Dr. Lillian Kao
Dr. Lillian Kao

Dr. Lillian Kao, associate professor of surgery, has received an implementation science research award from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The grant was presented through APIC’s Heroes Research Award program, which seeks to learn from the successes of members and groups who have successfully reduced infection through advocacy, education and program development.

Kao will receive $50,000 for her research project, “Strategies for Preventing Healthcare Associated Infections – Putting Them into Context.” Working with Dr. Eric Thomas and Dr. Jason Etchegaray, both of the UTHealth-Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality and Safety, she will work to identify and measure key strategies and environmental factors such as a safety culture, teamwork, and leadership involvement that are necessary for prevention of healthcare-associated infections. Effective interventions can be developed, if these factors can be accurately measured.

Proposals were evaluated based on their potential to support professional development in infection prevention.

Kao has had a longstanding interest in infection prevention and previously received an award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Physician Faculty Scholars program to study strategies for preventing surgical site infections. She is a vice chair for quality in the Department of Surgery and is the co-director of the Center for Surgical Trials and Evidence-Practice.

-Rob Cahill, Office of Advancement, Media Relations