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2011 Who’s Who in Infection Prevention Profiles of exemplary individuals in infection prevention, as nominated by ICT readers. June 2011
2011 Who’s Who in Infection Prevention Infection Control Today readers nominated infection preventionists from all walks of life worthy of recognition for advancing a strong infection control agenda. ICT congratulates these exceptional individuals and hopes they will serve as continued inspiration for the entire infection prevention and healthcare epidemiology community.
The members of the Greater New York Chapter of APIC) celebrate the accomplishments of George Allen, RN, PhD, CIC, CNOR, but more importantly, they see him as an individual making a difference in infection prevention. "Our belief is that Dr. Allen’s lifelong work in the field of infection prevention has made a huge difference in the lives of patients, infection control practitioners, healthcare providers and anyone who has ever been in contact with him," says Barbara Winter, RN, MSA, CIC, president of the APIC Greater New York Chapter #13. Allen has served as the director of infection prevention at SUNY University Hospital of Brooklyn, N.Y. since 1991 and has been a member of APIC since 1988. He has served as the APIC GNY Chapter president several times, received the APIC Greater NY Chapter Leadership Award in 2005 and was nominated for the Carole DeMille Award in 2008 and 2009. He is currently on the New York chapter's board of directors and is the legislative representative for the chapter at the New York State APIC Coordinating Council (NYSACC). Allen worked with NYSACC and the New York State Department of Health on developing a state-sponsored basic infection control training program which has been presented to infection control practitioners in acute- and long-term care in New York state. "Aside from Dr. Allen’s professional achievements, he has always been available to his colleagues for questions and advice on infection prevention issues," Winter says. "He is willing to share his expertise whenever needed. His enthusiasm for the field of infection prevention is obvious. He strongly encourages infection preventionists to become certified in their field and to continue their education. He is the consummate mentor and educator. In fact, one of his directors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center stated, 'Principally, I believe that he is the ultimate educator. He has the ability and acumen to make the continuing task of educating patients and staff fun.'" George Allen
Doramarie Arocha, the infection prevention and control manager for UT Southwestern University Hospitals and Clinics is a true champion of patient safety, according to her nominator, Pearl Kim, the clinical coordinator, MSICU, at UT Southwestern Medical Center and St. Paul University Hospital. "Doramarie is a highly engaged individual who works diligently to report, track and eliminate infections within the UTSW community of University Hospitals and Clinics," Kim says. "For example, she has worked closely with MSICU and 7W ICU to decrease the number of CLABSIs from 23 in 2009 to 2 in 2010. She also attended the Culture of Unit Safety Program kickoff in 2010 and was instrumental in implementing the program at UTSW. She meets frequently with the different units to review their infectious disease statistics and discuss the latest best practice updates in infection control." Doramarie Arocha
Gonzalo M.L. Bearman MD, MPH, is an associate professor of medicine, epidemiology and community medicine and associate hospital epidemiologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. Over the last few years, Bearman's research has revealed new methods to combat infection-causing microbes like MRSA and C. diff. He investigated a controlled trial of universal gloving with emollient-impregnated gloves to promote skin health, improve hand hygiene and prevent the transmission of MDROs in a surgical ICU (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 31(5):491-7). His study on the use of sensor technology and wireless telemetry to monitor hand hygiene compliance in the inpatient setting was also published in the Journal of Hospital Infection (76(4):364-5). This spring he presented a study that demonstrates the efficacy of antimicrobial scrub uniforms in decreasing the MRSA burden on textiles at the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) annual scientific meeting. He is an accomplished member of the global infection control community, having served in several distinguished roles, including the International Congress on Infectious Diseases. He has been published in journals such as Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, International Journal of Infectious Diseases and the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. In 2010 alone, his research was published in 13 publications. In addition, he has presented at more than 25 extramural seminars and delivered 116 intramural presentations since 2003. Gonzalo M.L. Bearman
