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Dr. Susan Huang - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Dr. Susan Huang Dr. Susan Huang

Professor and Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention, Department of Medicine, Division of Infection Diseases | UCI Health


Dr. Huang’s is one of the nation's leading experts on clinical epidemiology of highly antibiotic-resistant organisms.






Prof. Susan Huang at ICPIC – How to control multi-resistant Coronavirus: The OC Response



Dr. Huang’s research focuses on the clinical epidemiology of highly antibiotic-resistant organisms including estimating the risk for infection and assessing practical means for prevention. Dr. Huang’s work involves studying the risks of healthcare-associated transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), including both short and long-term sequelae due to these pathogens within and beyond the hospital stay. Her scope of research also includes an evaluation of inter-facility spread and containment of these pathogens, including the intersection of preventative measures on hospital networks, affiliated nursing homes, and surrounding communities. She has evaluated several strategies to mitigate transmission and disease, including active surveillance and institution of contact precautions, enhanced environmental cleaning, and, most recently, leading several large individual and cluster randomized trials of decolonization to reduce multidrug-resistant organisms and healthcare-associated infections.

Dr. Huang has also built a population laboratory in a large metropolitan county in Southern California (Orange County, CA). She has performed detailed data collection across all hospitals and nursing homes in this county, including extensive details on inter-facility patient sharing, infection control practices, and ICUs, non-ICUs, and nursing homes estimates of pathogen burden in this county. These detailed population data are the foundation for a dynamic transmission model of Orange County facilities and communities built through the NIH Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) collaborative. This model will allow simulation of intervention strategies as well as prediction of future trends in transmission and disease burden for MRSA and other pathogens.
Beyond MRSA, Dr. Huang is broadly interested in the measurement and prevention of healthcare associated infections. She has evaluated more efficient ways to look at relative hospital rankings using administrative data, and has balanced this with rigorous in depth assessments related to accuracy and completeness of reporting. She has specific interests in the use of automated hospital and claims data to assess pathogen clusters and surgical site infections.

Areas of Expertise (5)



Epidemiology and Infection Prevention

Infectious Diseases

Antimicrobial Resistance

Accomplishments (5)

Team Award for Outstanding Achievement (professional)

2018 Epidemiology & Infection Prevention, conferred by Chief Nursing Officer, UC Irvine Health

Abstract Award (professional)

2017 “When a Home is Not a Home: MultiDrug-Resistant Organism (MDRO) Colonization and Environmental Contamination in 28 Nursing Homes (NHs),” Older Adults Interest Group, Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)

IDWeek Program Committee Choice Award (professional)

2017 Plenary Presentation. SHEA Featured Oral Abstract, “The CDC SHIELD Orange County Project – Baseline Multi Drug-Resistant Organism (MDRO) Prevalence in a Southern California Region,” IDWeek (6th Annual Joint Meeting of IDSA, SHEA, HIVMA, and PIDS), October 6, 2017 (San Diego, CA).

SOAR Award (professional)

2016 Nosocomial C. difficile Infection Reduction Project, UC Irvine Health

Oswald Avery Award (professional)

2016 Infectious Diseases Society of America (early recognition award for outstanding achievement in an area of infectious diseases by an individual 45 years or younger)

Education (3)

Harvard School of Public Health: MPH, Quantitative Methods 2000

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: MD, Medicine 1997

Brown University: BS, Neuroscience 1992

Affiliations (3)

  • Infectious Diseases Society of America : Fellow
  • Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America : Member
  • American College of Physicians : Fellow

Media Appearances (7)

Boosters in OC Surpass 1 Million

Orange County Business Journal  online


According to Huang, booster shots not only help protect people from the virus, but they help prevent and treat “long-haul COVID,” a condition characterized by COVID symptoms lasting 20 weeks after infection.

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Mask On or Off? Life Is Getting Back to Normal, and We’re Rusty.

The New York Times  online


Dr. Susan Huang, [professor and director of epidemiology and infection prevention], of the University of California, Irvine, Medical School, explained the conflicted psychology as a function of rapidly changing risk, and the difference in tolerance individuals have for risk. … “We’re between the darkness and the light,” Dr. Huang said. She likened the psychology around masks and other behavior to the different approaches people take to changing their wardrobes at the end of winter: People who are more risk averse continue to wear winter clothes on 50 degree days, where bigger risk takers opt for shorts. “Eventually,” she said, “everyone will be wearing shorts.”

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Can you safely play indoor sports during the pandemic?

PSB Newshour  online


“This is dominantly a close-distance disease,” said Susan Huang, an infectious diseases expert at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. “There are things you can do to make it go further in the air, predominantly three feet, often within six feet and uncommonly much further than that.”

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With All Eyes on Covid-19, Drug-Resistant Infections Crept In

The New York Times  online


“Seeing the world as a one-pathogen world is really problematic,” said Dr. Susan S. Huang, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California at Irvine Medical School, noting that the nearly singular focus on the pandemic appears to have led to more spread of drug-resistant infection. “We have every reason to believe the problem has gotten worse.”

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Hospitals Look To Nursing Homes To Help Stop Drug-Resistant Infections

NPR  online


People in hospitals are vulnerable to these bugs, and people in nursing homes are particularly vulnerable. Up to 15 percent of hospital patients and 65 percent of nursing home residents harbor drug-resistant organisms, though not all of them will develop an infection, says Dr. Susan Huang, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of California, Irvine.

