Mountainside hospital has received the 2021 Antimicrobial Steward Award from the Communicable Disease Service of the New Jersey Department of Health.

According to an announcement from the hopsital, the award program is voluntary and encourages healthcare facilities to assess how well they are applying the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s "Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship," a set of key principles to guide efforts to improve antibiotic use, advance patient safety and improve outcomes.

The award recognizes facilities that have promoted antimicrobial stewardship practices from 2020 to 2021 that encourage and maintain the health of patients, personnel and the general New Jersey population.

Given the recent demands on healthcare facilities, the antimicrobial stewardship team has had to work harder than ever to respond to patient needs during the pandemic while ramping up efforts to curb resistant infections and ensure appropriate antimicrobial use, the announcement said.

“Tremendous strides in antimicrobial stewardship have been made over the last few years, largely due to the efforts of a cohesive multidisciplinary team led by Punit Gupta, M.D., chair of infectious disease, and Mona Nashed, clinical pharmacy coordinator, as well as the full support of the administrative team,” Julia Ilyin, the director of pharmacy at Mountainside hospital said in the announcement. “They believe strongly in the value and importance of the antimicrobial stewardship program and recognize that antibiotics should be treated as precious resources that need to be conserved for future generations.”

The application evaluates metrics on hospital leadership commitment, accountability, pharmacy expertise, action, tracking, reporting, and education and awards facilities at gold, silver or bronze levels.

“The silver recognition for Mountainside proves that our pharmacy team is devoted to improving the use of antimicrobial medications in our facility as we continue to protect our patient population,” Dr. Valerie Allusson, chief medical officer at the hospital, said in the announcement. “COVID-19 can exacerbate antimicrobial resistance and it is extremely important that we continue to reduce the occurrence of antimicrobial-related events as new variants of the virus are discovered.”