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The role of the public health analyst in the delivery of technical assistance to state health departments for healthcare-associated infection prevention *

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  • Alternative Title:
    Med Care
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    Introduction Aligned with the goals of the DHHS Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs), in 2009 CDC awarded cooperative agreements to 51 state and territorial health departments for purposes of developing and implementing strategies to reduce HAIs. These cooperative agreements through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) were supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Objectives To systematically describe the technical assistance (TA) delivered by CDC public health analysts to state health departments as part of the ELC cooperative agreement supported by ARRA to develop, implement and/or expand HAI prevention programs. Research Design Exploratory, qualitative Subjects CDC public health analysts who provided TA to grantees of the ELC cooperative agreement supported by ARRA from September 2009 – December 2011. Measures Eight semi-structured interviews using a standardized script. Interviews were audio recorded; responses transcribed, thematically coded and analyzed using a qualitative immersion approach. Results Four convergent themes were identified, creating a framework of activities for the delivery of TA: acting as a liaison, facilitating training, providing administrative and program management support, and sharing/disseminating information to states. Having a liaison and providing informational resources to states were perceived as critical components of TA for HAI program sustainability. Conclusions Findings provide a framework of core TA activities needed to build and sustain capacity in state HAI prevention programs through the cooperative agreement structure. This categorization of themes can be used to assist other agencies and entities in planning for and provision of TA when utilizing cooperative agreements.
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