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Local and Tribal Health Department Infection Prevention Pilot Program

Using funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Strengthening Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI)/Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Programs cooperative agreement, the Wisconsin HAI Prevention Program established an infection prevention pilot program for local and Tribal health departments (LTHDs). This competitive pilot program allows LTHDs to apply for one staff member to work more closely with their HAI Prevention Program Regional Infection Preventionist and participate in infection prevention and control (IPC) and HAI trainings, collaborate on outbreak response and on-site visits, and engage in other focused educational opportunities. One applicant is selected from each of the five public health regions. Selected LTHDs will receive funding to cover the participant’s hours spent in the program.

The purpose of this program is to provide LTHD staff with IPC education and experiences that strengthen local capacity to respond to HAI, multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) and infection prevention questions and concerns from health care facilities in their communities. Education is provided through training modules and other resources, meeting regularly with HAI Program staff, collaborating with other pilot participants, and meeting with infection preventionists and other health care professionals in their jurisdiction and region. Additional hands-on experiences is offered by attending on-site visits with the regional infection preventionists or responding to outbreaks.

The first round of this program began February 6, 2023. The HAI Prevention Program plans to initiate future rounds approximately twice per year as long as funding permits.

Current participants

The following are currently participating in the LTHD Infection Prevention Pilot Program:

  • Cassie Fissell, RN, BSN, CLS, Public Health Nurse - Dodge County Human Services & Health Department
  • Alissa Ginkowski, RN, BSN, Employee Health Nurse - Ho-Chunk Health Care Center
  • Judy(Vera) Heubel, RN, BSN, CLC, CFCN, Community Health Outreach Director - Stockbridge-Munsee Community Health
  • Julie McCallum, MPH, RN, Public Health Nurse - Sawyer County Health & Human Services
  • Ronelle McKernan, RN, BSN, CLC, Public Health Nurse - Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Health
  • Meghan Sickel, MPH, Public Health Specialist - Pepin County Health Department
  • Shoua Vang, MPH, Public Health Specialist - Greenfield Health Department
  • Amy Winninghoff, BSN, RN, Public Health Nurse - Winnebago County Health Department

  • The infection prevention pilot program is a six-month program and participants must be able to dedicate approximately four to five hours a week to participating in program activities. This could include reviewing trainings and resources, attending meetings, or participating in an on-site visit. Flexibility and accommodations to the program schedule will be made if there are outbreaks, surges, or other conflicts that need to take priority.
  • To qualify for the pilot program, the nominated staff member must be someone who works in nursing, disease investigation, HAIs, or someone who is familiar with health care facilities within a Wisconsin LTHD. Examples could include, but are not limited to, public health nurses, communicable disease investigators, and communicable disease managers. Consider staff members who are less experienced in infection prevention and control practices and HAIs, but not necessarily brand new to public health.

Individuals may apply by filling out the Local and Tribal Health Department Infection Prevention Pilot Program Application. One individual per LTHD may apply, multiple applications per health department will not be accepted.

When completing the application, please provide as much detail as possible. These specific details are important for evaluation purposes. Note: When completing the application, you may save your progress and return to the application at a later time by clicking the "Save and Continue" toolbar at the bottom of the application.

Information needed to apply

The application will request:

  • Basic demographic information about the you, your health department, and your supervisor or local health officer
  • Rationale for wanting to participate including what skills you hope to gain and how the program will benefit you and your LTHD
  • Details about your current role including what IPC topics would benefit you most, what questions you addressed related to infection prevention and HAIs in your current role, and what types of outbreaks you assist with.

To review all application questions, please see this example application.

Criteria used to evaluate, score, and award applicants include, but are not limited to, the strength of the applicant's rationale for:

  • Seeking participation
  • Using these skills going forward to benefit the LTHD, jurisdiction, and region, including for ongoing outbreak management
  • Providing and sharing IPC education to the facilities in their jurisdiction

After application review and initial candidate selection, the HAI Prevention Program will also be in contact with the final candidates' supervisors to further discuss the program commitment. Final applicants will be notified by email if selected to participate.

