Patricia Lynch RN, MBA

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Patricia Lynch, a founding member of APIC, was APIC’s first president. She served two terms (1972 and 1973).

In celebration of APIC’s 40th anniversary, Pat shared memories of APIC: 

APIC was born in the dark of an April night, 1972, and grew strong right from the get-go, a truly blessed event. “Things were different then” is the mildest possible way to describe the vast changes in patient care practices and in APIC that have occurred since then. In 1967 in the U.S., perhaps as many as a dozen hospitals had started institutional infection prevention, mostly directed at the outbreaks of common source infections that were astonishingly frequent. About that time, the CDC began a twice yearly, week long training program under the direction of Claire Coppage. For the first three years, each class selected two representatives who committed to help start an infection control organization. 

Claire worked tirelessly to raise money to hold a meeting to found an infection control association; in 1971, Burroughs Wellcome Company agreed to host such a meeting at their headquarters in Triangle Part, North Carolina. The faculty and selected participants from 1200 G who were able to attend developed the framework for the organization; we were solely from the U.S. and Canada at that time, but from the beginning, we planned to be global. Each of us chipped in $20 for starters and began planning the first conference for Toronto, 1973. By the morning of the third day, we had the organization, committees, logo, officers and a plan. APIC was on the way!

Money was always a problem. Vision was clear as could be: we knew that if were successful, in a few short years, it would be impossible to think of infection control in the US and Canada without thinking of APIC. We knew that preventing lethal common source infections was ours to accomplish locally—outbreak by outbreak—and globally, since few others were working on the problems. We knew that it would require major education initiatives in the form of local, regional and international conferences, training and written curriculum. There would be health care culture change. 

Pat’s memories of Carole DeMille:

Of course, I knew Carole DeMille! I was inspired by her, laughed with her, got kicked into gear by her. Carole was unstoppable, inventive and wildly fun to work with. One night after a loooong day of APIC Board meeting we were tired and discouraged: we couldn’t afford elections AND a conference so we would all have to re-up for another year; also, we were eating burgers from MacDonald’s—again–and bedtime was too far off. Carole made us stop what we were working on and develop a budget for $100,000, a sum well beyond what we had even dreamed about. She made us do it! We were absolutely energized by the budget exercise and our vision improved immediately. Carole was like that. Long after she passed on, her influence still flowed through us.