i(AM)Responsible: A Nationwide Network for Engaging Consumers and Agricultural Producers in Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Antimicrobial resistant infections have been recognized globally as a significant threat to public health. While research to characterize antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in microbial populations on livestock production systems has progressed since launching the AFRI Food Safety AMR Program, a nationwide coordinated effort among university outreach programs to convey science-based knowledge on AMR dynamics to stakeholders, including agricultural producers, food safety experts, educators, consumers, medical professionals, and policymakers, remains undeveloped. Significant uncertainty about the exact cause(s) and factors impacting proliferation of AMR still exists. As research continues to focus on these topics, developing nationwide capacity for conducting effective scientific outreach and stakeholder education on this topic will be critical to disseminating best management strategies that stakeholders can implement to mitigate their contributions to AMR.

What did we do?

Map of iAMR project team members by region and expertise
Figure 1. iAMR project team members by region and expertise

A nationwide team of research and extension professionals with expertise in livestock production, veterinary medicine, food safety, communication strategies and environmental management (Figure 1) has assembled to develop capacity to design and deliver nationwide extension programming focused on AMR.

The project title, “iAMResponsible”, is intended to convey that everyone has an obligation to understand AMR and learn how they can adapt to using science-based practices to mitigate AMR and preserve the efficacy of antibiotics for future generations. Essential to the awareness campaign was the identification of an expanding group of content experts whose work is the foundation for the media materials created for the campaign and for much of the educational materials being developed for extension outreach programming. Thus far, the principal activities of the project have involved curating, translating and disseminating agricultural-, environmental- and food safety-related AMR research outcomes via social media (Figure 2) and short extension articles for blog and print outlets.

Program branding and social media graphics for the iAMR Project.
Figure 2. Program branding and social media graphics for the iAMR Project.

A special session, One Health: Policies, Practices and Priorities to Address Antimicrobial Resistance, assembled and sponsored by the iAMResponsible Project will be presented at the 2019 Waste-to-Worth Conference .

What have we learned?

Growing awareness among the general public of “antimicrobial resistance” and associated human health risks is the impetus for numerous agency-, industry- and organization-led education efforts being established about AMR. The iAMR Project seeks to cooperate with related efforts to leverage resources and amplify dissemination of AMR-related educational information.

While not a disease itself, antimicrobial resistance is contributing to widespread incidences of untreatable microbial infections. Because misinformation and ambiguous terminology contribute to misunderstandings about risks to human health associated with “AMR”, in general, communicating the level of risk associated with AMR in clinical and nonclinical settings is recognized as an essential component to be addressed through this outreach project.

Future Plans

The iAMResponsible project team will continue efforts to identify educational needs, produce and curate research-based content intended to improve public awareness about AMR, and improve access among producers, consumers, and stakeholders to research-based information about potential AMR-related food safety risks. In the coming year, public awareness efforts will be coupled with an examination of producer attitudes toward AMR and antibiotic use and an evaluation of audience needs to identify gaps in informational materials and outreach methods. The team will utilize these results to further refine our outreach efforts towards improving the ability among producers, consumers, and stakeholders to assess and adopt practices to mitigate potential AMR-related risks.

Are you interested in contributing to the iAMR Project?

Each iAMR Project team member has expertise that strengthens the collective value of the project. We also recognize that impacting something as complicated as antimicrobial resistance requires broad engagement and novel outreach approaches. If you have interest in contributing to the iAMR Project – as a core team member, content author, or outreach supporter – we would like to hear from you!

Corresponding author title and affiliation

Mara Zelt, Biological Systems Engineering Graduate Student and Research Technologist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Corresponding author email


Other Authors

Amy Millmier Schmidt (Project Director), Byron Chaves and Richard Stowell, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lindsay Chichester, University of Nevada

Eduardo Guiterrez-Rodriquez and Sid Thakur, North Carolina State University

Divya Jaroni, Oklahoma State University

Jovana Kovacevic, Oregon State University

David Lansing, University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Stephanie Lansing and Rohan Tikekar, University of Maryland

Additional information

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/i_AMResponsible

Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/iAMResponsibleEDU

Project website coming soon!


Funding for the iAMR Project and AMR-related research has been provided by USDA-NIFA Award Nos. 2017-68003-26497, 2018-68003-27467 and 2018-68003-27545.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2019. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth. Minneapolis, MN. April 22-26, 2019. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.