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National survey of infectious disease fellowship program directors: A call for subspecialized training in infection prevention and control and healthcare epidemiology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2024

Marisa L. Winkler*
Affiliation:
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Molly L. Paras
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
Sharon B. Wright
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts Infection Prevention, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Erica S. Shenoy
Affiliation:
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts Infection Control Unit and Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts Infection Control, Mass General Brigham, Boston, Massachusetts
*
Corresponding author: Marisa L. Winkler; Email: mwinkl4@emory.edu

Abstract

Objective:

The importance of infection prevention and control and healthcare epidemiology (IPC/HE) in healthcare facilities was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Infectious disease (ID) clinicians often hold leadership positions in IPC/HE teams; however, there is no standard for training or certification of ID physicians specializing in IPC/HE. We evaluated the current state of IPC/HE training in ID fellowship programs.

Design:

A national survey of ID fellowship program directors was conducted to assess current IPC/HE training components in programs and plans for expanded offerings.

Setting and participants:

All ID fellowship program directors in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Methods:

Surveys were distributed using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) to program directors in March 2023, with 2 reminder emails; the survey closed after 4 weeks.

Results:

Of 166 program directors, 54 (32.5%) responded to the survey. Among respondent programs, 49 (90.7%) of 54 programs reported didactic training in IPC/HE averaging 4.4 hours over the course of the fellowship. Also, 18 (33.3%) of 54 reported a dedicated IPC/HE training track. Furthermore, 23 programs (42.6%) reported barriers to expanding training. There was support (n = 47, 87.0%) for formal IPC/HE certification from a professional society within the standard fellowship.

Conclusions:

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the need for ID medical doctors with IPC/HE expertise, formal training in ID fellowship remains limited. Most program directors support formalization of IPC/HE training by a professional organization. Creation of standardized advanced curriculums for ID fellowship training in IPC/HE could be considered by the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) to grow, retain, and enhance the IPC/HE physician workforce.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

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