Meet the Heroes - Northeastern Infection Control Educators


Northeastern Infection Control Educators Preparing the Infection Prevention Novice

Northeastern Infection Control Educators
Princeton, NJ

A 14-member team that formed an organization dedicated to educating new infection preventionists in New Jersey after the CDC discontinued its infection control education courses in 1989.

Working with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), members of the Northern and Southern New Jersey APIC chapters set out to design an affordable and locally accessible course and resource materials that would prepare new IPs to perform their duties. Working on a collaborative basis, they brought in local experts – including infectious disease physicians, and consultants in the fields of sterile process and public health – to help develop program content and serve as faculty. A comprehensive resource manual containing resource articles and guidelines, lecture handouts, sample forms, and an extensive bibliography was created for course participants.

The first one-week course, held in March 1990, attracted 68 participants and has been held twice every year since then. Over the past 20 years, the group, which became formally known as the Northeastern Infection Control Educators (N.I.C.E), has trained more than 3,000 new IPs. The course now attracts attendees from across the U.S. as well as from other countries.

Group spokesperson Alida Ammon, BSN, CIC, MSN, director of Infection Control at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, said the course held in Princeton, N.J. fills an important need. “It’s education for IPs by IPs,” she said, adding that organizers cap attendance at 95 participants. The manual is updated for every course, and reflects the latest changes in infection prevention policy and regulation.

N.I.C.E.’s other members include Christine Armenti, BN, BSN, MS, Hepatitis Surveillance Coordinator at the NJDHSS; Rosalie Becce, RN, BA (retired); Roberta Benz, BSN, CIC, Infection Prevention and Control Coordinator at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, N.J.; Winifred Caputo, RN, BSN, CIC, Infection Preventionist at Veterans Administration N.J. Health Care System in East Orange, N.J.; Annette Elbaum, RN, CIC (retired); Renée Fusco, RN, CIC, Infection Preventionist at Underwood Memorial Hospital; Kathy Horn, RN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J.; Marie Kassai, RN, BS, MPH, CIC, Managing Member at MRK Consulting LLC; Gail McFadden, Ph.D. (retired); Sindy Paul, MD, MPH, FACPM, Medical Director at NJDHHS; Arlene Potts, BA, MPH, CIC, IP Consultant with AMPottsIP, LLC and Public Health Representative in Communicable Diseases with the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services; Patricia Sullivan, CIC, Infection Preventionist at Morristown Memorial Hospital; and Patricia Touanen, RN, BSN, CIC (retired).