Changing policy to impact public health
For the past few years, it’s been both healthcare and politics as usual for Kim Delahanty. As the administrative director for the Infection Prevention program at the University of California, San Diego Health Systems (UCSDHS), Delahanty has worn many hats and traveled many roads to ensure patient safety always tops the agenda in her hospital, her community and her state.
As co-chair of a California Department of Public Health HAI working group and advisory committee, Delahanty helped draft a white paper that formed the backbone of Senate Bills (SB) 739, 1058 and 158. All three became state law. “These laws highlighted the importance of infection prevention programs, and raised awareness about the infection preventionist’s (IP) essential role on the healthcare team,” Delahanty said.
When not leading statewide legislative efforts, Delahanty keeps busy with the unique needs of San Diego and UCSDHS. Her recent efforts as SD and Imperial county APIC chapter president included tracking multidrug resistant organisms within the county, advancing new IPs within the field through education and training, and creating outreach programs for pre-hospital service members such as EMS and paramedics/ non-traditional IPs.
“We see the benefits of these programs in the field and in our hospitals,” Delahanty said. “We’ve engaged paramedics and pre-hospital services to help uphold infection prevention policies while in our facilities. We partner with them to conduct annual training for both personnel and patient protection. There are precautions that can help avoid cross-contamination and transmission even in the toughest field and trauma situations.”
Through her public leadership and dedication to infection prevention, Delahanty is an excellent role model for fellow IPs. Her willingness to spearhead projects both within and far beyond her job scope make her a hero of infection prevention in every sense of the word.