NACCHO recognizes Stephanie R. Black, MD, MSc as its latest Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Champion. Dr. Black serves as the Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Program at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). She is a leader in using evidence-based practices to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including healthcare-associated infections and multidrug-resistant organisms. Dr. Black uses her experience in the field to inform national guidance and build IPC capacity in local health departments.
IPC Champions are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about infection prevention and control. They work at local health departments and advance infection prevention and control capacity, activities, guidelines, and engagement.
On the Local Level: Chicago Department of Public Health
The Communicable Disease Program of CDPH works to mitigate and prevent transmission of infectious diseases in Chicago, the third largest city in the United States. As Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Program, Dr. Black leads those efforts. Dr. Black works with staff at CDPH to create guidance for healthcare facilities on preventing and controlling the spread of infections, address antibiotic resistance, conduct surveillance and outbreak investigations, and respond to threats caused by emerging infectious diseases, like Candida auris and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Dr. Black has investigated outbreaks of Legionnaire’s disease and coordinated the City of Chicago’s response to the 2014–2015 Ebola virus disease epidemic. She convened the Chicago Ebola Response Network (CERN), which could receive and manage cases of Ebola virus disease. CERN now serves as a roadmap for regional approaches to public health emergencies.
She also leads the healthcare response team during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with her exceptional team of infection preventionists, epidemiologists, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, and administrative support, Dr. Black and the healthcare response team have worked with skilled nursing facilities to achieve a 49% decrease in proportion of hospitalized cases and a 63% decrease in proportion of deaths due to COVID-19.
“Our team has done an outstanding job providing ongoing and updated guidance and testing and vaccination support to hard-working directors of nursing and administrators,” Black said. “Over the year of the pandemic, these relationships have resulted in trust and exchange of ideas to foster best practices making these congregate settings as safe as possible.”
Since starting as Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Program in 2008, Dr. Black doubled the size of the Communicable Disease Program and received federal funding to support work related to healthcare-associated infections. She continues building capacity for infection control and prevention in settings at high risk of transmission.
Impact Beyond Chicago
Dr. Black shares her perspectives and represents local public health through her participation on national, state, and local committees. She serves as a NACCHO liaison on the Council for Outbreak Response: Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistant Pathogens (CORHA) Detection and Reporting Workgroup. As a member of the Detection and Reporting Workgroup, Dr. Black helps create standard definitions for outbreaks and exposure events, set thresholds for reporting, improve reporting of outbreaks and exposure events to public health authorities, and identify ways to use existing surveillance systems to detect outbreaks.
Since 2020, Dr. Black has represented local public health as a voting member on the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). Dr. Black is the first PACCARB member to specifically represent local public health. She uses her local public health, clinical, and academic experiences to combat antibiotic resistance by working with other PACCARB members to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Currently, Dr. Black co-chairs PACCARB’s Antibiotic Access and Use Working Group. The Working Group formed in fall 2020 to investigate and report on differences in perception and use of antibiotics from a One Health perspective and advise on antimicrobial stewardship in the virtual care setting, specifically direct-to-consumer telemedicine. The Working Group plans to review its report and associated recommendations with other PACCARB members during PACCARB’s June 2021 meeting.
Dr. Black is also committed to mentorship and scholarship. She mentors Master of Public Health students and Epidemic Intelligence Service Officers. Additionally, Dr. Black is a member of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Council of Local Urban Epidemiologists, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Dr. Black completed Incident Command System training in 2013.
“I do not do this work on my own,” Black said. “I always say the best thing I have done for the Chicago Department of Public Health is hire the people I’ve hired!”
Dr. Black extensively contributes and shows unwavering commitment to infection prevention and control at the local and national levels. Her clinical and public health background, plus experience informing polices and guidelines, helps prevent and control healthcare-associated infections and multidrug-resistant organisms. From leading disease outbreak investigations of healthcare-associated infections in Chicago to informing national policy guidelines about antimicrobial resistance, Dr. Black is a leading voice in infection prevention and control.
To contribute to the collective body of knowledge related to infectious diseases, Dr. Black authored many relevant publications. See below for some of Dr. Black’s publications related to IPC and COVID-19.
