Lita Jo Henman

Leveraging diverse experience to improve infection prevention practices

Lita Jo Henman, MPH, CIC
Riverside Methodist Hospital
Columbus, Ohio

Through exceptional professional leadership and mentorship, Lita Jo Henman has had far-reaching impact on infection prevention practice and patient care nationally.

Henman leads infection prevention and control programs at two diverse facilities: She is the infection prevention program supervisor at 1,000-bed Riverside Methodist Hospital, and the sole practitioner in a nearby 100-bed rural hospital. “In a small facility you have to generalize, but in a larger facility with more resources, you can specialize,” said Henman. “The diversity gives me great perspective.”

Henman has leveraged this perspective to benefit infection preventionists (IPs) and patients across her hospital system and the country. In 2009, she helped launch a central-line associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) reduction initiative that generated and sustained a 90 percent CLABSI rate reduction across all eight OhioHealth hospitals.

After becoming aware of a patient safety issue at Riverside related to external ventricular drains (EVDs), Henman discovered there is little known about reducing these infections. Using currently available research and her CLABSI experience, she worked with the neuro-critical staff to create an EVD bundle that has eliminated EVD-associated infections at Riverside. “I was really impressed by the ripples this program caused – hospitals across the nation requested the bundle,” said Henman. “This experience also reinforced to me the importance of asking the frontline staff, ‘What makes sense to you?’ Get their opinions and empower them to act.”

Henman extends the benefit of her experience through professional mentorship. She worked with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Kentucky Hospital Association to provide instruction to more than 200 infection preventionists in hospitals and long-term care facilities. “Jo’s learning techniques have helped transform how other infection preventionists teach their own staff,” said Ruth Carrico, PhD, from the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

“It’s our job to find that bit of spark and interest,” said Henman. “And also have some fun.”