We at Health Facilities Management take our role of educating our readers and promoting their interests very seriously. That is why we're proud to announce that we'll again be working with the American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES) to bring you the Environmental Services (ES) Department of the Year awards competition.

Sponsored by CINTAS Healthcare Solutions, the competition will be based on achievements made during the 2009 calendar year. The winners will be highlighted in a full-length feature in the pages of Health Facilities Management and honored at the ASHES annual convention, which will be held this September in Nashville, Tenn.

Now in its fourth year, the ES Department of the Year was created to recognize the outstanding achievements of a hospital ES/housekeeping team in maintaining the highest levels of performance in 13 critical areas, including customer service, staff education/training, recycling, patient safety, demonstrating value to the hospital and, especially, infection control and prevention.

Each year, we've been impressed with the number and quality of entries we've received, and we've taken a few simple steps this year to help maintain that high level. For instance, a new "Honorable Mention" category will give us the opportunity to recognize more high-scoring entries. Likewise, changing our entry process to allow e-mailed entries versus our previous online form-based system will give entrants an opportunity to elaborate on their achievements and submit their supporting data.

So take some time now to go to the ES Department of the Year Web Page to learn more about the competition. The deadline for entries is June 4, so don't delay.