Project Management and Evaluation for International Standards Organization (ISO) Accreditation of CDC Laboratories

The Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Safety and Science (OADLSS) was established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a provider of agency-level oversight of safety and quality for all CDC laboratories. To ensure the highest level of safety and standards, the CDC sought external accreditation to the International Standards Organization (ISO) in five infectious disease laboratories.  As a proven source of technical assistance and operational support, Avram lends its experience and expertise in support of developing and ensuring internationally recognized standards of quality assurance.

This quality assurance initiative is managed by Avram on behalf of the CDC. Led by Barbara Berglund, Director, Avram Public Health Division. This initiative highlights Avram Corporation’s effective project management, technical support and program evaluation.

Project Management

Avram provides consultation and overarching support for activities and initiatives related to the external accreditation of CDC laboratories, including project management support:

Project planning and monitoring: Tracking all tasks and activities relating to the external accreditation process for targeted pilot CDC laboratories. These activities include assessments at various stages of implementation, corrective actions based on the assessment outcomes and the maintenance of ISO accreditation post-achievement of this status

Technical Support: Avram is supporting the CDC external accreditation process with subject matter expertise in ISO/IEC 17025 and other ISO standards and quality management systems such as CLIA. Avram deliverables on this project include the development of standard operating procedures for CDC laboratories, maintaining all document inventory associated with the external accreditation process, and technical consultations for the pilot laboratory facilities, as well as the remaining CDC laboratory branches.

Program Evaluation: As part of the program management support executed by Avram, best practices for ISO standards accreditation are being documented. This includes current state/future state assessments of quality management systems for each laboratory branch. In addition, deliverables being provided by Avram include: Evaluations of the project pilot process, needs assessments and documentation and strategic planning support and program reviews

Polio Eradication Branch,
Global Immunization Division Field Support Officers

“The eradication of polio is an important priority for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are closer than we have ever been to eradicating polio and it is critical that we take advantage of this opportunity.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The eradication of diseases such as polio require a committed network of area specialists working in conjunction with agencies such as the CDC, private contractors and local government providers in affected regions. Coordinating these efforts requires effective project management; and Avram has established itself as a reliable and effective resource for this oversight.

In order to stem the continued proliferation of polio in endemic countries, the Disease Eradication and Elimination Branch (DEEB) within the Global Immunization Division (GID) of the CDC employed the services of Avram to support its global polio eradication efforts.

In conjunction with multiple entities, Avram is also coordinating data collection activities in operational research, and participating in the development and implementation of field projects addressing outbreak investigation and vaccination campaigns. With Avram providing the requisite program management expertise, the fight to eradicate polio worldwide has taken another step forward.

In support of the activities of the polio eradication team within the DEEB, Avram is providing technical assistance and operational support. Avram deploys long-term field support and experienced technical advice for activities related to the eradication of polio within endemic countries. By providing technical oversight of data collection activities in operational research, and analyzing epidemiologic data as needed, Avram’s expertise is being deployed in crucial areas of technical assistance for this effort.

Avram’s support of polio eradication also includes participation in the development and implementation of field project plans addressing data quality, surveillance, outbreak investigation and vaccination campaigns. Short term training for epidemiologists, program managers, laboratory technicians and data managers represent additional support services executed by Avram in the effort to eradicate polio.

Under the supervision of the CDC, Avram provides technical assistance and operational support to project partners such as WHO/UNICEF to further the polio eradication initiatives such as routine immunizations, data quality and surveillance of new vaccines. Along with supporting these partner entities, Avram’s also participates in the training and field supervision of National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP), as well as maintaining effective working relationships with international Ministry of Health officials.

HIV Prevention Support and Technical Assistance

Avram has employed its network of health practitioners and subject area experts to support The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its work with the Ministry of Health of the Dominican Republic and civil society to strengthen public health in the country. Through training and education, Avram is assisting in the development and implementation of awareness and instructional initiatives to prevent new infections and offer support for the dissemination of communication of the behavior change campaign: “Get Tested for HIV and Syphilis: It Is No Longer Just About You.” Avram also facilitates the implementation of counseling models based on actual evidence in reducing staff risk to HIV and other STIs, and providing couples counseling to pregnant women and their sexual partners.
Through increasing knowledge of basic counseling, testing strategies and risk reduction for health care personnel at public health centers, Avram utilizes its global health expertise ensure that these medical and health professionals are fully equipped to address HIV and STI mitigation in a safe and effective manner.
Another imperative in the Dominican Republic is the training of counselors and mental health care practitioners on evidence-based Intervention (EBI). Avram’s training and education initiatives fosters increased knowledge and skills of counselors at public health centers in risk reduction interventions as well as facilitating an environment optimized to reduce the number of new HIV/STI cases among pregnant women.
Understanding that reducing the proliferation of HIV/AIDS within the Dominican Republic requires ongoing training for HIV/AIDS counselors on how to execute effective couples counseling and testing strategies, Avram’s project participation has increased the knowledge-base and skills of public health counselors in risk reduction interventions for couples.
Consistent with the training and education objectives of this project, Avram has also lent its expertise in the form of behavioral consultants who work with media staff to increase their awareness and sensitivity while reporting on HIV issues. By increasing the knowledge of print and broadcast media of HIV/STI transmission and prevention issues, awareness and sensitivity are enhanced to improve coverage and reporting around HIV prevention issues.