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Results of ABATE infection trial published

EurekAlert!  online


"Several ICU trials have shown striking reductions in infections and antibiotic resistant bacteria using daily chlorhexidine bathing and nasal decolonization with mupirocin. We wanted to know if patients outside the ICU could benefit from a similar decolonization strategy," said lead author Susan S. Huang, M.D., MPH., Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.

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Cleaning routine shows promise in curbing superbug infection

Associated Press  online


“It’s a very simple solution. You don’t have to swallow a medicine, you just have to clean the outside of your body for a little while longer,” said Dr. Susan Huang of the University of California Irvine School of Medicine. She led the federally funded study, published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Articles (4)

The SHIELD Orange County Project: Multidrug-resistant Organism Prevalence in 21 Nursing Homes and Long-term Acute Care Facilities in Southern California

Clinical Infectious Diseases

James A McKinnell, Raveena D Singh, Loren G Miller, Ken Kleinman, Gabrielle Gussin, Jiayi He, Raheeb Saavedra, Tabitha D Dutciuc, Marlene Estevez, Justin Chang, Lauren Heim, Stacey Yamaguchi, Harold Custodio, Shruti K Gohil, Steven Park, Steven Tam, Philip A Robinson, Thomas Tjoa, Jenny Nguyen, Kaye D Evans, Cassiana E Bittencourt, Bruce Y Lee, Leslie E Mueller, Sarah M Bartsch, John A Jernigan, Rachel B Slayton, Nimalie D Stone, Matthew Zahn, Vincent Mor, Kevin McConeghy, Rosa R Baier, Lynn Janssen, Kathleen O’Donnell, Robert A Weinstein, Mary K Hayden, Micaela H Coady, Megha Bhattarai, Ellena M Peterson, Susan S Huang for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Safety and Healthcare Epidemiology Prevention Research Development (SHEPheRD) Program

2019 Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) spread between hospitals, nursing homes (NHs), and long-term acute care facilities (LTACs) via patient transfers. The Shared Healthcare Intervention to Eliminate Life-threatening Dissemination of MDROs in Orange County is a regional public health collaborative involving decolonization at 38 healthcare facilities selected based on their high degree of patient sharing. We report baseline MDRO prevalence in 21 NHs/LTACs.

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Chlorhexidine versus routine bathing to prevent multidrug-resistant organisms and all-cause bloodstream infections in general medical and surgical units (ABATE Infection trial)

The Lancet

Huang SS, Septimus E, Kleinman K, Moody J, Hickok J, Heim L, Gombosev A, Avery TR, Haffenreffer K, Shimelman L, Hayden MK, Weinstein RA, Spencer-Smith C, Kaganov RE, Murphy MV, Forehand T, Lankiewicz J, Coady MH, Portillo L, Sarup-Patel J, Jernigan JA, Perlin JB, Platt R.

2019 Universal skin and nasal decolonisation reduces multidrug-resistant pathogens and bloodstream infections in intensive care units. The effect of universal decolonisation on pathogens and infections in non-critical-care units is unknown. The aim of the ABATE Infection trial was to evaluate the use of chlorhexidine bathing in non-critical-care units, with an intervention similar to one that was found to reduce multidrug-resistant organisms and bacteraemia in intensive care units.

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Decolonization to Reduce Postdischarge Infection Risk among MRSA Carriers

The New England Journal of Medicine

Susan S. Huang, M.D., M.P.H, Raveena Singh, M.A., James A. McKinnell, M.D., Steven Park, M.D., Ph.D., Adrijana Gombosev, M.S., Samantha J. Eells, M.P.H., Daniel L. Gillen, Ph.D., Diane Kim, B.S., Syma Rashid, M.D., Raul Macias-Gil, M.D., Michael A. Bolaris, M.D., Thomas Tjoa, M.P.H., M.S., Chenghua Cao, M.P.H., Suzie S. Hong, M.S., Jennifer Lequieu, B.S., Eric Cui, B.S., Justin Chang, B.S., Jiayi He, M.S., Kaye Evans, B.A., Ellena Peterson, Ph.D., Gail Simpson, M.D., Philip Robinson, M.D., Chester Choi, M.D., Charles C. Bailey, Jr., M.D., James D. Leo, M.D., Alpesh Amin, M.D., Donald Goldmann, M.D., John A. Jernigan, M.D., Richard Platt, M.D., Edward Septimus, M.D., Robert A. Weinstein, M.D., Mary K. Hayden, M.D., and Loren G. Miller, M.D., M.P.H. for the Project CLEAR Trial

2019 Hospitalized patients who are colonized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are at high risk for infection after discharge.

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Effectiveness of a multistate quality improvement campaign in reducing risk of surgical site infections following hip and knee arthroplasty

BMJ Quality & Safety

Calderwood MS, Yokoe DS, Murphy MV, DeBartolo KO, Duncan K, Chan CA, Schneider EC, Parry G, Goldmann D, Huang SS

2018 Quality improvement (QI) campaigns appear to increase use of evidence-based practices, but their effect on health outcomes is less well studied.

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