My friends, it happened again! Crack! A home run to light up the scoreboard! If you attended last month's AHE Annual Conference & Healthcare Marketplace in Kissimmee, Fla., you know that AHE hit one out of the park with yet another fantastic conference.

The pillars constructed at this year's conference were prevention, education, standards and management. Session topics ranging from increasing Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores to reducing health care-associated infections, sustainability, leadership, superbugs and even life safety, all targeted AHE members and what we need to succeed in our day-to-day lives as environmental services (ES) professionals.

As you may recall at last year's conference, AHE was branded and launched with much fanfare and excitement and the vision and strategic plan developed by the board of directors was put into motion.

Already, and only a short 10 months removed from the AHE brand launch, a collaboration between AHE and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology has come to fruition and was announced at this year's conference.

With the support and vision of the Clorox Company, the Tuesday morning program, "Building Bridges between Infection Prevention and Environmental Services Professionals," kicked off this collaboration and brings to the forefront the importance of the roles of infection prevention and environmental services. And that's not all.

Kimberly-Clark Corp., a long-time sponsor and supporter of AHE, has worked closely with AHE Executive Director Patti Costello to launch a nationwide awareness campaign that will bring the ES profession and AHE front and center in thousands of facilities, and in the eyes of the public across the country.

This campaign in the coming months also will encompass all other aspects of the health care industry (e.g., long-term care, ambulatory surgery centers and rehab centers). It is truly a milestone that will prove to be monumental in our quest to achieve growth and provide continuous, cutting-edge educational products to our members.

And yet another cherry on top: We also had the honor of welcoming new sponsors to the family — UMF Corp., PDI Inc. and BioMed Protect.

"Thank you" does not seem to reflect how grateful we are to our members, sponsors and exhibitors who lend their support. We truly give thanks to all of you for supporting and believing in ES professionals and what we do to save lives every day.

This month's column was written by Gary Dolan, CHESP, AHE president and director, environmental services, The Village at Penn State, College State, Pa.

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" click here.