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A Larger Vision for Hospital Epidemiologists


Silvia Munoz-Price, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, and Enterprise Epidemiologist for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, discusses some issues that she believes the subspecialty needs to address.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“So I think that, during the last few decades, our subspecialty has [made] a lot of advances for the field. We have put in place bundles for the prevention of hospital-acquired infections that are widely used, not just by us, but by others within parallel fields. At this time, there are 3 issues that I think our subspecialty needs to tackle.
Number 1: certification. How do we ensure that the people that the people that are coming into the field are trained to the standards that we think are needed?
Number 2: clear articulation of our role within our hospitals, especially in regards to our relationships with quality, and with the nursing components of our infection control departments. We really should not leave that articulation of our role to individual SHEA members or individual hospital epidemiologists. Rather, it should be a SHEA decision [to define] the role of the hospital epidemiologist and antibiotic stewardship director in relation with the other parallel fields.
The last issue that I think is important is that hospital epidemiologists probably should consider expanding our domain outside the very narrow field of prevention of infections, and using and leveraging our critical and analytical minds and our highly skilled membership in order to expand to other fields in the hospital and really prove our value not just within infection control but beyond that [as well].”
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