trophy on top of old wooden table in front of blackboard

UMF Corporation announced the recipients of the company’s 10th annual Hygiene Specialist Excellence award, which acknowledges the important contribution of environmental services (ES) departments in hospitals and long-term care facilities across the country. 

Environmental Service Aides Elida Gardella and Lourdes Rosenwasser of Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, New York, are this year’s recipients of the award.

“We are elated that UMF Corporation has recognized Lourdes and Elida with the National Hygiene Specialist Award, says Felix Nazario, administrative director of environmental services at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “Infection prevention and control are top priorities for Mount Sinai South Nassau. The combination of outstanding employees such as Lourdes and Elida, the right products, and the right training make our hospital a pillar in the healthcare community when it comes to infection prevention.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), on any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare associated infection (HAI). Though mostly preventable, HAIs such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) occur in all types of patient and extended care settings. C. diff, for example, can result from the bacteria found on environmental surfaces in healthcare environments. Without proper cleaning of such surfaces, cross-contamination can occur.

A recent study in the American Journal of Infection Control showed that, with the proper ES protocols in place, C. diff rates fell to zero over the course of 1,000 patient days. Management at leading health systems understand and recognize the importance of ES as part of an enterprise-wide multimodal intervention plan to combat such infections.

“We established the Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award in order to recognize the invaluable contributions of the unheralded environmental services departments across the country,” says UMF Corporation CEO George Clarke. “UMF Corporation is committed to increasing awareness and recognition of all these dedicated professionals who are so critical in the battle against preventable HAIs. When we reviewed the nominations, it was obvious that these two individuals deserved recognition.”

During her ten years working in the 12-room Mount Sinai South Nassau critical care unit (CCU), Gardella has been one of the hospital’s top performers in an extremely delicate unit. With daily cleaning, she ensures the CCU is disinfected to the highest standards. She also performs daily terminal and steam cleaning, and does her own floor care. Her ATP (adenosine triphosphate) testing results – which are used to verify cleanliness of hospital surfaces – consistently are stellar.

Rosenwasser has worked in Mount Sinai South Nassau intensive care unit (ICU) since 2012, performing highly effective daily cleaning as well as terminal cleaning and steam cleaning. Her ATP results are great, and she also maintains an excellent floor care routine in the 10-room unit.

To submit for the next National Hygiene Specialist Award, visit