Equity, diversity and inclusion and its role in our Governance

During 2019, the Healthcare Infection Society worked with the NCVO to review its Governance structure. This review highlighted a number of areas where changes could be made to continue to improve the Trustees' understanding of their roles, delivery of organisational purpose, exercising effective control, and how they could work effectively as individuals and a team.

In early 2020, the Trustees of the Society continued this review.  In recognition of the Society's 40th anniversary, they looked back over the last 40 years and considered the charity's purpose and the changing shape of infection prevention and control in healthcare settings.  Trustees acknowledged that the professional composition of the Council of Trustees had changed significantly in recent years, and now included Trainees, Consultants, a Clinical Scientist, an Infection Control Nurse and a lay member. 

Developing an ED&I strategy

In March 2021 Trustees agreed that it was time to further review how the Society can ensure it welcomes every member working in infection prevention and control in healthcare settings to have the opportunity to contribute to the goals of the Society as a Trustee or Committee member. To this end, a new committee - the ED&I Focus Group (ED&IFG) was formed in order to develop an ED&I strategy for the Society.  In November 2021, Trustees approved five ED&I strategic objectives proposed by the ED&IFG, and implementation began immediately with the collection of ED&I data from the HIS membership:

Our five ED&I objectives

Objective 1: Understand diversity within the IPC community and review key diversity information in relation to our volunteers (Council/Committees/Working Parties, Editors), members and staff across all HIS activities - including membership recruitment and retention, event speakers and attendees, grant applicants and journal editors.

Objective 2: To enact our responsibility to embed an understanding and promotion of ED&I amongst all volunteers and staff 

Objective 3: Ensure there is representation of key communities throughout volunteer and staff teams and throughout all of our activities.

Objective 4: Ensure communications reflect our commitment to ED&I

Objective 5: Ensure ED&I is a key part of strategic decisions and led by Council


Timeline: Equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives

  • 1980s | Travel grants – the Society has awarded travel grants to support members in an early career or trainee post to present their research at a scientific conference or meeting

HIS offers travel grants and bursaries to support delegates who may have difficulty obtaining funding to attend FIS and HIS International Conferences, and also offers travel grants to support members presenting at non HIS conferences.

  • 2017 | Creation of the Council Lay Trustee role 
  • 2018/2019 | the Society’s membership categories and criteria were broadened to be open to all those currently working in infection prevention and control or with an interest in healthcare associated infections. 
  • 2019 | Membership fees were reduced for members in low and middle income countries.
  • 2019 | launched a Gold Open Access journal Infection Prevention in Practice with low article processing charges (APC) to increase accessibility for clinicians who do not receive research funding.  In addition, members from low and middle income countries are eligible to apply for an APC waiver.
  • 2019 | composition of all committees reviewed to ensure representation from across the membership
  • 2020 | Mike Emmerson International Fellowship launched and open to the healthcare professionals from low-income countries to undertake the clinical observership at a hospital or community setting in the UK or republic of Ireland.
  • 2020 | a new membership category - Associate Trainee Membership - launched in 2020 specifically open to undergraduate medical students and others in pre-specialty training.
  • 2021 | Dr Manjula Meda appointed as Honorary Membership Secretary and Chair of a new ED&I Focus Group
  • 2021 | HIS Council approve ED&I strategic objectives proposed by ED&I Focus Group
  • 2021 | ED&I data begins to be collected from the HIS membership
  • 2022 | ED&I standing item on all agendas
  • 2022 | ED&I blog published 
  • 2023 | ED&I objectives and progress are the focus of HIS Council away day in March
  • 2023 | HIS Journals publish ED&I statements