Spotlight on Engagement: Nasia Safdar

Spreading awareness and preventing healthcare-associated infections

Lead Researcher: Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD; UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

What is the focus of your research?

Our team’s research agenda focuses on healthcare-associated infection (HAI) prevention and treatment with a specific interest in antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
To better inform our work, we applied for and received a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington Engagement Award. The purpose of the project was to develop the capacity for two groups of stakeholders to engage in conversations with researchers around identifying patient-centered research priorities for HAIs. One group was comprised of patients and caregivers who had experience with an HAI and the other group was comprised of institutional stakeholders who had professional expertise in HAI-related issues (infection preventionists, public health leaders, healthcare quality professionals, researchers and clinicians). The patient and caregiver group decided they would be known as The Patients Engaged in Education and Research (PEER) Group.

How has stakeholder engagement helped your project so far?

We are excited about stakeholder accomplishments in our engagement activities:

  • With guidance from WINRS, The PEER Group identified research priorities for HAI prevention and treatment that have resulted in several interventions and informed future research plans.
    PEER Group members have been sharing the benefits of stakeholder engagement in the community.
  • Collaboration between stakeholder groups resulted in the creation of a series of radio ads broadcast over the course of 21 weeks on Wisconsin radio stations. These ads were meant to raise public awareness about HAI issues, antimicrobial stewardship, and antibiotic resistance.
  • The PEER Group members were co-authors on a publication and an award-winning poster displayed at an international conference.
  • Two PEER Group members were selected as patient ambassadors at the annual PCORI conference, including an opportunity to share their patient engagement experience with congressional representatives.

What is a lesson you’ve learned from your stakeholder engagement work?

Perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned is the critical role that the voice of experience adds to the research conversation. Whether it is the patient, family or caregiver, understanding the experiences of those who are impacted by research findings is essential to the research process. Stakeholder engagement is an opportunity to test the validity of researchers’ assumptions and assist in planning practical interventions.

What WINRS services have you used?

  • Consultation on strategic stakeholder meeting agendas, effective meeting facilitation, and efficient summary reports
  • CARDS meeting to review scripts for public radio advertisements