CDC Declares Eliminating HAIs a Winnable Battle

August 22, 2011

In an effort to “keep pace with emerging public health challenges and to address the leading causes of death and disability,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated certain public health priorities as “winnable battles.”  These public health priority areas are those that have a large-scale impact on health along with known, effective strategies available to address them.

Healthcare-Associated Infections Declared a “Winnable Battle”

According to the CDC, the current areas designated as winnable battles were chosen based on the magnitude of the health problems and the ability of making significant progress in improving outcomes.  The CDC notes that by identifying priority strategies and involving public health partners, significant progress can be achieved in reducing health disparities and the overall health burden from these diseases and conditions.

The Winnable Battle areas chosen by the CDC are:

  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Food safety
  • Global immunization
  • HIV in the U.S.
  • Lymphatic Filariasis in the Americas
  • Motor vehicle injuries
  • Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity
  • Mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDs globally
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Tobacco

Emphasis on Working With Public Health Partners

In a recent letter to colleagues, Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the CDC, discusses the CDC’s commitment to “eliminating preventable infections that occur as a result of medical treatment.”  In noting that the CDC has identified eliminating HAIs as a winnable battle, Dr. Frieden discusses the importance of working with public health partners to increase the adherence to HAI prevention strategies.  Dr. Frieden states the following:

CDC works with partners at the state and federal levels, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to increase adherence to strategies that will prevent healthcare-associated infections. CDC has funded 51 locally based HAI coordinators and has supported 30 state HAI prevention networks to drive progress toward achieving the goals set forth in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Action Plan to Eliminate HAIs.


By leveraging state and local public health efforts to improve accountability and implement recommended HAI prevention strategies, tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars could be saved. Significant progress toward eliminating healthcare-associated infections has been made in recent years, but there is substantial room for further improvement.

For more information about Winnable Battles resources and goals, including resources on HAIs, visit the CDC’s Winnable Battles webpage.

Winnable Battles: Learn more about these public health areas.

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