Throughout nearly four decades in health care facilities management, I have had the honor to learn from, lead and work alongside dedicated environmental services (EVS) team members.

Often, I took time to work with my EVS team members as they went about their daily routines, which I viewed as an opportunity to understand their experiences. I saw firsthand how decisions made during the planning, design and construction process can impact EVS success.

This understanding clarified the importance of a positive relationship between EVS and facilities and helped me remove many barriers between our departments.

The EVS team plays an essential role in infection prevention. These individuals have the invaluable expertise, knowledge and ability to keep the health care environment hygienic.

Whether you oversee the EVS team or they are in a separate department, I encourage you to reach out and explore how your teams can work together. It is imperative that our teams collaborate now more than ever. We must connect with EVS to share learning and work toward a more efficient, safer and healthier tomorrow.

When I was a plant operations manager, the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) provided me with tools and education to build my knowledge, which made me a better manager. When I wanted to know more about EVS, I reached out to ASHE’s peer organization, the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE), for education and resources, which have made me a better leader.

If this is your first time hearing about AHE or you haven’t browsed the AHE website, I ask you to take a few minutes to do so today. There is a wealth of information waiting for you there, as well as in Health Facilities Management’s ES News newsletter.

The second week in September is National Healthcare Environmental Services Week. It’s important for our members and profession to remember the vital role our EVS partners play in maintaining our facilities and securing the health of every person who walks through our doors.

This year, I challenge you to celebrate their accomplishments and successes as passionately as you celebrate your own!