Gram Positive vs Gram Negative Bacteria and the Fight Against HAIs

by Erica Mitchell | September 23 2020

In formal descriptions of the germ-fighting powers of antibacterial and biocidal products, the terms "Gram positive" and "Gram negative" are used as a way to categorize bacteria. While there are estimated to be over 10,000 species of bacteria, they can be categorized into a few helpful categories.

One of those categories has to do with the structure of the cell membrane. All the known bacteria fit into one of two categories of cell membrane structure: Gram-positive or Gram-negative. But what does that mean?

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Black History Month: 5 Health Care Highlights

by Erica Mitchell | February 28 2020

The history of African-Americans health care is replete with stories of both tragedy and triumph. From the horrific conditions of slavery, through the centuries leading to the Civil Rights Era, to today's freedoms and hopes, our nation has been formed and transformed by our shared experiences. Today's post shares just a few of those experiences that focus on health care. Join us as we explore how extraordinary challenges and obstacles impacted both access to health care and opportunity in health care professions, and how the work continues today to achieve equality.
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3 Major Innovations on the Long Road to Hospital Infection Control

by Erica Mitchell | June 21 2019

We know a lot (or actually most) of our posts about infection and hospitals can be terrifying. But here's some good news: A least you don't live in the time before antibiotics and infection control!

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International Women's Day: Healthcare Edition

by Erica Mitchell | March 8 2017

Today is International Women's Day, a day celebrating women's achievements and bringing attention to gender parity in the workforce. In different forms, it has been observed since the early 1900s, with the first major event being a march in New York City in 1908 calling for better pay and voting rights for women. In 1977, the United Nations adopted a resolution for member nations to celebrate women's rights and achievements on a day of their choice, and started setting an annual theme in 1996. In the United States, March was named Women's History Month in 2011 by President Barak Obama on the 100 year centenary of International Women Day. In honor of today's celebrations and calls for action, today's post will explore the issues of gender parity in healthcare professions.

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Thankful for Antibiotics

by Erica Mitchell | November 23 2016

On a fall day in 1928, a window was left open in a London laboratory, letting in a cool breeze. Carried on that breeze were microscopic spores of mold, tiny particles that fell gently onto a work surface covered with open Petri dishes culturing Staphylococcus bacteria. One spore landed on the rich culture medium of a dish and began to grow, contaminating the experiment in progress. This contamination, to the surprise of the scientist when he returned to check on his experiment, was peculiar. The mold had not simply grown, it had also destroyed all the bacteria around it, leaving a clear boundary all around its perimeter. The scientist was Alexander Flemming, and his determination to find out what was going on in this peculiar, unexpected, serendipitous mistake would lead to the world-changing discovery of antibiotics. 

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Happy Birthday, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek!

by Erica Mitchell | October 24 2016

Today we celebrate the birth of a scientist known as the Father of Microbiology for his role in the use of lenses to observe the microscopic world. Optics and lens-making developed quickly in 16-17th century Europe, allowing research to expand to the universe. But just as lenses could sharpen light from far away, allowing Galileo to see Jupiter's moons, it could also magnify objects right in the laboratory. The microscope was invented by several lens makers at around the same time in the late 1500s and the technology spread throughout Europe. In the 1660s, however, the use of microscopes for intense research grew explosively. Discovery after discovery began to lay the groundwork for modern biology. 

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Science and Politics, Part 2: The President's Role

by Erica Mitchell | October 6 2016

Our previous post began a series exploring the role of American presidents and the advancement of science, beginning with our Founding Fathers. Today we continue this discussion with examples of how presidents and science have interacted over the history of our nation. We discovered that the presidential role in science, while sometimes simply as leader or visionary, more often takes the role of facilitator - and most importantly, but modeling an acceptance of scientific authority for the nation. Let’s look at the events that bring us to this conclusion.

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Science and Politics, Part 1: Our Founding Fathers

by Erica Mitchell | September 30 2016

As we enter the heated month before Election Day, we are going to take an opportunity to explore the relationship between science and our government over the course of a few blog posts. We’ll explore a few key questions: How important was science to the Founding Fathers who penned the documents that still guide us today? How have Presidents interacted with the advancement of science since the birth of our nation? Just how involved is our current government in science, and finally, how do the two major party candidates differ with relation to science? Stay with us over the next few weeks to find out!

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Women's Equality Day: Science Edition

by Erica Mitchell | August 26 2016

Less than 100 years ago today, American women were given the right to vote. For less than half of that time, August 26th has been recognized as Women’s Equality Day, a day to celebrate the struggles and successes of this movement to allow women to have a say in elections, and a voice in society as a whole. This struggle for a say and a voice continues, and while there has been tremendous progress, this struggle is quite visible in the world of science. Today’s post will celebrate the achievements of female scientists, while also discussing the two major obstacles women in science face, even today.

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8 Ways John Snow is like Jon Snow

by Erica Mitchell | April 26 2016

These days, most people hearing the name “John Snow” will think of the character Jon Snow from HBO’s Game of Thrones, a hugely successful series based on the books by George R. R. Martin. Many of the 6 million+ viewers of this fantasy series may not know that there was another John Snow, perhaps one without the coal-black curls and swarthy good looks, but a man who changed the world of medicine and saved millions of lives. What does a fictional hero who wields a magical sword to destroy the undead atop a 700-foot wall of ice have to do with a Victorian-era physician who wielded nothing heavier than a fountain pen as he collected thousands of data points in a 1-square-mile neighborhood of London? The answer may surprise you!

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