As part of the CDC project funding, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is able to pay or reimburse LTHDs for the time their staff member spends in this pilot. The specific mechanism by which this happens is flexible and may need to be customized to best meet the needs of the LTHD and meet federal, state, and local funding requirements. DHS is happy to discuss preferences from LTHDs for this and can help address questions that may arise.


The infection prevention pilot program will cover a variety of topics and experiences to increase basic HAI and IPC knowledge. See each curriculum section description for more information on what will be covered.

Section 1. Introduction and Networking Opportunities

This introductory section will provide an overview of the CDC HAI Prevention Program structure including the HAI/Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (ARLN) and how public health intersects with health care facilities regarding HAIs and infection prevention and control (IPC). Participants will begin to create connections with other infection preventionists (IPs) and LTHD staff from around the state through regular check-in meetings that will continue throughout the pilot. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet with facility IPs in onsite tours and infection control assessment and response (ICAR) visits to establish lasting relationships with health care entities and staff.

Section 2. Prevention and Control of Infectious Agents

This section covers foundational topics related to the prevention and control of various infectious agents, including employee health response to exposures, source control, and much more. Participants will also learn about the unique IPC needs and practices in other types of outpatient settings such as dialysis, dental, or ambulatory clinics. This section will help LTHDs better understand important aspects of infection prevention in health care facilities.

Section 3. Identification and Response to Infectious Diseases

Proper laboratory identification of infectious diseases is essential for determining the risk of infection and needed interventions to interrupt the disease process to prevent or mitigate transmission. Accurate identification can also help determine necessary care for the patient or resident. This section will cover interpreting, reporting, and responding to lab results for various infectious diseases and how proper identification and response can prevent the emergence of resistant microorganisms from occurring.

Section 4. Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigations

The main goal of any outbreak investigation is to promptly identify pathogens, stop ongoing disease transmission, and reduce risks for the future. Communication and cooperation between the LTHD, health care team, and facility IP are essential for success in these areas. This section will review factors that affect surveillance programs in health care facilities, such as changing reporting requirements, novel MDROs and increasing antibiotic resistance, outbreaks, data collection, and response.

Section 5. Environmental Factors

The health care environment can be an overlooked source of HAIs. Eliminating environmental infectious agents is an important focus area to limit transmission. This section addresses the role of IPC in the environment with a specific focus on ventilation, water management, construction risks, and environmental surfaces in health care facilities. Additional information on wastewater testing will also be provided.

Section 6. Disinfection and Sterilization

Properly disinfected and sterilized instruments and medical devices reduce the risk for HAIs. This section will review the importance of following specific manufacturer-validated instructions for disinfection and sterilization processes, including how LTHDs can work collaboratively with the facility IP, risk managers, and other members of the health care team to prevent further transmission if disinfection and sterilization processes fail to occur. This section will also cover important supports like documentation of process completion, auditing, and investigations to determine breaches.

Section 7. Administration and Resources

This section will review important administrative relationships plus introduce participants to accrediting and regulatory agencies that affect IPC programs. Although regulatory agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS), drive most health care policies, even voluntary accrediting agencies have had a positive impact on infection prevention. A brief description of the agencies, their relationships to each other, and their impact on IPC programs will be provided.

Additional educational opportunities

Although this program is intended for one staff member as part of a mentorship model, there will be opportunities to share the education and resources gained from the program with other staff members within the LTHD and region. All training modules and materials from the program will be made accessible to other LTHDs via a new LTHD IPC-focused education webpage, live trainings, and other materials. Participating members are also encouraged to use what they’ve learned to educate other staff members.

The HAI Prevention Program recognizes that LTHDs are interested in larger, regional and state-wide trainings. This pilot program will serve as an opportunity to better understand the infection prevention needs of LTHDs. Based on these needs, the HAI Prevention Program plans to develop additional trainings that will be open to all LTHD staff members across the state. Pilot program participants will also participate in the development and distribution of those materials.


For additional information about the LTHD Infection Prevention Pilot Program, please contact

Last revised February 24, 2023