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Miller endowment goes to Marshfield Pathologist

​Marshfield Clinic Pathologist Thomas Fritsche, M.D., Ph.D., has been named as the inaugural holder of the Steve J. Miller Distinguished Physician/Scientist Endowment in Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety Research. Thomas Fritsche, M.D., Ph.D.

The endowment was named through a gift from Marbeth Spreyer, a Marshfield native, to Marshfield Clinic and the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) in memory of her father, Steve J. Miller.

Dr. Fritsche, Division of Laboratory Medicine at Marshfield Center, is an expert in human and animal antibiotic resistance, and this will be the area of focus for the study tied to the Miller Endowment.

The impetus for Dr. Fritsche's study is based in part on a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report to Congress that addresses what should be done to better understand and examine for antibiotic resistance, and to improve the use of antibiotics to minimize resistance development.

"If we are going to have any impact in controlling antibiotic resistance, we need to understand where it exists, what drives the resistance and what the exposure risks are for acquiring it," Dr. Fritsche said. "That's what this study is about."

Dr. Fritsche's work made possible by this award also will serve a dual purpose in allowing Marshfield Labs to evaluate and validate new resistance detection techniques that will hopefully benefit patients in our service area, in addition to generating data pertinent to this particular study.

"We're delighted to have this new important dimension of agricultural health and safety opened to us through the Steve J. Miller Distinguished Physician/Scientist Endowment," said Matt Keifer, M.D., director of the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC), a center within Marshfield Clinic Research Institute​. Dr. Keifer also will be involved in this research.

"Tom Fritsche is an ideal choice," Dr. Keifer said. "He is a well-established clinician scientist and will help us strengthen the bonds between the NFMC and the powerful clinical capabilities of Marshfield Clinic."