Susan Huang, MD, MPH, has devoted her research career to addressing antibiotic-resistant pathogens and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). She is professor of medicine and medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at the University of California Irvine.
Her breadth of contributions includes measuring the burden and risk factors associated with pathogen-specific and device-associated HAIs, implementing innovative strategies for containment, and improving metrics and study design. Her claims-based algorithms have improved surgical site infection detection across a range of high volume-high cost procedures. These algorithms have been adopted by many states and Medicare as the standard for SSI validation for value-based purchasing metrics. Her outbreak detection algorithms are being tested in an 80-hospital trial.
She is best known for her work on antibiotic-resistant pathogens, especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) across the continuum of care. Dr. Huang is involved in six randomized clinical trials to reduce these infections, including the REDUCE MRSA Trial of 74 ICUs showing body surface decolonization markedly reduced MRSA and dropped bloodstream infections by nearly half. This trial led to widespread adoption of antiseptic bathing across US ICUs. Her ongoing trials are evaluating similar interventions in non-ICUs, post-discharge settings, and nursing homes. Dr. Huang is also engaged in dynamic simulation models to understand pathogen transmission across healthcare facilities throughout a region.
Dr. Huang has 150+ peer-reviewed publications on antibiotic resistance and HAI prevention. She has spoken throughout the US and internationally, and has served as a member of the Antibiotic Resistance Working Group for the CDC Board of Scientific Counselors, the Antibiotic Resistance Committee for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Clinical Effectiveness Research Innovation Collaborative of the National Academies of Medicine, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), a federal advisory committee that develops guidelines on infection control and prevention in healthcare settings.