Dr. Cavanaugh is currently working on a prospective cohort study collecting data about surgical practices, pre-and post-operative care and post-operative infection from time of admission through post-operative day 30. Inpatient observational data will be collected to determine whether current practices are in line with World Health Organization’s Surgical Unit Based Safety Program guidelines. Potential confounding risk factors for infection will be identified, and post-operative information will be collected through inpatient follow up as well as telephone calls on post-operative day 10 and 30 to assess for signs or symptoms of surgical site infection (SSI).
The results of this study will help elucidate risk factors for surgical site infection and prioritize future interventions to decrease the rate of surgical site infection at Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, as well as other low and middle-income hospitals. The baseline data collected regarding surgical site infection rates will also prove beneficial in measuring outcomes of any interventions that are developed as a result of this study.
In addition to her ongoing SSI project, Dr. Cavanaugh is starting a project to evaluate barriers to blood transfusion availability in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. She will be gathering data and interviewing healthcare providers at the two regional blood banks and several general hospitals as part of a mixed-methods study.
Upon completion of her fellowship, Dr. Cavanaugh plans to continue working in academics with a primary focus in global health. She is passionate about building strong international relationships between academic institutions that aid in capacity building and health systems strengthening. Her clinical interests are maternal morbidity and mortality, especially related to hemorrhage, surgical safety and cervical cancer prevention.