Sharon Bolen RN, BSN, has worked as an infection preventionist at Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, N.C. since 2005. "Sharon is the ultimate infection preventionist, possessing all the attributes that allow her to be a leader not only in the department, but within the hospital system," says her nominator, fellow infection preventionist, Deanna Hercik, RN. "She is knowledgeable, patient, a great communicator and a mentor to many. She is always willing to answer questions and evaluates the question from every angle or perspective before giving her response. She is always open; never critical or judgmental. Sharon has the uncanny ability to approach a healthcare worker to correct an undesirable behavior and walk away with a new friend." Hercik adds that in the MICU, Bolen collaborated with key leaders to institute a VAP bundle, provide education and monitor compliance. "Her efforts have paid off," Hercik says. "The MICU has not had a VAP since August of 2010! She also worked diligently to decrease the number of CLABSIs and instituted a CHG bathing protocol. There were four CLABSIs from January to October 2010. From Nov. 1 when the protocol was begun to today there have been zero CLABSIs! The nurses on that unit consider her a valued member of their team, not just the infection prevention team. Unfortunately, I am moving to Florida soon but I leave here knowing that I am a much better infection preventionist for having learned from the best." Sharon Bolen
Sandy Carson, the director of quality and resource assessment (corporate infection control director) at Community Health Systems in Franklin, Tenn., has been a champion for infection prevention, both as an infection control nurse and directing the function across a variety of venues. Carson joined Community Health Systems PSC in 2004 and in her current capacity, she provides support and oversight for infection control and employee health across the CHSPSC-affiliated facilities. Nominator Linda C. Russell, RN, BSN, CIC, infection preventionist at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer, Ark., says that Carson serves as a resource for 140 infection preventionists located at 130 facilities nationwide. Among her accomplishments are orchestrating a corporate-wide infection control conference, as well as overseeing infection control policy creation at all system hospitals, contributing to infection control-related education, and coordinating and monitoring the employee flu vaccination plan and pandemic flu response for all facilities. Russell reports that Carson's fellow infection preventionists say she is a hero among her peers and that she is always available to assist when employees have questions. Sandy Carson
Sue Gold, BSN, MA, chief nursing officer at Carondolet Heart and Vascular Institute in Tucson, Ariz., says that infection preventionist Suzette Chavez, BS, MT, CIC, faces a variety of challenges in a cardiac and vascular specialty setting. "Suzette achieves active staff involvement by use of a quiet, friendly leadership style," Gold says. "Suzette believes in direct staff involvement, visible on her daily rounds, monitoring hand hygiene, appropriateness of isolation, and interacting with the staff on multiple issues. She views this as her opportunity to answer staff questions and experience teachable moments.“ Gold adds that Chavez continually expands her knowledge base and shares it with her colleagues. "She is well known to all the staff and seen as person who works tirelessly to help accomplish their goals. Suzette is the primary agent in implementation of interactive, creative and fun skills learning labs, helping staff learn infection transmission risk reduction methods. Suzette has helped change the entire healthcare team’s focus to infection prevention by recognizing issues before they become problems. These efforts have improved patient outcomes by reducing the use of medical devices, reducing healthcare associated infections. Her high level of job performance brings strength and leadership, a refreshing and high impact approach to the prevention of infections. Suzette is a role model of excellence in prevention, committed to patients and staff." Suzette Chavez
While Michele DeMeo is a not a traditional infection preventionist, Johann Becker, RN, BSN, MAM, the clinical manager of Wellspan VNA Home Care in York, Pa., emphasizes, "Having established herself as a champion in her field, Michele has made tremendous strides to advance the perception and involvement of sterile processing's role in the prevention of infection." DeMeo is the manager of sterile processing at Memorial Hospital in York, Pa., and through numerous publications, involvement with national and international healthcare organizations and philanthropic pursuits, Becker says DeMeo "has advanced the visibility of sterile processing as a significant partner in the process of producing exceptional outcomes. It is rare that an individual has succeeded in helping to break barriers and alter perceptions while modeling behaviors that lead to successful advancement of any profession, yet Michele is one of those rare individuals. Her methods have included educational courses for front line staff, establishing local, regional, national and legislative support for emerging SPD professionals. Recently, Michele has partnered with Mercy Ships to initiate additional training for SPD. This year she was also nominated and accepted as a member of a FDA Committee. Her no nonsense and gentle approach uniquely demystifies the complexities of establishing professional collaboration. I admire her tenacity and value the integrity and genuine sincerity she invests in her professional endeavors." Michele DeMeo
