Leigh Ellyn Preston

Leigh Ellyn Preston, DrPH, MPH

Texas A&M University School of Public Health
Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion

How have you contributed to one of CDC’s priorities through your ASPPH/CDC Fellowship assignment? Explain what you have done that has “made a difference” at CDC and benefitted public health in the United States.

My fellowship project investigated antibiotic use in communityonset urinary tract infections, which are one of the most common infections for which antibiotics are prescribed. One of the patterns we were interested in was the resistance phenotypes found in the bacterial isolates associated with the infections. This populationlevel analysis allowed us to provide insight into empiric treatment recommendations for communityonset urinary tract infections, which can reduce antibiotic resistance by targeting the most probable infections based on demographic data of the patient.

How will your fellowship experience shape your career?

Through my fellowship, I was able to complete several deployments through the EOC, and a field deployment to North Dakota. These experiences were invaluable to my career advancement because they gave me an opportunity to network with various other operational divisions. I was able to expand my understanding of the agency as a whole, broaden my problemsolving skills, and improve my data analysis abilities through these interagency collaborative relationships.

Describe specifically some of the relationships/partnerships you have built through the fellowship and how those relationships have helped/will help you in your career.

Two of my most memorable COVID19 deployments were a field deployment to Bismarck, North Dakota, and an EOC deployment to the Data, Analytics, and Visualization (DAV) team. In North Dakota, I worked with state health department partners to investigate COVID19 in longterm care facilities. Through this work, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the role of CDC in an emergency response, and was able to use the knowledge gained to influence testing recommendations in this vulnerable population. On the DAV team, I collaborated with individuals who, outside of the EOC, worked with chronic diseases, or in environmental health. These fields are quite different from infectious disease, which is where I had spent the majority of my career thus far. Through those collaborative relationships, I was able to learn new ways to approach problem solving and data analysis that have improved my skills as an infectious disease epidemiologist.