Kerry Cassens brings extensive experience to Payson Regional Medical Center as its director of infection control and employee health.
She has worked for 22 years in the field of occupational health and safety. Working in industry with Honeywell; in health care with Signa; and in government with the City of Chandler.
"Occupational health and safety is prevention, staff education and intervention following an event; making sure the employee has the assistance and proper level of care they need," she explained.
She added it also involved assisting, organizing, developing and testing emergency preparedness and disaster response plans.
"Infection control focuses on preventing health care acquired infections," Cassens said.
This is accomplished through active surveillance and investigation of all positive cultures and surgical site infections, she explained.
The work involves educating patients, staff and visitors about such things as proper hand washing and other appropriate infection control measures.
"I work closely with the Division of Health and Community Services of Gila County to identify and intervene whenever trends or outbreaks in infectious diseases are observed," Cassens said.
Cassens holds two masters' degrees, one in nursing from Arizona State University and another in public health from the University of Arizona, both with a focus on community health. She is also board certified in occupational health and safety.
Her work does not leave her much free time, but when she can, she and her husband take long weekends to go camping. She also enjoys sewing and reading and she plays the flute for Mount Cross Lutheran Church's contemporary service.
"I grew up in a small, rural town, so after living in the Valley I really appreciate returning to a small town," Cassens said.