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Building Capacity and Competency in HAI, AMR, and AMS for Local Public Health

Oct 06, 2022 | Jaclyn Abramson, Candice Young

It can be difficult to know where to begin in order to develop public health teams for Healthcare Association Infection (HAI), Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) work.

As part of the NACCHO Survey on HAIs conducted in April 2022, Rural, Frontier, and Small Local Health Departments (LHDs) currently engaged in HAI, AMR, and AMS work made the following suggestions on the most beneficial and utilized training programs and resources:

Connect with CDC Resources
The CDC/STRIVE curriculum was developed by national infection prevention experts led by the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Courses address both the technical and foundational elements of HAI prevention and can be taken in any order. Individual modules can be used for new employee training, annual infection prevention training, and/or periodic training.

CDC provides healthcare professionals with a series of trainings which are designed to better identify and mitigate HAI risks and occupational exposures. Prevention Control Toolkits are also provided.

CDC and Medscape have launched a series of six online courses for Continuing Medical Education and Continuing Education training addressing the key issues surrounding infection prevention in healthcare facilities. These courses feature discussions with CDC and external experts in infection prevention.

Connect with State HAI/AR Programs
A survey participant from Florida suggested the Health Care-Associated Infections Prevention Program of the Florida Department of Health. Within this program, five separate web-based training modules on Infection Control are available specifically for facility nursing staff members in acute care hospitals, ambulatory care, and nursing homes. These trainings are available on demand, 24/7, and at no charge. Each module will satisfy one hour of continuing education units.

Additionally, a survey participant from Colorado recommended Colorado TRAIN, which is a gateway into the TRAIN Learning Network and provides a catalog of public health training opportunities for professionals. TRAIN is a free service for learners from the Public Health Foundation.

The Wisconsin Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) in Long-Term Care Coalition was recommended by a survey participant from Wisconsin. This is a collaborative effort to reduce and eliminate healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) among long-term care residents. The AMR resource provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services was also used in AMR efforts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides other State HAI/AR program resources.

Connect with Other Suggested Resources
Partnering to Heal is a computer-based, video-simulation training program on infection control practices for clinicians, health professional students, and patient advocates. The training highlights effective communication about infection control practices and ideas for creating a “culture of safety” in healthcare institutions to keep patients from getting sicker. Users assume the identity of one of five main characters and make decisions about preventing HAIs.

The Council for Outbreak Response: Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) and Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens (AR), CORHA works to improve practices and policies at the local, state, and national levels for the detection, investigation, control, and prevention of HAI/AR outbreaks across the healthcare continuum. NACCHO is a founding member of CORHA and has ongoing representation to ensure the perspectives of local health departments are included. CORHA has a suite of resources, including condition or event-specific reference tools, such as thresholds for reporting, tools for investigation, and suggestions for standardized control measures. Click here to subscribe to the CORHA mailing list for updates on new products, resources, news, and more.

The Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology promotes prevention and control of healthcare associated infections in North Carolina and beyond by providing evidence-based education and consultation across the healthcare spectrum.

The Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) provides online training and education. There are a number of training and certification courses in infection control and prevention.

Why Build Capacity and Competency for HAI, AMR, and AMS?
Healthcare infection prevention and control activities and epidemiologic surveillance related activities are part of Public Health’s mission to detect, monitor, mitigate, and prevent the spread of disease in the community and healthcare settings. HAIs and AMRs are a threat to patient, and subsequently, public health safety. These kinds of infections are a significant cause of illness and death; they can have serious emotional, financial, and medical consequences.

Rural, Frontier, and Small LHDs can provide leadership in surveillance, outbreak investigations, and prevention by collaborating with healthcare and community partners. The development and implementation of an AMS plan can improve antibiotic prescribing and use in order to effectively treat infections, protect patients from unnecessary antibiotic use, and combat antibiotic resistance.

Additional HAI, AMR, and AMS Resources


About Jaclyn Abramson

Jaclyn Abramson is a Program Analyst on the NACCHO Infectious Disease team. Learn more about how NACCHO works with local health departments to strengthen their capacity to prevent and control infectious diseases here.

More posts by Jaclyn Abramson

About Candice Young

Candice Young is a Senior Program Analyst on the NACCHO Infectious Disease team. Learn more about how NACCHO works with local health departments to strengthen their capacity to prevent and control infectious diseases here

More posts by Candice Young

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