Having been employed by the AHE for almost a year, I have had the pleasure of interacting with numerous members from different backgrounds and areas of responsibility in various health care facilities. Over that time, the members have taught me about the profession and AHE as an organization.

I've learned what really makes this organization so great — it's the members! Collectively, the AHE's members are improving health care quality and patient safety by efficiently maintaining their facilities and providing patients, residents, staff, providers, visitors and volunteers with a clean, safe, comfortable and sustainable environment. Our members are a committed group of people I am proud to support. After all, AHE is here to serve our members. Without them, our organization does not exist.

The AHE board, committees and staff are always striving to provide the best value for membership. With budgets tightening in every corner of the health care industry, AHE membership is more important now than ever.

AHE provides the education, networking and publication tools for professional development, and key resources and technical information for those caring for the health care environment. The AHE board has made key strategic changes over the past year to enhance member value and foster the growth and recognition of AHE and the profession.

The exciting new brand unveiled at the 2010 conference was the first in a series of changes in response to what our members believe we need to do to continue to be cutting edge, relevant and in the forefront of the industry. Things like bundling products and tools are coming soon and will support and strengthen the existing benefits of being an AHE member, and only will be available to nonmembers at a premium.

We are changing and increasing opportunities to network, and simplifying access to members-only information on the website. In response to participant comments, we also are making key changes to the online educational programs to ensure they provide the best career enhancements possible.

On Wednesday, April 13, at 11 a.m. (Central time), for example, we'll be presenting "C. difficile: Best Practices in Prevention and Control." It will be the first in a series of eight webinars this year. The webinars are developed to provide current, real-world information on pressing topics facing professionals working in the health care environment, including environmental services, infection prevention, patient transport, waste management, and laundry and textile care.

We are putting together the best possible programs and resources for our members. As your professional organization, we are here to serve you by meeting your needs. We will constantly put forth our best efforts to meet our members' needs.

If there is something we could do to maximize the benefits of your AHE membership, please let us know. Send us an e-mail at ahe@aha.org or give us a call at 312-422-3860.

This month's column was written by P.J. Lusher, marketing coordinator for AHE.

AHE insight

Valuable resources

AHE offers a variety of educational materials. They include the following:

  • Practice Guidance for Healthcare Environmental Cleaning. This publication, prepared by AHE and edited by infection control professionals, contains requirements for environmental cleaning in health care facilities. Targeted for environmental services directors and managers, this book can be used as a resource for implementing proper cleaning techniques and procedures.
  • Contracting: Myths & Realities. This publication covers everything from outsourcing to management pitfalls. It includes sample surveys, budgets and task lists that will assist in making the best contracting decisions for a health care facility's environmental services department. AHE re-released this manual to keep environmental services professionals at the top of their game.
  • Glossary of Healthcare Terms for Environmental Services. This convenient reference tool features hundreds of terms and definitions organized alphabetically, both general and specific to environmental services, housekeeping and textile care.

For information on purchasing these and other valuable industry references, select "AHA Store," then "Environmental Services" after clicking here.