Michelle R. Dore, RN, BSN, MPH, continually works hard to advance infection prevention, says Michelle W. King, BS, MT, MPH, a fellow infection preventionist at McLeod Health in Florence, S.C. "She has been at the forefront of changing the face of infection prevention at our institution," King says. "During her time here as the corporate infection control officer, she has increased the scope of our surveillance," King adds. "She was instrumental in implementing an electronic surveillance system which provided us with real time intervention capability and increased productivity. She developed clearly defined surveillance indicators and created infection preventionist daily standard work. She has helped to increase the visibility of the infection preventionist in our hospitals and worked to create relationships with our front line staff. Because of her work and diligence, infection preventionists have become partners in care. We went from data abstractors to change agents and facilitators of quality improvement. She is devoted to medical excellence and evidence based change. I am proud to work with her and learn from her." Michelle Dore
Charles Edmiston, Jr., PhD, MS, CIC, is professor of surgery and hospital epidemiologist at Froedtert Hospital - Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wis. where in 1984 he developed a surgical infectious disease research program. He is board-certified in both infection control and as a specialist in clinical microbiology. For 12 years he has served as a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an expert on the infection control implications of implantable biomedical devices and has served as a consultant to the Hospital Infection Control Practice Advisory Committee (HICPAC) of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Edmiston’s major research interest include infection risks in the operating room environment; biomedical-device associated infections; impact of selected risk factors for surgical site infections; perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis and the molecular epidemiology of surgical site infections. He has authored over 300 original manuscripts, book chapters, editorials, reviews, monographs and abstracts related to infection control and prevention. Edmiston has delivered more than 200 invited presentations at National and International meetings. "He delights and impresses his audience with his wealth of information, research and personality," says his nominator, Maureen Spencer, RN, M.Ed, CIC, an infection prevention consultant in the Boston area. Charles Edmiston, Jr.
Linda Formby, BSN, RN, CIC, has more than 25 years experience in infection prevention and control and has been manager of infection prevention and control for Medical University of South Carolina, a 700-bed academic hospital in Charleston, S.C. since 2005. "Linda has been a trusted leader and dedicated champion for HAI reduction and patient safety," says her nominator, Beth Rhoton, MS, RN, CIC, a fellow infection preventionist. "She has played an integral role in developing and implementing evidence-based strategies for HAI reduction at MUSC Medical Center, which have led to dramatic sustainable decreases in central line-associated BSI, ventilator-associated pneumonia and surgical site infections," Rhoton says. "These decreases have been associated with significant healthcare cost savings and more importantly significantly reduced mortality. Additionally, in 2010, Linda spearheaded an effort to implement compulsory influenza vaccination among healthcare workers at MUSC resulting in more than 95 percent compliance. Linda’s contributions in infection prevention extend beyond our own institution with past and present service as chair of South Carolina’s APIC-Palmetto Chapter bylaws committee and certification committee, respectively. She is also an active member of the HAI Committee of Healthcare Sciences of South Carolina. Her collaborative work has resulted in numerous presentations at local, regional and national scientific meetings in infection prevention and control." Linda Formby
