UNITED STATES TO GREECE
Fighting hospital-acquired infections. Improving patient safety and the quality of health care services in Greece
Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis (Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2017–2018) is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and attending physician and former Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Pennsylvania. He is also the Director of the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness Research at the CHOP Research Institute, whose mission is to discover, disseminate, and implement knowledge about best practices in pediatrics. In Greece, Dr. Zaoutis is Professor-Elect at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine; he serves as Scientific Director at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research (CLEO), which he founded in 2011 under the auspices of the 1st and 2nd Pediatric Department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and supported by a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. CLEO's vision is to improve patient safety and the quality of healthcare services in Greece through research, education, and targeted interventions to strengthen the Greek healthcare system. Dr. Zaoutis also serves as an advisor to the Greek Ministry of Health and to the country's newly established National Organization for Quality Assurance in Health (ODIPY). Finally, he is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. His research interests include antimicrobial resistance and stewardship, fungal infections, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), and hospital and clinical epidemiology.
As a result of his Fulbright fellowship, Dr. Zaoutis was able to significantly expand CLEO's work in Greece by increasing its field of action to include a wider range of pediatric hospitals, as well as adult hospitals, where CLEO engaged in the surveillance and prevention of common HAIs, the surveillance and improvement of compliance to infection prevention practices, and the surveillance of antibiotic use, with the overall goal of reducing HAIs and antibiotic resistance in Greek hospitals. The success of this work led to the announcement in February 2021 of a groundbreaking five-year national program for the prevention and control of HAIs and antibiotic resistance, led by CLEO and ODIPY and made possible by a €5 million grant from the SNF. In addition, the expansion of CLEO's work during his Fulbright fellowship allowed the organization to be uniquely poised to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic both within Greece and throughout Europe. Shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, CLEO secured a major grant to design and implement training programs for healthcare workers at Covid-19 centers and hospitals in Greece, as well as to perform research on the spread of Covid-19. Subsequently, in early 2021, CLEO was tapped to coordinate VACCELERATE, the new European Union Vaccine Research Network, which will connect all European stakeholders involved in Covid-19 vaccine development and form the pan-European foundation for pediatric Covid-19 vaccine trials.