The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today launched Project Firstline—a comprehensive infection control program designed to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases in U.S. healthcare settings. The $180 million program features new training for staff in hospitals, outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities to protect workers on the frontlines.
Project Firstline is a CDC-led collaborative intended for the millions of frontline U.S. healthcare workers. It offers short training modules, townhall discussions, and tele-mentoring to ensure all workers in healthcare—from doctors to environmental services staff—are empowered with knowledge about the science and reasoning behind today’s infection control practices. Trainings will consist of concise, interactive and mobile device-friendly video segments, designed for busy frontline healthcare workers to access during breaks at work or during off hours.
“Healthcare workers play a crucial role in our nation’s response to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” said CDC deputy director for infectious disease Jay Butler, MD. “It is critical that every healthcare worker in the United States has the training, information, and resources they need to protect themselves, their patients, colleagues, families, and communities from infections, and Project Firstline is designed to meet that need. Whether a healthcare worker’s role is in environmental services or in the operating room, infection control is a team effort, and Project Firstline was developed for them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed gaps in infection prevention and control knowledge and practice in healthcare settings nationwide. CDC has teamed up with a coalition of more than a dozen healthcare, public health, and academic partners, as well as 64 state, territorial, and local health departments through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity cooperative agreement to support development and dissemination of Project Firstline’s innovative, interactive infection prevention and control curriculum for healthcare and public health workforces across the United States.
During the last several months, CDC and partners hosted listening sessions with healthcare personnel on the frontlines to better understand their experiences with infection control and to identify gaps in knowledge and training needs. The online trainings Project Firstline will begin releasing in the coming weeks are intended to help meet those needs and provide accurate, actionable, and accessible infection control training. The content is designed with user flexibility in mind, allowing healthcare personnel to view one short module at a time or to combine modules in an order of their choosing to target specific training needs.
“We have seen, not surprisingly, that healthcare workers are under immense pressures to make quick decisions related to infection control, often without the critical tools that they need,” said Michael Bell, MD, Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “Project Firstline’s training content is designed to make infection control a way of life, providing the latest science and understanding that will empower every healthcare worker to be an infection control leader on their team.”
As we head into flu season, it is critical that every worker in a U.S. healthcare facility—regardless of their previous training or educational background—has the knowledge and the resources necessary to confidently apply the infection control principles and protocols needed to protect themselves, their facility, and their communities. CDC looks forward to continuing this collaborative work with healthcare and public health partners to ensure all workers on the front lines have the training they need.