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APIC celebrates 40 years

      The end of my tenure as APIC’s 2012 president coincides with the 40th anniversary of APIC’s founding. We’ve come a long way since December of 1972 when the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control was formed to provide the newly emerging profession of infection control practitioners with a forum for continuing interaction and education. It seems appropriate to discuss this year’s achievements as a continuation of the many past accomplishments.
      APIC was conceived by a group of pioneering health care professionals who met in 1969 at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention training program for nurse epidemiologists. This visionary group, which included Carole DeMille, Betsy Pantelick, Pat Lynch, Barbara A. Goldrick, Shirley Bradley, and others, saw the need for an organized approach to preventing “nosocomial infections.” APIC was founded to help fill that need.
      Pat served as APIC’s first president from 1972-1973; Carole was president from 1975-1976. APIC’s first educational conference was held in Toronto in 1973. Our organization participated in the first international conference on the role of the “Infection Control Nurse” sponsored by the World Health Organization in Denmark in 1978.
      The first local chapter, NE Chapter 1, was founded in 1974 by Carole. Today, APIC has grown to 126 chapters, including four that are international.
      In 1994, APIC members voted to change its name to its present title: the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, to better reflect the membership and their changing roles. In 2008, APIC rebranded its position in the field with the new tag line, “Spreading Knowledge. Preventing Infection.”
      Building on the efforts of past visionary APIC leaders, 2012 saw the approval of APIC Strategic Plan 2020 by the APIC Board of Directors. I consider this achievement a highlight of my presidential year because this roadmap will steer APIC toward its 50th year by accelerating progress toward the elimination of HAIs. As delineated in APIC Strategic Plan 2020, our vision is: “Healthcare without infection.” Our mission is to “create a safer world through prevention of infection.” APIC Strategic Plan 2020 builds on the spirit of APIC’s ongoing legacy of leading the field’s efforts to prevent patient and health care worker harm from health care-associated and occupationally acquired infections. AJIC has a new byline to reflect this vision: “Dissemination and Implementation Science for Infection Prevention and Control”.
      We are a vibrant leader organization. Just look at the evolution of the APIC Journal—starting in 1972 and becoming the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) in 1980—now a leading, cited reference in the field. In 2013, another hallmark will be realized when AJIC begins publishing every month. More impact through more research—leading the field on translating research to the bedside through the new domain of “implementation science.”
      APIC’s early leaders recognized the importance of demonstrating their competency in infection control and established the APIC Certification Association (APICCA) in 1980. In 1981, the first Infection Control Certification Board was appointed, and, in 1982, APICCA changed its name to the Certification Board of Infection Control (CBIC). Now certification is firmly grounded in APIC’s competency model that outlines the skills needed by infection preventionists to grow professionally and to advance our field as Board Certified infection preventionists.
      The field of infection prevention has experienced tremendous change and exponential growth over the last 40 years. Starting with just a few dozen individuals, APIC now has more than 14,000 members. When APIC was founded, programs to prevent the spread of HAIs were rare. Now all health care organizations are required to have infection prevention and control programs to be licensed.
      Where infections were once an accepted consequence of patient care, we now lead patient safety vision for health care without preventable errors, health care without infection!
      To all who have come before, we offer our heartfelt gratitude. We are indebted to you for bringing APIC to where we are today. Building on your conviction and vision, we rededicate ourselves to continuing to realize the goals of our founders. Thank you, APIC members, for the privilege of serving you this year.
      To learn more about the many milestones in APIC’s history, including APIC Strategic Plan 2020, visit the “About APIC” section of www.apic.org for photos, remembrances, and more.