AHE and Kimberly-Clark Recognize Extraordinary Environmental Services Professionals

September 20, 2012

Elsa Enriquez from Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J. was the first place awardee.

The Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), of the American
Hospital Association (AHA), and Kimberly-Clark announced today the first recipients of the Heart of Healthcare Awards, honoring outstanding frontline environmental services professionals who make a difference for patients and long-term care and assisted living residents. The award is part of the Heart of Healthcare campaign developed by AHE and Kimberly-Clark Professional, which recognizes and elevates the critical role that frontline environmental services technicians play in the healthcare environment.

Environmental services professionals and their technicians perform important roles in supporting their facilities safety, quality and patient satisfaction initiatives, says Patti Costello, AHE executive director. We are honored to recognize the Heart of Healthcare Awards winners and honorable mentions. The technicians were nominated by their managers and have shown immense dedication in creating exceptional healthcare environments. We are also thrilled with the interest and the response the Heart of Healthcare campaign has garnered this first year; it has really exceeded our expectations and we look forward to growing the program to recognize team members who so richly deserve recognition.

Nominations were submitted by managers, supervisors, co-workers and members of other in-house departments in hospitals and long-term care facilities. A panel of AHE members reviewed all submissions and selected the winners.

The first place awardee is Elsa Enriquez, UESW II, from Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J. Enriquez has been with Hunterdon Medical Centers environmental services department for 15 years, where shes been recognized by the medical center for her commitment to patient safety. Enriquez views her role at Hunterdon Medical Center as truly important and imparts her level of commitment to the new employees she trains by explaining the role the environmental services technicians play in preventing healthcare-associated infections. Her attention to detail and exceptional level of commitment are an inspiration to her co-workers throughout the medical center.

Elsa is an employee who consistently does her job well, and trains other new colleagues to follow her lead. says Robert P. Wise, Hunterdon Medical Center president and chief executive officer. I am so pleased she is being recognized for her dedication to Hunterdon Medical Center and our patients. It is a great achievement that Elsa is first in the country to receive this prestigious healthcare award.

Honorable mention awardees are:
- Martha Bonilla, environmental services aide, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, Fla.
- Terry Perkins, environmental services worker III, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt.
- Kim Tyler, environmental services worker, Tenet St. Christophers Hospital for Children, Philadelphia

Together with AHE, we are providing environmental services professionals and technicians with the necessary tools for their continued education, training and recognition to help their facilities support their goals of reducing HAIs, says Jackie Martin, marketing director, healthcare segment, Kimberly-Clark Professional. Environmental services professionals and technicians make a significant difference in the lives and safety of patients and residents, and were proud to celebrate the work they do.

The nomination process for the 2012 Heart of Healthcare Awards will open in early 2013 at www.ahe.org. Nominees do not need to be AHE members to be nominated for the award.

Heart of Healthcare Campaign Toolkit
AHE and Kimberly-Clark, with input from environmental services professionals, developed Heart of Healthcare Education and Recognition tools, which offer vital support to promote best practices in cleaning and disinfecting the healthcare environment. The tools are available through the AHE website at no cost and nearly all of the materials are customizable to include the logo of the healthcare facility using the materials. The following materials are included:
- Employee recognition certificate
- Checklist with handy references to cleaning and disinfecting patient rooms
- Posters for public display
- Room calling cards indicating a patient room has been cleaned
For more information on the campaign, visit www.ahe.org.