Date Published:5/3/2013 3:01:00 PM
Publication Format:

For Immediate Release
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Contact: Tamara Moore/ 202-745-5114

SHEA Announces EPI Project Winner

Young investigator receives prize to conduct research on healthcare-associated infections

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) announced today the winner of the second annual EPI Project Competition. This young investigator award was presented to Clare Rock, MD, an Infectious Diseases fellow at the University of Maryland, for her proposal seeking to develop a more accurate marker of overall hospital quality that can be objectively applied and compared across hospitals. The EPI Project award, presented to Dr. Rock at the SHEA 2013 Spring Meeting, seeks to further the Society's mission of fostering future leaders in infection prevention and control.

"Dr. Rock's proposal represents a novel approach to addressing an important issue currently facing the field," said Keith F. Woeltje, MD, PhD, SHEA Spring 2013 Conference Planning Co-Chair. "This important work will seek to identify unique solutions to assessment bias in infection surveillance and help to advance the skills and contributions of this young investigator."

The SHEA EPI Project is a competition designed to identify important research proposals from young investigators that can shape the understanding of infection transmission, prevention methods and implementation issues. Dr. Rock will receive a $20,000 grant award from the SHEA Research and Education Foundation to conduct her study using the SHEA Research Network, a consortium of nearly 200 hospitals collaborating on multi-center research projects.

Dr. Rock will use the award to facilitate a study examining the link between hospital-acquired bacteremia, or bacteria in the blood, and central-line associated infections (CLABSIs). CLABSIs are a type of infection that occurs when bacteria or other germs that travel down a "central line" or tube that is placed into a patient's large vein into a patient's body. Since CLABSIs are one of the most common publicly reported healthcare-associated infections, rates of CLABSI are often used by hospitals and states in infection surveillance and public reporting. However, since the definition of CLABSI can be subjective and present other challenges, there is a clear need for an objective, simple and reproducible measurement.

By measuring bacteremia, Rock anticipates an improved ability to compare rates of infection between hospitals and develop a potentially more accurate marker of overall hospital quality.  

"Hospitals are coming under increasing pressure to achieve CLABSI rates of zero, calling into question the validity of current CLABSI outcomes measures," said Rock. "We hope this new measurement will introduce an objective measurement that helps overcome assessment bias  in infection prevention, will providing a more accurate marker by which to compare hospitals' quality."

Through the support of SHEA, the EPI Project empowers young researchers to investigate key trends and findings to further our understanding of infection prevention and control.


SHEA is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world with expertise in healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention and control. SHEA's mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. The society leads this field by promoting science and research and providing high-quality education and training in epidemiologic methods and prevention strategies. SHEA upholds the value and critical contributions of healthcare epidemiology to improving patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings. Visit SHEA online at, and @SHEA_Epi.