An event that only occurs every decade is one event I can’t afford to miss, and the fact that the Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Acquired Infections took place in the same year that I celebrate my 10th year as editor of ICT, is truly special. The five days I spent in Atlanta were some of the most instructional of my career. Where else could I be sitting in the audience next to John Jernigan, watching as Bill Rutala and Elaine Larson say their hellos right in front of me in the exhibit hall, and hearing from luminaries such as David Henderson, Arjun Srinivasan, Neil Fishman, Mark Rupp, Julie Gerberding and hundreds of some of the most brilliant minds in public health and infection prevention.
It was also gratifying to see at this event so many familiar faces from the active ranks of infection preventionists. The reputation of the conference is that it is a soiree for the “egghead” scientists and researchers, and while they are here in great numbers to be sure, this event was populated by a much wider variety of specialists. Infection preventionists are largely the ones responsible for translating the research they hear at the Decennial and other conferences into daily practice — and therein lies one of the great issues explored at the Decennial. The best research will die on the vine unless it is cultivated and allowed to blossom where it can do some good — saving the lives of patients.
One of the take-home messages from the Decennial is that as much as we think we know, we discover exactly how much we don’t know, and that process is immensely humbling. It says something that there is no shame in making these kinds of admissions; it is part of the process, which includes celebrating successes as well as examining failures in order to find the better path to HAI reduction and elimination.
I’ve assembled some of the highlights from the Decennial conference and posted it to the ICT Web site. I realize not everyone was fortunate enough to attend and to soak in the perspectives of these thought leaders, so I’m sharing with you online some of the key trends and discussions that came out of the meeting. It’s heartening to know that more than 3,200 people gathered to exchange ideas, present scientific papers, discuss technology and establish the research agenda for the next 10 years. It’s a feat that requires the proverbial “village” and a tremendous amount of give and take as we come to terms with the challenges of implementation science and translational research.
Until next month, bust those bugs!
Kelly M. Pyrek
Editor in chief