Irwin woman receives national award for infection prevention efforts |

Irwin woman receives national award for infection prevention efforts

Patrick Varine
Terri Lee Roberts of Irwin.
Submitted photo
Terri Lee Roberts of Irwin.

Terri Lee Roberts of Irwin has made infection prevention her life’s work, and that work was honored recently with the 2019 Heroes of Infection Prevention Award for Education, presented by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Roberts is a senior infection preventionist at the Patient Safety Authority (PSA). The award recognizes individuals who work tirelessly to reduce infection, raise awareness and improve the health and well-being of patients, health care workers and the public.

As the first infection preventionist hired by the PSA, Roberts was charged with a monumental task: improve patient safety in Pennsylvania by developing, implementing and monitoring initiatives to prevent infection.

Her work as an expert consultant and skilled educator with Pennsylvania’s 1,200 long-term care facilities includes a program that helped them reduce unnecessary testing and antibiotic ordering for urinary tract infections by more than 30%. She also initiated statewide conferences on long-term care infection prevention that brought clinicians together for education, collaboration, and encouragement.

“One of the biggest challenges long-term care workers face is competing responsibilities. There is little time to focus on infection prevention, but the stakes are high,” Roberts said. “Staff turnover is another issue. We are arming health care workers with the constant information, training and support they need to prevent outbreaks.”

In addition to her work with long-term care facilities, Roberts provides education to acute care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, risk management and quality groups. Before joining the PSA, she was a quality services/infection prevention coordinator at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and an infection control practitioner at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian.

A graduate of Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing, Roberts received her B.S. in nursing from Ohio University.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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