Leadership: Leadership Perspectives from Dr. David Gifford
Posted: August 5, 2021
Author: David Gifford, MD, MPH
My work over the past 20 years has focused on how to improve the healthcare system to ultimately improve healthcare outcomes. In pursuit of this life goal, I have worked with numerous agencies in furthering healthcare quality improvement efforts. I helped create the Quality Department at the American Health Care Association, which assists providers in their quality improvement. I also directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Quality Improvement Organization nursing home-based quality improvement efforts when I served as Chief Medical Officer for Quality Partners of Rhode Island. Now, I work on initiatives with the National Trade Association representing long-term care providers.
During my 6 years as Director of the Rhode Island State Department of Health, I led the state’s response on several disease outbreaks, such as the H1N1 influenza outbreaks. Throughout the past couple of decades, I have gained insight into improving HAI/AR outbreak response from both the public health and healthcare perspectives. Adequate investigation, surveillance, and clear guidance are necessary in developing and implementing evidence-based actions to prevent the spread of infections in healthcare settings. This was exemplified during the COVID-19 pandemic where inconsistent guidance led to challenges in responding to these outbreaks. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for standardized approaches, frameworks, and guidance that are clear and implementable, as well as the importance of CORHA and the work that its members and partners are doing to develop these tools. One outcome of the pandemic response is how it has bolstered both the provider and public health communities’ collaborative efforts against the common threat of HAI/AR outbreaks.
In my new role on CORHA, I aim to help support the Council in developing and promoting guidance and resources that can be widely adopted to help improve HAI/AR outbreak investigation in a more consistent, timely, and efficient manner. I look forward to integrating the provider community into public health’s HAI/AR outbreak response and protocols and strengthening sustainable relationships between the provider and public health communities. Finally, I hope that CORHA will help advance and highlight the important role of rapid whole genome sequencing more widely as part of HAI/AR outbreak investigations.
I believe that civic service is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and underappreciated jobs. Our colleagues in public health and healthcare are some of the most passionate and mission-driven individuals I have had the pleasure of working with. Thank you all for the work you have done so far in improving HAI/AR outbreak response standards. I look forward to all of you continuing to achieve the Council’s mission of protecting patients and preventing harm from HAI/AR outbreaks.