UMF Winner

UMF|PerfectCLEAN announced that Maria Diaz De Leon, Sodexo hygiene specialist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, has earned the company’s 15th annual National Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award. Maria was nominated by Jason Solley, senior area general manager — Environmental Services (EVS), at Phoenix Children’s, for her exemplary work as night shift EVS Supervisor. Maria, who works for Sodexo through a contract with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, oversees more than 20 EVS professionals responsible for all terminal cleaning within the perioperative areas within the hospital, which consist of four different locations on campus.

“Maria is such a remarkable asset to our EVS department and all the patients, visitors, and staff here at Phoenix Children’s Hospital,” says Solley. “After her recent promotion to EVS Supervisor, she partnered with the leadership of the Perioperative teams, Infection Prevention and Control, and Regulatory to revamp EVS services for all four perioperative locations throughout the hospital. Through those partnerships, she helped enhance and update EVS staff competencies, standard operating procedures, and terminal logs in the perioperative areas. To ensure the EVS team achieved the desired results for cleanliness, she started conducting quality control inspections utilizing ATP monitoring technology. Additionally, Maria is committed to continuous learning to enhance her knowledge of industry standards and best practices, thereby empowering her team to provide the best possible service to our customers.”

On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one preventable healthcare-associated infection (pHAI). According to the CDC, environmental surface contamination can lead to transmission to the next patient who occupies the room or uses the same equipment; or contamination of the hands or clothing of healthcare personnel with transmission to other patients. Thorough cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces by EVS staff is a key pillar of infection prevention and control.

“We established the National Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award 15 years ago to recognize and celebrate the EVS staff such as Maria who are crucial to preventing the spread of pHAIs,” says UMF|PerfectCLEAN CEO George Clarke. “As an EVS Supervisor, Maria helps ensure her sizeable team is trained and prepared to properly clean and disinfect all perioperative areas. We are privileged to recognize the essential role she plays in helping Sodexo and Phoenix Children’s Hospital keep patients, visitors, and staff safe.”

Maria recently earned her Certification Training for Surgical Cleaning Technicians (CSCT) from the Association for the Health Care Environment (AHE). Using a train-the-trainer approach, the course sets the standard for managing pathogens and practicing innovative techniques specific to the operating room and surgical suite – intense, high-stakes environments. Her next goal is to earn her Certificate of Mastery in Infection Prevention (CMIP) through AHE later this year to further increase her knowledge of protecting patients.

As the 2023 National Hygiene Specialist Excellence Award recipient, Maria will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two, including airfare, to a location of her choice within the 48 contiguous states.