GIPN began through the dedicated, hard work of a group of committed infection control professionals to whom we owe a tremendous debt. They are the true "pioneers" of our profession in Georgia and the southeast. Initially when infection control was becoming a separate professional discipline, there were few resources. APIC was just beginning at that time, but focused on acute care hospitals, and participation was limited to the paid members. APIC was also too expensive for many facilities; over 50% of the hospitals in Georgia were 100 beds or less and it was not feasible to join. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta began a training program listed as 1200G. This was an intense two-week training program that introduced us to a whole new world in healthcare. There were no textbooks, no journals, no articles… our peers were our resources. As a result, the new infection control professionals in the larger cities in the state began to meet on a regular basis for networking and support.
At the annual meeting in Macon in 1980, it was recommended that we investigate developing a statewide infection control professional organization that would be available throughout Georgia, not just the larger cities. It would include and encourage all different disciplines of infection control. At that meeting, a core group was appointed. Representatives from each health district in the State served on the steering committee, along with a representative from State Epidemiology, and representative from education and long term care. The structure of the organization was developed, the by-laws were written, and in September 1981 in Savannah, a formal presentation and recommendation for the establishment of the Georgia Infection Prevention Network was voted on and approved.
Over the past couple of decades the Georgia Infection Prevention Network has grown, changed and continues to evolve - just as healthcare does. But the one thing that has been a constant is its devotion to providing resources for education to all disciplines of infection control in the state of Georgia. Even as the organization evolves, we have never forgotten the fact that our greatest resources and support is still each other.