- Vallabhaneni, S., Kallen, A., Tsay, S., Chow, N., Welsh, R., Kerins, J., Kemble, S. K., Pacilli, M., Black, S. R., Landon, E., Ridgway, J., Palmore, T. N., Zelzany, A., Adams, E. H., Quinn, M., Chaturvedi, S., Greenko, J., Fernandez, R., Southwick, K., … Chiller, T. M. (2016). Investigation of the First Seven Reported Cases of Candida auris, a Globally Emerging Invasive, Multidrug-Resistant Fungus-United States, May 2013-August 2016. American Journal of Transplantation, 17(1), 296–299.
- Pacilli, M., Cortese, M. M., Smith, S., Siston, A., Samala, U., Bowen, M. D., Parada, J. P., Tam, K. I., Rungsrisuriyachai, K., Roy, S., Esona, M. D., & Black, S. R. (2015). Outbreak of Gastroenteritis in Adults Due to Rotavirus Genotype G12P. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 61(4).
- Black, S. R., Weaver, K. N., Weinstein, R. A., Hayden, M. K., Lin, M. Y., Lavin, M. A., & Gerber, S. I. (2015). Regional Infection Control Assessment of Antibiotic Resistance Knowledge and Practice. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 36(4), 381–386.
- Mayhall, C. G., Black, S. R., Bonten, M. J. M., & Weinstein, R. A. (2012). Chapter 34: Enterobacteriaceae. In Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (4th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Serdarevic, F., Jones, R. C., Weaver, K. N., Black, S. R., Ritger, K. A., Guichard, F., Dombroski, P., Emanuel, B. P., Miller, L., & Gerber, S. I. (2011). Multi-pathogen waterborne disease outbreak associated with a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan. Epidemiology and Infection, 140(4), 621–625.
- Metzger, K. E., Black, S. R., Jones, R. C., Nelson, S. R., Robicsek, A., Trenholme, G. M., Lavin, M. A., Weber, S. G., Garcia-Houchins, S., Landon, E., Parada, J. P., & Gerber, S. I. (2011). Identification, Management, and Clinical Characteristics of Hospitalized Patients with Influenza-Like Illness during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic, Cook County, Illinois. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 32(10), 998–1002.
- Black, S. R., Weaver, K. N., Jones, R. C., Ritger, K. A., Petrella, L. A., Sambol, S. P., Vernon, M., Burton, S., Garcia-Houchins, S., Weber, S. G., Lavin, M. A., Gerding, D., Johnson, S., & Gerber, S. I. (2011). Clostridium difficileOutbreak Strain BI Is Highly Endemic in Chicago Area Hospitals. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 32(9), 897–902.
- Gorbach, S. L., Bartlett, J. G., Blacklow, N. R., Black, S. R., & Weinstein, R. A. (2004). Chapter 9: The Pathogens of Nosocomial Infections. In Infectious diseases (3rd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Black, S. R., & Weinstein, R. A. (2000). The Case for Face Masks--Zorro or Zero? Clinical Infectious Diseases, 31(2), 522–523.
COVID-19 related publications:
- Teran, R. A., Walblay, K. A., Shane, E. L., Xydis, S., Gretsch, S., Gagner, A., Samala, U., Choi, H., Zelinski, C., & Black, S. R. (2021). Postvaccination SARS‐CoV‐2 infections among skilled nursing facility residents and staff members — Chicago, Illinois, December 2020–March 2021. American Journal of Transplantation, 21(6), 2290–2297.
- Ghinai, I., McPherson, T. D., Hunter, J. C., Kirking, H. L., Christiansen, D., Joshi, K., Rubin, R., Morales-Estrada, S., Black, S. R., Pacilli, M., Fricchione, M. J., Chugh, R. K., Walblay, K. A., Ahmed, N. S., Stoecker, W. C., Hasan, N. F., Burdsall, D. P., Reese, H. E., Wallace, M., … Uyeki, T. M. (2020). First known person-to-person transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the USA. The Lancet, 395(10230), 1137–1144.
- Ghinai, I., Woods, S., Ritger, K. A., McPherson, T. D., Black, S. R., Sparrow, L., Fricchione, M. J., Kerins, J. L., Pacilli, M., Ruestow, P. S., Arwady, M. A., Beavers, S. F., Payne, D. C., Kirking, H. L., & Layden, J. E. (2020). Community Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at Two Family Gatherings — Chicago, Illinois, February–March 2020. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 69(15), 446–450.