One of the ways UofL Health works to maintain a safe environment for both our patients and our team members is through the Infection Prevention and Control department. Each UofL Health facility, including UofL Health – UofL Physicians practices, has at least one infection preventionist dedicated to preventing infections, conducting outbreak investigations and educating team members on hand hygiene. Mary Radford, BSN, CIC, is one of our infection preventionists.
Mary is the Infection Prevention program manager for the UofL Health – Medical Centers and UofL Physicians practices. Even though she was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Mary has spent most of her life in Louisville. She attended Spalding University and joined UofL Health in 2020. She recently celebrated her first anniversary with the organization on Nov. 16.
In her role, Mary is responsible for developing the vision and direction for the medical centers’ Infection Control department in collaboration with the executive director of Quality at UofL Health, Kami Walker, RN, JD, CPHQ.
“On an annual basis, I will evaluate the program and create goals based on my analysis,” Mary said. “I analyze and interpret infection control data for reporting to the CDC, specifically health care associated infections.”
As an infection preventionist, Mary also uses the data she collects to track infections and report out the infections and communicable diseases to the appropriate health agencies and public health authorities.
Did you know, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 31 patients in hospital facilities has a hospital acquired infection (HAI)? These infections have direct medical costs of at least $28.4 billion each year across the United States. Certain risk factors that increase a patient’s chance of contracting an HAI are invasive procedures, severity of illness, not adhering to best practices for prevention and overuse or improper use of antibiotics. Helping our team members recognize and understand the best practices for preventing infections is a key part of Mary’s role and is one way we can all help to prevent the spread of infections.
In addition to her reporting duties, Mary also performs rounds to observe infection control practices and will make recommendations to department leadership based on her findings. While rounding, she always welcomes questions from team members.
One of the aspects of UofL Health that Mary loves the most is the size and scope of the Infection Prevention and Control department.
“We all know each other, are friends and genuinely want to see each other succeed,” Mary said. “I get support from my leadership in the Quality department, which is important for the safety of our team members and patients.”
Another aspect of UofL Health that Mary enjoys is the opportunity to build and grow an Infection Prevention department at the medical centers. Traditionally, ambulatory care centers, like our medical centers, don’t have Infection Prevention departments exclusively focused on their needs.
“I’m glad UofL Health saw fit to add Infection Prevention and Control departments to all of our facilities and not just our hospitals,” Mary said. “We were formed right at the crux of the pandemic. No one could have predicted how crucial of a role infection preventionists would play in the first two years of our organization to help bring practical, evidence-based approaches to tackling an unknown disease.”
While Mary’s role primarily impacts the medical centers and our UofL Physicians offices, her consultations and recommendations play an important role in keeping our team members and patients safe. Ultimately, Mary’s goal is to create a premier Infection Prevention and Control department for the medical centers and UofL Physicians so that every team member, and every patient, has a safe environment to receive and practice care.
Outside of work, Mary enjoys watching the Great British Bake Off and listening to podcasts. Her top favorite three podcasts are The Dollop (American history), My Favorite Murder (true crime) and Bad Faith (news/politics).
If you’re thinking of grabbing lunch for Mary, an easy choice would be tacos. She hasn’t met a taco she hasn’t liked yet! If you’re feeling breakfast food, though, just order her a plate of biscuits and gravy.
Do you know how to buy the appropriate amount of groceries for the week? If you have a tip or trick to share, Mary would love to chat with you. She might even show you some photos of her travels to four of the seven continents – she only has three more to go!
Mary’s favorite quote is by American novelist, James Baldwin: Nothing can be changed until it’s faced. She has this quote printed and framed in her office. It serves as a daily reminder of why Mary chose to be an infection preventionist.
If you see Mary out in the medical centers or a UofL Physicians practice, be sure to give her a wave and say “hello!” She would love to get to know you.