APIC goes global with Murphy presidency

Right now, 1.4 million people have an HAI

A proud "Aussie" is the 2010 president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), putting an international face on an organization that clearly wants to expand its global reach.

Cathryn MurphyCathryn Murphy, RN, MPH, PhD, CIC, MRCNA, currently holds an academic position on the faculty of health services and medicine at Bond University in Robina, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. She previously served as president of the Australian Infection Control Association and was a founding member of the Asia Pacific Society for Infection Control. As the first non-U.S. president of APIC, Murphy's election is a reflection of APIC's increasingly global focus.

"This is not about me as an individual," she tells Hospital Infection Control & Prevention. "I am someone who has been fortunate through 15 years of membership in APIC to learn so much about the profession from my colleagues. If I can do any one thing, it would be to show other international members of APIC that it is possible for them to follow a leadership pathway within the organization."

APIC always has been an international organization, Murphy emphasizes, noting that it has had increasing number of members from all around the world since it was first established.

"At the moment, among our 13,000 members we have more than 41 different countries represented," she says. "It fits very well with one of our strategic intentions, which is to advance the organization internationally."

In addition, APIC's scholarly journal — American Journal of Infection Control — had some 200,000 articles downloaded internationally last year. "People from more than 10 countries downloaded that material," Murphy says. "To me, it shows how important APIC's global footprint is. We are able to influence practice and it is all about that bidirectional exchange of information and ideas."

That ability is critical in a global village where an infectious index case from one continent can cause a cluster somewhere else in the world on the same day. More specifically, health care-associated infections (HAIs) are taking on a global context, as strains of multidrug-resistant nosocomial pathogens spread via patients between countries.

"At this particular point in time — at this minute — the World Health Organization estimates that at least 1.4 million people are suffering with an HAI globally," she says. "A staggering figure."

Among the many challenges is finding interventions that can be adopted by nation's both rich and poor.

"The challenge certainly is global," Murphy says. "APIC is in a unique position. We are the world's largest [infection prevention] organization. We must take the science to the bedside."