The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted long-standing gaps in infection control knowledge and understanding among the frontline healthcare workforce. Since the onset of the pandemic, healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic-resistant infections have increased, reversing national progress made before 2020.
Infectious disease threats like Ebola, COVID-19, and antibiotic resistance will continue to emerge. It’s more important than ever that we equip our nation’s healthcare workforce with the infection control knowledge they need to protect themselves, their patients, and their communities.
One year ago, this month, CDC launched Project Firstline. Project Firstline provides engaging, innovative, and effective infection control education and training for U.S. frontline healthcare workers.
Meeting the Needs of the Diverse Healthcare Workforce
Project Firstline’s innovative content is designed for all healthcare workers, regardless of their previous training or educational background. The program’s training and educational materials provide critical infection control information in a format that best meets healthcare workers’ needs.
During its first year, Project Firstline and its partners hosted more than 300 educational events on infection control and developed more than 130 educational products. The products are accessible on a variety of digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and CDC and partner websites. Products currently available on the CDC Project Firstline site include:
- A video series featuring CDC’s infectious disease expert, Dr. Abby Carlson
- Explainer videos on infection control basics
- A facilitator toolkit with guided session plans on infection control for COVID-19
- Job aids for on-the-go access
Maximizing Impact through Partnerships
Project Firstline brings together academic, public health, and healthcare partners plus 64 state, local, and territorial health departments to provide infection control educational resources to healthcare workers nationwide.
Our partners have used a diverse range of products and activities to reach healthcare workers with tailored infection control information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these activities include Twitter chats, podcasts, videos, and virtual training events simulcast and translated into multiple languages.
Additionally, Project Firstline launched the Community College Collaborative in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the League of Innovation in the Community College. The program is integrating enhanced infection control content into the health programs of community college classrooms. The program was piloted this summer with faculty cohorts from 16 participating colleges across a range of community college settings. Faculty came together to tailor the infection control curriculum for each professional area, with a plan to phase it into their coursework. Professional areas included:
- emergency medical services
- respiratory care
- practical nursing and nursing assistants
- medical assisting
This effort will help ensure that the future healthcare workforce starts their careers with key infection control knowledge to protect themselves and their patients.
The Future of Project Firstline
Project Firstline aims to become the go-to resource for infection control among healthcare workers. It will focus on building a strong culture of infection control within all healthcare facilities.
Using insights learned during its first year, the program will create a new suite of readily available and easy-to-consume education materials. The new materials will be designed to help strengthen infection prevention and control capacities beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks in advance for your questions and comments on this Public Health Matters post. Please note that CDC does not give personal medical advice. If you are concerned you have a disease or condition, talk to your doctor.
Have a question for CDC? CDC-INFO (http://www.cdc.gov/cdc-info/index.html) offers live agents by phone and email to help you find the latest, reliable, and science-based health information on more than 750 health topics.