State Health Department Infection Prevention Expert Named Recipient of Carole DeMille Achievement Award

Rachel L. Stricof to be honored on June 16 by Other Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology at International Meeting in Denver

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 3, 2008) – Rachel L. Stricof, M.T., M.P.H., Director of the Hospital-Acquired Infection Reporting (HAI) Program for the New York State Department of Health, has been named the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Carole DeMille Achievement Award from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

APIC presents this annual award to an infection prevention and control professional who best exemplifies the ideals of Carole DeMille, a pioneer in infection control. The award will be presented on June 16 at the APIC 35th Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

"We extend our congratulations to Ms. Stricof for achieving national recognition with this award," said state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "Her outstanding work, leadership and breadth of knowledge in epidemiology has been a tremendous asset to the Department. Ms. Stricof is recognized as an early proponent of infection surveillance programs, and developed one of the first data-driven reporting systems in the country."

Ms. Stricof has been an infection prevention expert for more than 30 years. In addition to her current position, she has served as Epidemiologist for the Department's Bureau of Tuberculosis Control and the AIDS Epidemiology Program. She has also served as the Department's Regional Epidemiologist Program Coordinator and Epidemiologist/Coordinator for the Nosocomial Program. In addition, she is an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the State University of New York at Albany.

In her current role, Ms. Stricof has worked with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish the National Health Care Safety Network as the standard for hospital-acquired reporting in New York State. She educates infection control practitioners and collaborates with legislators, health associations and decision-making bodies in an effort to identify best practices and reduce infection rates.

"Ms. Stricof is a national expert in designing and implementing infection control programs," said Guthrie S. Birkhead, M.D., Deputy Commissioner of the Health Department's Office of Public Health. "Her career in DOH has spanned the issues of control of transmission of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis to prevention of transmission of bloodborne pathogens in health care settings. Her work with the CDC to establish and implement the first-in-the-nation, state-of-the-art hospital acquired infection reporting program in New York will enable all hospitals to report selected infections to the Department via the National Healthcare Safety Network. This program will revolutionize infection control practices in hospitals in the state."

Ms. Stricof is as external advisor to the APIC's Public Policy Committee and serves as a liaison representative to the CDC's Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis.

She holds a master's degree in public health in biostatistics and epidemiology and a bachelor's degree in medical technology from the University of Michigan.

"We are proud to honor Ms. Stricof with this award," said Janet E. Frain, R.N., APIC's 2008 President and Director of Integrated Services at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Calif. "Throughout her career, she has made significant contributions to the field of infection prevention. Her accomplishments and vision truly exemplify the ideals of Carole DeMille."

The late Carole DeMille was among the founders of APIC who later became an internationally recognized authority in the developing field of hospital infection control. She was known for her vision and optimistic approach to present-day infection prevention methods. The award was established in her honor posthumously in 1979.

APIC's mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. The Association's nearly 12,000 members have primary responsibility for infection prevention, control and hospital epidemiology in health care settings around the globe. APIC advances its mission through education, research, collaboration, practice guidance, public policy, and credentialing.