The Social Science of Antimicrobials

The Social Science of Antimicrobials program is designed address the critical challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), building on strengths within the arts and social sciences, as well as those in the medical and health sciences. This program approaches AMR as a profoundly complex and multilayered social issue. That is, along with biological and biomedical innovation, tackling AMR requires sustained engagement with the social, cultural, economic, and political dynamics that contribute to AMR (and also offer potential solutions). Our guiding question is thus:

Given the widespread acknowledgement that antimicrobial resistance is set to become the most
pressing global health threat of the 21st Century, why do we continue to misuse our available 
antimicrobial resources?

The Social Science of Antimicrobials program utilises cutting-edge social science techniques to help identify factors and promote strategies for the sustainable use of antimicrobials, thereby contributing to the broader project to reduce the proliferation of AMR and improve antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) strategies in Australia and beyond. Our central aim, through world-leading research, scholarship and engagement is, as follows:

To promote good governance, the sustainable use of antimicrobials, and promote stronger 
antimicrobial stewardship policy and practice

Working with our key partners who also seek to limit AMR and implement AMS, and various communities/publics affected by AMR (i.e. vulnerable populations and populations in developing countries), this unique program provides a new evidence-base for building the Australian and global response to the threat of AMR and contributing to the global effort to rein in unnecessary use of antimicrobials. Thus far this program has been funded by the Australian Research Council, Queensland Health, New South Wales Health; the Sunshine Coast Health and Hospital Service; the Prince of Wales Hospital (and Foundation); the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare; the Australasian Society for Infection Diseases; and, the Australian Society of Antimicrobials. This unique Program has already enacted considerable change within the health sector, and currently has active projects across Australia, India and the United Kingdom.

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