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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

APIC awards Ruth Carrico its highest honor

As a veteran of the ever-changing infection prevention beat, I usually call Ruth Carrico when some complicated multi-faceted issue could stand a dose of uncommon sense. Years ago, I was trying to reach her for a story and she came in from hospital curbside where she was running a drive-through flu shot campaign. The slogan? It wouldn't be the first time you killed a bug with your car.

"I have always been interested in the practical side of patient care — how can we do better by our patients?" says Carrico, PhD, RN, FHSEA, CIC, assistant professor of health promotion and behavioral sciences at the University of Louisville (KY). Though she has moved from an infection preventionist to the world of academia, Carrico still is looking for those answers. "We have to figure out how we can we do a better job for our patients because each us is the patient of tomorrow," she adds. True enough, but first things first. Carrico is the award winner of tomorrow. And not just any honor, but the prestigous Carole DeMille Achievement Award by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). It is given annually to an infection preventionist (IP) who best exemplifies the ideals of Carole DeMille, a pioneer in the field. “Ruth is a passionate teacher and charismatic speaker who continuously shares her knowledge with others,” said APIC 2012 President Michelle Farber, RN, CIC. “Her work to educate, mentor, and support the infection prevention community is extraordinary. Her leadership will have a lasting impact on our profession, and we are honored to recognize her with APIC's highest award.” An infection preventionist for 20 years, Carrico is currently an associate professor at the School of Public Health and Information Sciences and will be joining the School of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Louisville in May. Prior to teaching, Carrico was director of the Infection Control department at University of Louisville Hospital. While there, she restructured the program so it had a transdisciplinary focus and included a broad-scoped liaison approach. Carrico’s prolific research has influenced the practice of infection prevention and has focused on many areas of public health including infectious diseases transmission, emergency preparedness, and immunization. Her book on yes, the nation’s first drive-thru immunization program became a guide for others as they investigated the potential for mass immunizations in the event of a bioterrorism attack or disease outbreak within a community. At the APIC 2012 Annual Conference, Carrico will deliver two sessions: Monday, June 4 at 3 p.m., “One Stick at a Time: A Toolkit for an Effective Healthcare Personnel Immunization Program;” and June 5, at 3 p.m., “Prolonged Use of Respiratory Protection: How Does it Affect the Healthcare Worker?” The late Carole DeMille was among the founders of APIC who later became an internationally recognized authority in the developing field of hospital infection control. She was known for her vision and optimistic approach to present-day infection prevention methods. The award was established in her honor in 1979, following her death.