12 years in Infection Prevention, currently working at Kaiser Permanente as the Director of Infection Control for Fontana/Ontario Medical Centers.
Certified in Infection Prevention. Current President elect for the Inland Empire APIC chapter. Chapter co-author in the Neonatology “Management, Procedures, On-Call Problems, Diseases, and Drugs” 25th edition book, 2013.
The Falkinham lab focuses on understanding the epidemiology, ecology, physiology, and genetics of the nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM); primarily the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). NTM are environmental opportunistic pathogens whose source of infection includes soil and drinking water.
Lab studies have identified physiologic features of NTM that are determinants of their ecology and transmission to humans: including, surface hydrophobicity, attachment to surfaces, concentration in aerosols, resistance to disinfectants (e.g., chlorine), growth in protozoa and amoebae, and ability to grow on low concentrations of organic matter at low oxygen levels.
Thus, NTM are ideally suited for growth and persistence in household plumbing. Significantly, NTM isolated from patients and their household plumbing share the same DNA fingerprints.
Further, households with well water sources and high hot water heater temperatures seldom have NTM and that carboncontaining, in-line filters, including those in water taps and refrigerators, harbor high numbers of NTM.
Current laboratory studies involve studying the behavior of NTM in household hot water heaters and describing the mechanism of exclusion of NTM from household plumbing by members of the genus Methylobacterium.
Many of these aforementioned aspects and characteristics are transferable to hospital water systems.
In 2003, Dr. Falkinham received the Gardner Middlebrook Award for his contributions to Mycobacteriology.