Improving infection prevention efforts, bolstering sustainability performance and upgrading operational efficiencies are just a few of the challenges facing health care environmental services (ES) departments today. That is why Health Facilities Management (HFM) is proud to be working with the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) once again to bring you the annual ES Department of the Year awards, sponsored by Cintas Corp.

Now in its sixth year, the awards not only recognize outstanding results by health care ES/housekeeping teams in these and other areas, but help the recipients document their successes and share them with their peers in other health care organizations.

Toward that end, the winning team is profiled in a full-length feature in HFM and receives a crystal award at EXCHANGE 2012 (formerly known as the AHE Annual Conference & Healthcare Marketplace), Sept. 16-19 in Phoenix. A runner-up and honorable mention awards may be presented to high-scoring teams as well. Additionally, all recipients are invited to take part in an invitation-only networking luncheon during the convention, where they can swap ideas and experiences with their peers.

Previous winners have included an ES team that provided superior service in a fast-paced Level I trauma center environment, an organization that integrated its ES and infection prevention teams under one manager, and an ES department in a Veterans Affairs hospital that became successful by hiring veterans who had been down on their luck.

To join these and other ES achievers, simply log on to, where you will find samples of previous winning entries and articles. The deadline for entries is May 25, so don't delay!