The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Reducing Hospital-Acquired Infections in the Burn Intensive Care Unit

Principal Investigator
Julie Caffrey DO


Johns Hopkins University-School of Medicine

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Other, Other

Infection is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in burn patients. Contaminated surfaces in patient rooms have been linked to several nosocomial pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci, which may persist on environmental surfaces. S. aureus is the most common bacteria found in burn wounds and drug-resistant strains are becoming increasingly prevalent. These bacteria are difficult to eradicate from environmental surfaces, which is especially concerning for burn patients who are highly susceptible to infection. Numerous studies have demonstrated that current strategies for terminal room disinfection are inadequate. Given the increased morbidity and mortality combined with Medicare penalties relating to nosocomial infections, there is a need to identify sources of heavy environmental bioburden in Burn Intensive Care Units (ICUs) to increase decontamination and determine if reduction in environmental bioburden will reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) devices have been shown to eliminate clinically relevant numbers of nosocomial pathogens from inoculated test objects and room surfaces. Knowing the appropriate surfaces to which to target UV-C device use is also important. Preliminary data collected to determine the bioburden in four ICUs (Burn ICU, Cardiac ICU, Medical ICU, and Surgical ICU) at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center demonstrated that some high-touch areas documented in the literature (e.g., door handles) may not apply due to institutional practices. For these reasons, we propose to expand upon our previous work in order to (1) document differences in bioburden in the Burn ICU relative to other ICUs, (2) quantify the efficacy of UV-C light as a novel disinfection method, and (3) identify high-touch environmental surfaces in the Burn ICU that may be sources of high bioburden/contamination. By accomplishing these aims we anticipate reducing hospital-acquired infections and developing informed guidelines and protocols for improved disinfection methods for use in burn centers nationally.

Dr. Julie Caffrey is an assistant professor in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Interim Director of the Johns Hopkins Adult Burn Center at Bayview Medical Center. She completed a fellowship in burn surgery (adult and pediatrics) at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, in June 2014. Following that, she continued as a burn and research fellow at the Johns Hopkins Burn Center and Michael D. Hendrix Burn Research Center. Dr. Caffrey specializes in the treatment of burn wounds, including reconstructive burn surgery, surgical management of complex wounds and burn deformities. Dr. Caffrey is an active member in the regional burn consortium and collaborates with colleagues in plastic surgery at the Brooke Army Medical Center; the Temple Burn Center, Temple University Hospital; the Evans-Haynes Burn Center, Virginia Commonweath University Medical Center; and the Burn Center, MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Through this study, Dr. Caffrey will be able to establish herself early in her academic career as a surgeon-scientist specializing in improvement of outcomes in burn patients and reduction in the cost of burn care. This will lead to her national prominence in the field of burn care and further the reputation of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center as a leading center in the United States.