Scary woman

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has announced that S. Gail Thurmond, MD, is the recipient of the 2020 Healthcare Administrator Award.

The award recognizes the pivotal role that healthcare leaders play in establishing an organizational culture that enables and supports infection prevention and control (IPC).

“Dr. Thurmond’s support for IPC efforts is exemplary and we are proud to recognize her with this award,” says 2020 APIC President Connie Steed, MSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC. “She demonstrates that support from the C-suite can truly advance the work of infection prevention.”

Thurmond is senior vice president, clinical effectiveness, and chief quality and patient safety officer, for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis. Under Thurmond’s leadership, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis has substantially reduced healthcare-associated infection (HAI) risks related to Clostridium difficile, immediate-use steam sterilization, catheter-associated urinary tract infection and central line-associated bloodstream infection.

She believes that healthcare providers at all levels — including physicians, nursing, ancillary teams, vendors, and frontline associates — must make patient safety a top priority. For this reason, she advocates tirelessly for IPC-related funding, training, technology, and regulatory compliance and carefully monitors the efficacy of clinical and quality improvement projects.


As the executive leader of the healthcare system’s efforts to be a high-reliability organization, Thurmond has supported system-wide mandatory annual influenza vaccination, resulting in 98% compliance; championed appropriate IPC staffing and the CIC® certification; initiated aggressive and innovative campaigns to reduce HAIs, including infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile; and helped implement policies requiring provider ownership of central venous catheters with required daily documentation of necessity.