Thankful For: Behind The Scenes Researchers

by Erica Mitchell | November 24 2021

In a previous post, we honored the work of Kizzmekia Corbett, the researcher whose work into SARS-CoV-1 allowed a COVID-19 vaccine to be developed so quickly. She, like so many other researchers, do tireless (and sometimes, tedious) work behind the scenes every day, without fanfare or media coverage. Much of the research comes to fruition in ways that help all of our lives, and we don't even know about it! In today's post, we'll focus on just some of the work being done behind the scenes to makes sure that you and your loved ones have a reduced chance of getting a dangerous healthcare associated infection when you go to the hospital.

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P value: What's Chance Got to Do With It?

by Erica Mitchell | November 24 2021

In scientific research, we test interventions to a problem and then measure the result: Did a medication improve patient outcomes? Did a training program lead to improved hand hygiene? Did copper-impregnated materials reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections? Simple before-and-after measurement is not enough when it comes to generating strong evidence. While the patients, the hand hygiene, and the infection rates may improve, it is vital to demonstrate that the intervention being studied was the cause of that improvement. How does a researcher demonstrate strong evidence? This post will explore the statistical representation of strength of evidence: The p value.

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Leapfrog's Lives Lost-Lives Saved Report: Behind the Numbers

by Erica Mitchell | November 22 2021

Those of us who work in the world of infection prevention can sometimes struggle to quantify our successes. While overall reductions in infection and adverse events can be counted, it's been difficult over the years to state how many infections were prevented; it's hard to count things that don't happen. A new way to quantify success in infection control may shed some light on this quandary: The new Lives Lost, Lives Saved report from the Leapfrog Group. In today's post, we'll look at their methodology and conclusions.

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Anatomy of a Scientific Journal Article

by Erica Mitchell | November 17 2021

Scientific articles, also called academic or scholarly papers, are every-day reading for many professionals. For the average person, however, they represent a novel, sometimes intimidating, type of reading material. Unlike science articles found in science magazines such as Scientific American or Psychology Today, which take a journalistic approach to covering breakthroughs, journal articles have a concise writing style, lots of numbers, and scientific jargon. This post will explore the basic parts of a scientific journal article, including what parts to skip to if you just want the big picture.

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Healthcare Architects: Career Focus

by Erica Mitchell | November 12 2021

In a previous post, we discovered the many entities that regulate the physical operation of a healthcare facility. Who is responsible for making sure that the building meets many of these regulations? It's the team of architects who design not just the aesthetics of the building, but the way the space will meet the needs of patients and staff. In today's post, we'll look closer at what it takes to become a part of that team of healthcare architects.

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Scientific Journals: From the Lab to the World

by Erica Mitchell | November 10 2021

Scientists around the world toil in their laboratories or in the field conducting research according to the scientific method. One of the final steps in the scientific method is sharing data within the scientific community. The most important way these 15 million + scientists share their work with their colleagues and the world at large is through publication in a scientific journal. Publication in a journal means the wider community has access to research that may help in other studies, but it also means the data has been reviewed and meets established criteria for reliability, meaning fellow scientists can trust the findings and use them with confidence.

Today’s post will explore the steps required for work to achieve publication, and next week's post will describe the resulting article format.

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Emerging Viral Pathogen Claims: How Products Make Claims About New Pathogens

by Erica Mitchell | November 8 2021

As soon as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identify an emerging pathogenic virus that is either completely new or starting to spread into new geographic areas, they trigger a process that leads to us, the consumers. When a new pathogen starts to spread and cause disease, and if the CDC recommends that environmental surfaces be disinfected to help slow the spread, then the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must provide guidance on which products can make the claims that they kill the emerging pathogen. In today's post, we'll look at the series of events, and what steps products must follow to achieve this public health claim.

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3 Key Differences Between White Papers and Scientific Papers

by Erica Mitchell | November 3 2021

The term "white paper" comes to us from a 100-year-old practice of government reporting in the UK. When government agencies provided data to Parliament to help them make decisions, they would offer three different types: Very long, comprehensive documents with a blue cover, open-ended reports with a green cover, and short, focused reports on a single topic with white covers. This last type, the concise document with information to solve a problem, came to be the formula for what is now known in many industries as a "white paper." Today, white papers are produced for sales purposes by for-profit companies, making them a marketing tool that can often be confused with a neutral scientific paper. While both publications have their purpose, it is important for the consumer to know how they differ. Today we will compare these two documents in order to help our readers see beyond the surface similarities and become aware of the important differences.

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When A Pandemic Becomes Endemic: What Does That Mean?

by Erica Mitchell | November 1 2021

With declining rates of COVID-19 globally, some areas of the world are entering what is called the "endemic phase" of the pandemic. While the virus has not been eradicated, this new phase brings about a sense of normality, or at least a close approximation of it, to a community. In today's post, we'll look at what it means when a pandemic becomes endemic.

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