The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide training, educational resources and expert guidance for healthcare epidemiologists to respond to infectious disease outbreaks in healthcare facilities. The two-year, CDC-funded project will capitalize on the leadership role that healthcare epidemiologists play during infectious disease events in healthcare facilities.
“Healthcare epidemiologists are key to preventing and controlling the spread of viruses and emerging drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals,” said Louise Dembry, MD, MS, MBA, FSHEA, president of the SHEA board of trustees. “With this partnership, SHEA has the opportunity to improve national pandemic and outbreak preparedness and overall patient safety by ensuring healthcare epidemiologists have the tools to effectively prepare for and control an outbreak of any magnitude.”
The educational resources developed as part of this project will be made available to the broad infection prevention community within acute care hospitals, and will be directly targeted to healthcare epidemiologists and medical directors of infection prevention to ensure these frontline professionals are well-equipped to lead efforts. SHEA has appointed key experts to serve on the technical consulting board. These leading infection prevention clinicians will develop metrics for the diverse programming.
In addition to the technical consulting board, these efforts will be guided by an education panel and expert guidance panel to ensure all aspects of the contract receive input from clinicians practicing within different hospital settings.
“Healthcare epidemiologists serve as disease detectives in hospitals and other medical facilities. By teaming up with SHEA, we will ensure that these critical staff have the information and technical assistance they need to effectively investigate infections, stop outbreaks, and protect patients,” said Denise Cardo, MD, director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at CDC.
More information and training materials, as well as a full list of volunteers working on this effort, will be available on the SHEA Website at http://www.shea-online.org/priority-topics/ortp/. The materials developed will be available and free to all in the healthcare community.