Local 9544 Member Takes Infection Control Expertise to CDC with New Appointment

Lisa Baum got her start in the labor movement as a secretary at New York University in the 1990s. Now a proud member of USW Local 9544 and nationally recognized subject matter expert on occupational risk management for health care workers, Baum's passion for the labor movement began as she and her coworkers stood up to a hostile employer in an industry marked by high turnover and low wages.

Even as Baum worked at the university to obtain an expense-free degree in an unrelated field, her experience as a rank-and-file member left her determined to pave a career in the labor movement instead.

Today, Baum is an Occupational Health and Safety Representative for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), a union of 42,000 front-line nurses advocating for safe staffing, a voice on the job, and health care for all. The staff at NYSNA are members of USW Local 9544.

Now, Baum begins her next chapter in her storied 25-year occupational health and safety career as she joins the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC). As a member of the committee, Baum will advise the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on infection control practices in health care.

Baum will become the first HICPAC member representing frontline health care workers. HICPAC makes critical infection control decisions that can impact worker health and safety, making it especially crucial that frontline workers have a voice on the committee.

“What’s significant with this appointment is the recognition that frontline workers have something important to say about infection control," said Baum. "This is about getting a seat at the table for the people who do this work and know firsthand what’s best for health care workers and patients."

You can read more about HICPAC here.

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