Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing problem in healthcare institutions and in the community. Public concern about resistance is also increasing. The issue is broad and complex and not readily addressed by government, industry, or professional societies alone. On October 29-30, 1998, 19 representatives of various professional societies and governmental agencies met under the auspices of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) at Brook Lodge Conference Center in Augusta, Michigan. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current status of antimicrobial resistance in the United States and Canada, including present society and governmental efforts to address the problem. Representatives exchanged experiences through presentations and discussions on the first day, then on the second day held a brainstorming session to address future needs and priorities in addressing the resistance problem. It was agreed that a national coordinated effort was needed. As part of this national effort, representatives called for the creation of a National Coalition on Antibiotic Resistance (NCAR) to combat antibiotic resistance through education, research, prevention, and advocacy. Priorities for NCAR were focused in four areas: (1) education of the public and professionals; (2) support of basic and applied research; (3) provision of an information resource and clearinghouse; and (4) advocacy initiatives. At the recommendation of the SHEA Board, discussions with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases for the joint development of NCAR have begun.