Eight Ways Health Department Leaders Can Support Effective HAI/AR Programs to Advance Prevention Efforts in their CommunityPosted on by
State and territorial health agency (S/THA) Healthcare-Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance (HAI/AR) programs play a critical role in spearheading prevention, detection, and outbreak response in their communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HAI/AR programs led and supported healthcare infection prevention and control activities to help keep the public safe.
Several significant federal investments have been made to HAI/AR programs during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. To meet the requirements of these new investments, HAI/AR programs needed support from S/THA leaders and their partners. In response, last year, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) developed a report titled Eight Ways Health Department Leaders Can Support Effective HAI/AR Programs.
To further explore what this collaboration and support can look like, ASTHO recently hosted a 2-part interview series. The first was with Louisiana HAI Program Coordinator, Erica Washington and Louisiana State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. Through in-depth discussion, they sought to learn more about the successful strategies they implemented that helped to bolster the HAI/AR Program and COVID-19 response in their state. Dr. Joseph Kanter and Erica Washington also discussed how health agency leadership in Louisiana has supported HAI/AR program alignment and structure reassessment.
In the second interview, Kansas Health Officer, Dr. Joan Duwve, and HAI/AR Program Director Bryna Stacey highlight the need to build and sustain a robust public health workforce in public health and the HAI/AR Program. They also discussed the challenges and successes Kansas has faced related to HAI/AR Program staff recruitment and retention.
To further highlight the importance of interprofessional collaboration, CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion Deputy Associate Director of State Strategy, Elizabeth Mothershed, sits down with ASTHO for a Morning News newscast to discuss why the time is right for leaders to work together with HAI/AR Programs and build on experiences learned during the COVID-19 response.
Health departments can also work to advance partnerships and infection prevention and control practices in healthcare through coordinated efforts including:
- Sharing state infection prevention and control guidance and policies with healthcare associations.
- Creating task forces, workgroups, or strike teams that focus on improving infection prevention and control (IPC) efforts. In settings that provide medical and non-medical services, such as long-term care facilities (LTCFs). These teams have an opportunity to coordinate efforts and expand the impact of IPC programs by inviting key partners to the table, such as HAI leadership.
- Encouraging coordination between federal, state, and local health agencies, Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN/QIOs), and state surveyors to identify LTCFs experiencing challenges and to focus on supporting them to build better infection control plans and surveillance.
- Including healthcare, LTCFs, and other key partners in state and local preparedness and response planning.
For more information on building and sustaining strategic partnerships to advance HAI/AR Programs and activities, you can check out the following resources:
- CDC’s Success Framework for HAI/AR Partner Networks
- CDC’s Local Health Department HAI/AR Strategy [PDF – 1 Page]
Authors: Elizabeth Mothershed, M.S., Deputy Associate Director of State Strategy, DHQP, CDC
and Monica Payne M.s., Health Communications Specialist, DHQP, CDC