Josalyn Gloyd, infection control practitioner at Methodist West Houston Hospital, not only had to get her arms around her new position, but was facing doing so in the midst of major construction at the institution. "For the past six months she has had to police contractors and construction crews, chase down rogue workers, and ensure that we are functioning in a healthy patient friendly environment -- not an easy task," says colleague and nominator, Aimee Fischer, manager of the facility's sterile processing department. "Josalyn makes a point to be known by the every staff member and has successfully become the most familiar face at Methodist West Houston," says Fischer. "If staff members know nothing else, they know who she is and that she is there to help ensure they can provide the best care possible, in the best environment possible. She also does the day-to-day rounding and stats and meetings, etc. But she has kept her door open and phone on, and staff knows that. They know that she will hunt down or chase after whatever she needs to, to ensure that we prevent infection. Construction crews now know that they must find Josalyn before even moving into an area, the anesthesia staff knows where the coffee should be kept, every staff member sings the ABC’s while washing their hands, and we all have Josalyn’s number on speed dial. Since opening we are infection free." Josalyn Gloyd
Diane Gulczynski, RN, MSN, CNOR, the senior vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer, is the champion of infection prevention at the New England Baptist Hospital (NEBH), according to Maureen Spencer, RN, M.Ed, CIC, an infection prevention consultant in the Boston area. "In 2003 she implemented a multidisciplinary 'working toward zero team' to reduce healthcare-acquired infections," Spencer explains. "Her clinical direction reduced the orthopedic surgical site infection rate from 0.7 percent to 0.3 percent over a seven-year journey. She was key to implementing a MRSA and Staph aureus eradication program early in 2006, after writing a white paper for the board of trustees on the emergence of MRSA and prevention measures. This resulted in the board awarding the team a $400,000 budget to implement a prescreening program prior to inpatient surgery. The program reduced SSIs due to MRSA by more than 90 percent from 2006 to 2010. Her diverse career in operating room nursing was essential to her effectiveness in working with the surgical staff and administration to implement the MRSA and Staph aureus Eradication program and many other prevention measures in the bundles to reduce central line infections, ventilator associated pneumonia, urinary tract infections, surgical site infections and Clostridium difficile infections. She is deemed by the staff and surgeons as a leader in infection prevention." Diane Gulczynski
Ary Habig, RN, MS, CIC, infection preventionist at Gulf Breeze Hospital in Gulf Breeze, Fla., is "warm, caring and dedicated to both the nursing profession and her community," says nominator Barbara J. Holder, RN, LHRM, the QA /infection control coordinator at Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center in Gulf Breeze, Fla. "She is an exemplary mentor for nurses exhibiting endless energy, spot-on knowledgeable answers, and professional foresight. In the event that you have questions related to Infection Control, Ary is the person to call!" Holder says that nurses "seek out Ary for advice and quick answers related to the latest infection control guidelines" and that she is highly respected and well regarded as an expert in infection control." Habig serves as a resource to the Andrews Institute Surgery Center and other local facilities, and she has worked closely with the Andrews Institute as a hospital liaison and mentor, evaluating policies which guide the facility’s infection control plan, assesses annual goals and performs facility rounding. "Ary’s role is far reaching," Holder adds. "She is an active member with Northwest Florida Infection Control Practitioners. Ary has been instrumental in providing healthcare workers with the latest infection control guidelines and how to achieve them. Her endless dedication to the profession has inspired others to seek further professional development through ongoing education." Ary Habig
Pam Lawrence, RN, the infection control practitioner at Lima Memorial Health System in Lima, Ohio, is "extremely passionate about infection prevention and control," says nominator Cheryl Nagy, RN, BHA, OCN, director of risk management. "She works tirelessly with our associates, physicians and other healthcare organizations on continually improving our practices. She is well liked and respected.“ Nagy says that while the facility's infection rates have never been high, "through Pam’s efforts our rates for VAP in our critical care areas are 0 percent. Our CLBSI rate is 0 percent. Our urinary tract infections have had a 48 percent decrease since 2008." Nagy adds, "Pam is extremely creative in her approach to infection prevention, utilizing a traveling cart to bring goodies to staff that otherwise may have a difficult time in getting away from their areas. She provides case presentations as part of her education. She’s very positive and upbeat, which has lead to staff taking ownership and pride in their role in preventing infections. Pam is a tremendous asset to our organization." Pam Lawrence
