APIC and SHEA may hold joint conferences

A key collaboration amid health care changes

Crossing professional, and to some extent, gender barriers, the primary national groups of infection control physicians and nurses are considering joining forces in a new partnership. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), which primarily comprises nurses and other non-MD medical professionals, is exploring new opportunities for linkage with the main physician group, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). With patient safety, bioterrorism, and the continued movement of care beyond the hospital, the collaboration could raise the profile of infection control rather than divide and dilute it.

The idea was endorsed at APIC’s annual conference in Nashville, TN, by SHEA president Barry Farr, MD, epidemiologist at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville. Also in favor was Gigi Dash, RN, MS, CIC, president of APIC. "We see it as a key alliance," she tells Hospital Infection Control. "There are strengths that APIC has, strengths that SHEA has, and there can be nothing but benefit from a marriage of those strengths."

The collaboration may lead to holding joint educational conferences or meetings that are slated back to back at the same location. "We are beginning to talk about doing that," Dash says. "We have a representative from SHEA on our annual conference task force; and next year, SHEA will have an APIC representative on the planning committee for the SHEA conference. We both recognize the advantage of the partnership."

Research collaborations also are a possibility, as SHEA has expressed interest in participating in APIC’s Research Foundation program, she adds.