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Susan Huang, MD, earns 2012 researcher award

Dr. Susan Huang, infectious disease specialist at UC Irvine Medical Center

Oct. 23, 2012 — UC Irvine infectious disease specialist Dr. Susan Huang is the recipient of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America's 2012 Investigator Award.

The prestigious award is given annually to recognize the work of an investigator in the field of infection control and healthcare epidemiology. Awardees are selected for the breadth and quality of their contributions in infection prevention and control, as well as the merit of their scientific abstract.

Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at UC Irvine Medical Center, is a leading researcher of hospital-borne infections caused by drug-resistant pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

A study presented by Huang at an Oct. 17 conference of epidemiologists and infection control experts showed that the rate of MRSA infection in hospital intensive care units was reduced dramatically when all ICU patients were bathed daily with an antiseptic soap and their nasal passages were treated with an antibacterial ointment.

Dr. Lauri Thrupp, a UC Irvine Medical Center senior epidemiologist and School of Medicine professor emeritus, said the award was well deserved.

“Dr. Huang has masterfully coordinated population-based modeling studies with a national [network] as well as with Orange County and California databases,” Thrupp said. “Especially for MRSA, she has focused on identifying the population burden and the dynamics of community spread, risk factors and prevention strategies for hospital-associated infections.”

Thrupp called it “remarkable” that Huang and fellow team members presented not only the MRSA study but also 21 additional abstracts and talks at the IDWeek 2012 meeting in San Diego.