Francine Lincer, RN, health facilities surveyor III in the Office of Epidemiology at the Nevada State Health Division, leads the infection prevention and control team and has won the admiration of her colleagues. “It’s been a pleasure getting to work with Francine," says Nimalie D. Stone, MD, medical epidemiologist for long-term care at the CDC. "She has tremendous dedication to this program and to increasing infection prevention resources for the Nevada healthcare facilities. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her love of teaching comes through in all that she has done. I would love to see others with her talent and passion get involved in this kind of work.” Nominator Julia Peek, MHA, manager of the Office of Epidemiology in the Bureau of Health Statistics, Planning, Epidemiology and Response at the Nevada State Health Division, says that Lincer "responds to outbreaks of illness in healthcare facilities and provides them onsite consultation and guidance to ensure they are able to control the infection in a timely and appropriate manner. Her team also provides assessments to facilities and provides recommendations on how to improve their infection control measures." Peek adds, "Francine is an invaluable part of infection prevention and control in Nevada." Lincer’s project on infection prevention and control in long-term care facilities was winner in the innovative category for Promising Practices 2010 from the Association for Health Facilities Survey Agencies. Her project was also described in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Region IX Newsletter. Francine Lincer
Barbara Matuszak, coordinator of the central sterile department at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, N.Y., is considered to be a strong ally of infection prevention, says nominator Deborah Maile RN, CIC, infection control nurse. "Knowing that I was a relatively new infection control practitioner, Barbara has strengthened my knowledge of the sterilization of our equipment here at our facility," Maile says. "She is an outstanding individual who speaks often on the role of infection prevention at her level of service.“ Maile adds, "Barbara is passionate about the direction her department is going in preserving the sterility of operating room equipment and fulfilling all requirements of her profession. Her staff is on the same page when it comes to realizing that central sterile plays a large part in our organizations Infection prevention and control efforts. Barbara understands the need for all in her department to have the proper knowledge about Central Sterile and is working hard at having 100 percent of her staff certified in this field. The central sterile staff understands they are the cornerstone of our facility in keeping our patients safe from hospital-acquired infections. It is truly a pleasure knowing that we have allies within our facility that do all they can to keep our patients infection free." Barbara Matuszak
Bev Mendenhall, RN, BSN, CIC, CPHQ, wears many hats for the Cass County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) in Atlantic, Iowa. "As the infection control practitioner, quality director and risk management director, she projects self-confidence, authority, and enthusiasm," says nominator Jennifer Arp, RN, CPHQ, who also works in quality, infection control and risk management for the facility. "She continually displays strong leadership and the intellect required to face the toughest challenges of infection control." Arp adds, "Bev has many professional accomplishments. She is the Iowa District D consultant as well as the Iowa Association for Healthcare Quality District V representative. She is known as an outstanding and thorough infection control nurse with 25 years experience. She has been sought as a speaker for a number of state venues, including the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative Conference on Quality, Patient Safety and Value, and Iowa Immunization Coalition. Bev’s role as has earned her the respect of more than 300 CCMH employees. Annually, she makes the infection control in-service fun and informative!" Bev Mendenhall
The words most often associated with Linda K. Miller, RN, CIC, are "team, collaboration, education, mentor and fun" according to nominator Tom Button, RN, BSN, NE-BC, CIC, director of infection prevention at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and chair of the APIC DFW Chapter. Miller is the manager of the infection control program at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. "Linda’s experience spotlights her ability to influence through this collaborative educational focused spirit," Button says. "The APIC Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter would not have been the same without Linda. She has remained a member since 1998 and maintained certification since 2000. During that period she has been past chapter officer, including membership director, board member, president and board chair. In 2007/2008 she was a member of the National Education Committee and National Faculty member for APIC’s infection prevention training. Most recently she has been faculty for the APIC and Texas Department of State Health Services for Texas Public Reporting & National Healthcare Safety Network Training Program. She has published and presented more times than can be recognized here. Linda’s greatest contribution has been her ability to be the infection prevention expert but also share that information in a fun, non-threatening way so that the new mentored infection preventionist remains in the specialty for years." Linda K. Miller
