The Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) now offers its online educational programs free to members as part of its new Engage program, which promotes AHE education and development for environmental services professionals.

Since Jan. 1, AHE members have had free access to the organization's popular online courses and webinars and other educational materials, including videos, podcasts and other interactive learning materials. Participants also can complete discussion-based assignments and assessments offered online.

"We see ourselves as the premier organization in environmental services education, so we're making it available free to our members," says Sandra Rials, education manager, AHE. "Offering free education is helping us provide the tools that they need so they can do their jobs effectively."

Online courses offered this year include Foundations for Success in Environmental Services Management; Essentials of Infection Prevention and Environmental Hygiene; and new this year — Ultimate Scores for the Ultimate Experience: How Improving the Patient Experience Will Improve Your HCAHPS.

Among nine webinars scheduled for this year are New Trends in Environmental Hygiene; Assessing Your Facility's Risk for C. diff.; Developing Leaders from the Front Line; and What Makes a Great EVS Department?

Rials says the facilitators of the online courses typically are certified health care environmental services professionals (CHESP); some hold a certification in infection prevention and control (CIC).

Rials says the response by members to the free educational offerings has been tremendous so far. As a result of the new member benefit, AHE has experienced a spike in membership and registration has surged for online courses and webinars, she says. AHE estimates the value of the free programs, which are sponsored by Clorox, at about $2,000. Other than occasional sponsored webinars, members paid to participate in all online educational programs before the policy change.

For more information on Engage or to join AHE, go to