Dr. Russ Greenfield has joined North Carolina-based life-sciences company PurThread Technologies Inc. as its new medical director.

In this role, Greenfield will guide the company’s efforts to provide innovative solutions to the problem of Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) through the manufacture of next-generation antimicrobial textiles.

As a noted physician of preventive and integrative medicine, author and regular contributor on The Dr. Oz Show, Greenfield brings more than 25 years of experience in conventional and complementary medicine and was one of the first four physicians in the world to train under Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona College of Medicine’s Program in Integrative Medicine. He also is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

PurThread employs proprietary technology to embed Kodak’s powerful EPA-registered antimicrobial into yarn at the beginning of fiber production. As a result, PurThread yarns intrinsically protect the fabric from the effects of microbial contamination and reduce odor-causing bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus.

Products made with PurThread range from health care textiles, such as privacy curtains, scrubs and lab coats, to freshness products, such as performance athletic wear and gear for emergency first responders and the military.

“HAIs are having a devastating effect on our nation’s health care – both in the lives of patients and the on the budgets of our medical institutions,” said Greenfield. “PurThread’s goal is to develop smart textiles to help create a safer patient environment – that is important and valuable work, and an effort I’m thrilled to have a hand in directing.”

A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in 25 hospitalized patients will become infected with an HAI. As HAIs become increasingly resistant to regular antibiotic treatment and cost approximately $45 billion annually, hospitals and other health care settings are implementing strict protocols to inhibit the transmission of harmful bacteria in the patient setting to reduce their numbers.