recently interviewed by the Springfield News-Sun and Dayton Daily News about his efforts in antimicrobial stewardship.

Jenkins was sought out by the media for his expertise on the way superbugs develop, specifically through the Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), a bacteria present in every human body. C. difficile is not usually dangerous until exposed to certain antibiotics, but more than half a million people develop an illness due to the reaction each year, and the illnesses are becoming harder to treat.

“C. difficile reminds us to weigh the risks and benefits of each antibiotic prior to use,” said Jenkins. “Not every condition requires an antibiotic, and taking an antibiotic when a condition does not warrant one may actually lead to other infections like C. difficile.”

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Jenkins works as a clinical pharmacy specialist in infectious disease at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio. As a member of the system-wide Premier Health Partners antimicrobial stewardship team, Jenkins is responsible for developing stewardship efforts at Atrium Medical Center.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.