News release: Minnesota’s ‘One Health’ approach to antibiotic resistance shows progress in first year of strategic plan

News Release
November 15, 2017

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Minnesota’s ‘One Health’ approach to antibiotic resistance shows progress in first year of strategic plan

In an effort to combat antibiotic resistance and protect the health of people, animals and the environment, three state agencies are working together with statewide partners to increase public and professional awareness of responsible antibiotic use.

Made up of the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Board of Animal Health, and partners in human and veterinary health care, the Minnesota One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative has made significant progress on its strategic plan since it was launched in July 2016. A “One Health” approach recognizes connection among the health of humans, animals, and the environment. Antibiotic stewardship is the process of improving how antibiotics are used.

The first goal of the strategic plan is to promote an understanding of One Health antibiotic stewardship. During the collaborative’s first year, members staffed a booth in the EcoExperience at the Minnesota State Fair, answering questions from the public about antibiotics in health care, animal health and the environment. Professionals in the collaborative also learned from each other, in group discussions and by spending time at a large acute care hospital and a dairy farm, about how antibiotic stewardship is conducted across health disciplines. MDH maintains an antibiotic stewardship website, with resources for the public and for health professionals in all disciplines.

The strategic plan also outlines goals for improving antibiotic use in health care and in animal care settings. Minnesota’s One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative has facilitated the development of a Minnesota Antibiotic Stewardship Honor Roll, recognizing hospitals for making a commitment to stewardship, and has worked with faculty at the University of Minnesota to enhance antibiotic stewardship curriculum in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Because the public is directly affected by antibiotic use, public engagement is essential to improving knowledge about when antibiotics are needed and their potential harms. Fact sheets outlining key information about antibiotic use have been developed by the collaborative and are available online.

Finally, because antibiotics from urban and agricultural sources have been found in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and groundwater, collaborative members have designed research to better understand this antibiotic “footprint” in the environment, and to consider ways to lessen the impact of antibiotic use.

"Minnesota is leading other states in the One Health antibiotic stewardship approach,” said Dr. Amanda Beaudoin, MDH director of One Health Antibiotic Stewardship. “This is in keeping with the long history of collaboration across disciplines to safeguard the health of Minnesotans.”

During U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week Nov. 13-19, Beaudoin said, collaborative members urge everyone in health care and veterinary clinics, on the farm, and at home to learn more about what they can do to be antibiotic aware. “Our widespread use of antibiotics drives the problem of resistance, making infections more difficult, or impossible, to treat,” she said.

Follow these tips to practice antibiotic stewardship:

  • Decrease the need for antibiotics by avoiding infections. Wash your hands properly, cover your cough and get recommended vaccines.
  • Do not ask for antibiotics if your health care provider, dentist or veterinarian thinks they are unnecessary.
  • When you are prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as directed.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed for you; do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Antibiotics treat specific infections. Taking the wrong medicine might make things worse.
  • Do not save antibiotics for your next illness. Properly dispose of any leftover medication once the prescribed course of treatment is completed. Information on proper disposal of medication can be found at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website.

For more information on One Health, visit these websites:
One Health Antibiotic Stewardship Website
CDC U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Managing unwanted medications


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications Office