Developing and Delivering Infection Prevention and Control Workforce Programs within Occupational Health and Safety to Protect the Public’s Health in the Workplace
Occupational Health and Safety
Background: The decades-long shortage of a skilled public health workforce was exacerbated during the pandemic. The urgency for experienced clinical healthcare and public health workers impacted operations at direct care facilities such as primary, urgent, and emergency care, but also at state and federal public health departments, state and local government administrations, and even by private employers concerned about the health and risk factors faced by their employees. As a key emerging position and potential solution, infection prevention and control (IPC) positions combine community health, infectious disease education, surveillance, and health education responsibilities. IPCs can provide these services to employers expanding occupational health programs to include infection prevention and control.
Methods: IPCs have diverse skillsets and backgrounds, and can provide expanded health information services to a workforce in order to minimize workplace transmission of infections and to support the overall health of the workforce. This model, which is used currently in long-term care facilities and hospitals to minimize HAI can be expanded to occupational health programs using the training content develop and delivered through CDC’s Project Firstline.
Results: Project Firstline resources include online trainings, training toolboxes, informational resources, and social media graphics.
Discussion: Expansion of infection prevention and control efforts across all workforce and occupational health programs can benefit private employers by reduction in days of work lost due to infectious disease. IPC programs have the added benefit of providing context to discuss health equity with both employers and employees, and while engaging in an equity discussion may be challenging subject for some work environments, health equity around access to resources and social determinants of health are good access points to build awareness. Trainings and resources provided by CDC Project Firstline to support infection prevention and control activities can be utilized by private employers to build IPC capacity among Occupational Health and Safety programs.
Amber Bickford Cox
Maximus Public Health
Linked Session ID:
Amber Bickford Cox, MPH, PHD
, Mikeisha Oldson
, Elizabeth Smith, MHS
, Serena McCovery
, Robyn Shepard
Maximus Public Health,
Maximus Center for Health Innovation
Learning Outcome 1:
Describe how Infection Prevention and Control specialists can benefit workers in the workplace by sharing infection prevention and control information.
Learning Outcome 2:
Demonstrate 3 ways IPC specialists have reduced the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace during the past 2 years.
Learning Outcome 3:
Identify one major barrier to implementing successful IPC programs within a private company's workplace compared to a public workplace, such as a government agency.
Linked Session Title:
Poster: Essential workers- Learning to prevent occupational harm