March 12, 2013 - Chicago, IL and Saint Paul, MN – On the heels of a successful inaugural year, IAHCSMM (International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management) and 3M announce that applications are now being accepted for the second annual International Sister CSSD Educational Exchange Program. The educational program is designed to promote the global exchange of best practices in the Central Sterile Supply Departments (CSSD) of hospitals, targeting improved patient care for health care facilities worldwide.

International Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) educational exchange program designed to promote patient safety

The program will again pair three CSSD Managers from the United States with three CSSD Managers at sister facilities in either the Asia Pacific, Latin America or Central Eastern Europe/Middle East/Africa regions. The six selected ambassadors will:

  • Participate in monthly teleconferences to discuss critical issues and solutions, as well as regional best practices;
  • Travel to their sister hospital facility to engage in a week-long shadowing experience; and
  • Share what they learn within their regional and national networks.

Debra (D.J.) Branch, a registered nurse and sterile processing manager at Mother Frances Hospital and Clinic in Tyler, Texas, was selected to participate in the 2012 educational exchange. Branch was paired with Nancy Diaz, manager of sterile processing at Hospital Universitario Mayor in Bogota, Columbia.

"IAHCSMM is truly an international Association, and the chance to learn from my sister hospital and share my knowledge nailed the idea for me," said Branch. "I went to Colombia with an open mind and a hunger for knowledge. Having never visited a hospital outside the US, it was an eye-opener. I came back to the U.S. with numerous ideas for improving my own department."

One of the greatest lessons learned over the course of Branch's visit to Columbia was that, regardless of facilities' different locations, they all share some common ground. "They are the same as me," said Branch. "We have the same issues, trials and passion for the job we do."

The 2012 program ambassador pairs also included Cindy Turney Smith of St. Luke's Health System, Boise, Idaho, who was matched with Myrna Tanedo Tuya of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Lori Ferrer of Fairview Health System, Minneapolis, Minn., who was matched with Li Hualin of Buddhist Tzu-Chi General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

"All participants in our first exchange worked diligently to ensure that each experience was educational and enjoyable for both the visitor and the host department and hospital," said IAHCSMM Educational Director Natalie Lind. "It was so exciting to see them share information and strengthen their relationships. What they discovered is that we are more alike than different, and we all share the same problems and passion for protecting our patients through good work practices."

Program applicants must be CSSD managers and those accepted will be named one of the "2013 International Collaboration Ambassadors." Under the program, Ambassadors will participate in monthly teleconferences to discuss critical issues and solutions, as well as standards in their regions. Although the program designates a lead individual in each CSSD, entire departments may take advantage of the program by participating in the monthly teleconferences and best practice sharing.

Beyond sharing best practices, participants build personal connections and share their dedication to patient safety and the Sterile Processing profession.

"At 3M, we understand that education is central to improving patient safety," said Silvia Perez, vice president, Global Business, 3M Infection Prevention. "Sharing strategies to help turn recommended practices and guidelines into practical processes that meet the challenges of a busy Sterile Processing department benefits everyone. This program presents an excellent opportunity to move beyond borders and spark global dialogue and collaboration."

Applications will be accepted through 12:00 midnight, Central Time, April 26, 2013, and selected participants will be notified by IAHCSMM on or before May 1, 2013. The names of the selected pairs will be announced at the IAHCSMM Annual Conference in San Diego, CA on May 6, 2013.

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The International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management is the premier association for professionals in healthcare central service/materiel management. IAHCSMM provides structural educational opportunities, professional development and a forum for information exchange to more than 19,000 members worldwide. For more information, visit

About 3M Health Care

3M Health Care offers solutions in the medical, oral care, drug delivery, food safety and health information markets. We have an unparalleled ability to connect people, insights, science and technology to think beyond today, solve problems, and make better health possible. Our culture of collaboration empowers us to discover and deliver practical, proven solutions that enable our customers to protect and improve the health of people around the world. Learn more at 3M Health Care. 3M is a leading provider of educational support for CSSD managers and employees. For more information, visit or

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