Giovanna Santovito-Carducci RN, CIC, is the HAI coordinator in the Office of Epidemiology at the Nevada State Health Division (NSHD). "Eliminating healthcare-associated infections is a top priority for the NSHD," explains Julia Peek, MHA, manager of the Office of Epidemiology in the Bureau of Health Statistics, Planning, Epidemiology, and Response at the NSHD. "Giovanna is an integral part of the NSHD infection control team. She has developed and leads the statewide multidisciplinary HAI Prevention Advisory Group. She also developed Nevada’s first Action Plan to Prevention HAIs. The framework is based on a collaborative public health approach that includes surveillance, outbreak response, research, training and education, and systematic implementation of prevention practices. Gio has also worked with the Infection Control Team to develop an initiative that will focus on six major components of infection control and prevention: Infection Control Risk Assessment and Plan, hand hygiene, prevention of the spread of multiple drug resistant organisms, safe injection practices, cleaning of equipment, and cleaning of environment. The initiative will provide assessed facilities with recommendations for improvement, monthly education via webinars, and quarterly collaboration calls among all facility types. Additionally, at a 2010 conference on MRSA in Las Vegas, Gio led a breakout session for hospitals on prevention of MRSA and infection control measures. Gio truly understands the needs for a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to infection control in facilities. She is an asset to Nevada." Giovanna Santovito-Carducci
Deborah Patteson Scott, RN, is an infection prevention quality improvement specialist at Qsource, the Quality Improvement Organization of Tennessee. Nominator Stephanie Rieforth, RN, BSN, MSN-HSM, a fellow quality improvement specialist, says that Scott has been "exceptionally successful in her efforts to change the culture of hand hygiene and improve the perceptions of and about infection prevention workers in the Memphis area." Rieforth adds, "Deborah is very passionate about everything she does. She engages in 'out of the box' thinking and creativity to get even the most non-compliant employee on board with her hand hygiene program. Deborah brings Infectious ideas and contagious creativity to work with her every day and is immune to the word ‘No.’ It is a pleasure to work with her." Deborah Patteson Scott
Leslie Teachout, MT(ASCP), CIC, is the infection control practitioner at Bozeman Deaconess Health Services in Bozeman, Mont. Nominator Roshelle Satterthwait, RN, BAN, MHSA, director of surgical services, says that in just three years, "Leslie has dramatically changed infection prevention practices through her abilities to coach and role model best practice. During Leslie’s short tenure at BDH, she has helped this acute-care facility achieve Joint Commission and Medicare accreditation. The Bozeman Deaconess Health Group has added over a dozen new clinics, and Leslie has met with each manager and mentored them in achieving best practice for infection prevention.“ Satterthwait adds, "Leslie’s greatest strength, besides her clinical expertise, is how she coaches others into changing practice standards to improve patient care. Most recently Leslie mentored the operating room aides through a very successful performance improvement project on environmental cleaning. She views each team member, in all roles, as patient advocates and provides them the education and tools to succeed. Our patients are safer because Leslie places value on our team member’s abilities to achieve best practice." Leslie Teachout
Debbie Nance, RN, MBA, CMBA, CPHQ, the corporate director of infection prevention and accreditation at Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, says that Betty von Kohn, manager of infection prevention at Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. "is a committed infection control practitioner who has a knack for details that are vital to a great infection prevention program." Nance adds, "She has a diverse nursing background that spans more than 31 years and a reputation for doing things by the book. She holds both CORN and CIC certifications. Betty has championed many prevention efforts within her hospital including empiric isolation, antibiotic stewardship and the promotion and use of electronic surveillance tools. Not only is Betty a recognized leader in her facility but she has promoted a sense of communication and cooperation among the small hospitals and nursing homes in the area by offering education and consultation. She established a long-term care infection prevention group that meets regularly at her hospital. Betty was also instrumental in sharing the facility antibiogram information with the community partners including physicians to decrease antibiotic resistance community-wide. Betty is a mentor and an inspiration to all who know her. We are fortunate to have Betty as a part of the Baptist Memorial Health Care team." Betty von Kohn
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