Department of Infection Prevention

Infection Prevention Personnel

Dr. Talbot graduated from Duke University in 1992 and from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1996.  Following training in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins, he returned to Vanderbilt to complete a fellowship in Infectious Diseases.  He joined the faculty in July 2003, and his primary research focus involves the prevention of nosocomial infections and healthcare worker vaccination.  Research activities have focused on occupational infection control, including the use of healthcare personnel (HCP) immunization as a means to reduce patient and HCP morbidity, secondary transmission from vaccinations, and management of HCP exposed to contagious infectious diseases.  He became the Chief Hospital Epidemiologist at VUMC in July 2006.  He has served as a member of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Board of Trustees, and in 2005 and 2010 he chaired the SHEA Task Force on Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Workers. He is currently a member of the CDC's Hospital Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and the editorial board of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Dr. Wilson graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1982 and from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1987.  He completed residency training in Pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and fellowship training in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.  He joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1996.  As the hospital epidemiologist for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, he works closely with the rest of the VUMC Infection Control team in prevention and control of nosocomial infections in pediatric patients.
William Schaffner, MD -- Dr. William Schaffner is Professor of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. After graduation from Yale in 1957, he attended the University of Freiburg, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College in 1962, and did his internship, residency training and a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt. He then fulfilled his selective service obligation in the U.S. Public Health Service as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for two years (1966-1968). He returned to Vanderbilt after that tour of duty, joined the faculty and established the beginning of a 30-year close collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health.
      Dr. Schaffner is a member of numerous professional societies and has been elected to leadership positions in several. He has served as the President of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) in 1983. He recently completed a term on the elected Council of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He has written over 300 scientific articles and textbook chapters. He is a consultant in public health policy and communicable disease control for numerous national and local institutions, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Tennessee Department of Health, the American Hospital Association, and the American College of Physicians, among others.  He served as Hospital Epidemiologist at Vanderbilt for over 35 years, where under his direction, the Department became a major influence in the prevention of nosocomial infections at Vanderbilt.  In 2006, he swapped roles with his mentee, Dr. Talbot, and became the Associate Hospital Epidemiologist.

Shaefer Spires, MD -- Dr. Spires graduated from the University of Georgia in 2003 and Mercer University School of Medicine in 2009.  He completed residency training in Internal Medicine and fellowship training in Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University.   He joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2014. He currently serves as the Hospital Epidemiologist at Williamson Medical Center and at the Tennessee Valley VA Healthcare System.  His primary research interests are focused on the prevention of outpatient central line-associated bloodstream infections, antimicrobial stewardship and healthcare-associated infection prevention.
George Nelson, MD -- Dr. Nelson graduated from Princeton University in 2002 and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in 2006.  He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University and then served as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.  He then completed infectious diseases fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  George joined the faculty ay Vanderbilt in 2014. He currently serves as the Associate Hospital Epidemiologist for VUMC and Associate Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship at Vanderbilt.  His primary reserach intersted focuses on the prevention of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, antimicrobial stewardship, and healthcare-associated infection prevention.
Bryan Harris, MD MPH -- Dr. Harris graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2009.  He completed internal medicine residency, chief residency, and infectious diseases fellowship at Vanderbilt.  He received his MPH during his ID fellowship and joined the faculty in 2016.  He currently serves as an Associate Hospital Epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Hospital and as the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship for the Tennessee Valley VA Healthcare System.  His research interests are healthcare-associated infection prevention and health policy. 

Vicki Brinsko graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1976 and Belmont University in 1978.  She has experience in critical care nursing and was the occupational health nurse for Exxon Corporation.  She began her career in Infection Control at St Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey in 1982 and was in the original cohort of ICPs who took the 1983 certification exam in New York City. She returned to Nashville and joined the Infection Control staff at Vanderbilt in 1986. She has published articles, written chapters for nursing textbooks, and written articles for the lay press urging parents to continue to vaccinate their children. Her current focus is on surgical site infections and perioperative/operative infection control issues.  She teaches the introductory course in infection control for Belmont University Nursing School.  She is a former member of the CDC's Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC).  She was recognized as one of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) Heroes of Infection Prevention in 2007. In 2016, she was recognized in the inaugural group of Fellows of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemioology (FAPIC).  
Kathie Wilkerson, RN CIC --
Kathie Wilkerson graduated from Ball State University with a BSN.  She came to Vanderbilt in 1978, working in a Neurosurgery and Orthopedics unit.  After positions in Intravenous Therapy and Home Infusion Pharmacy, she joined the Infection Prevention team in 1992.  She has been Certified in Infection Control since 1995.  Her current areas of focus include the central line- associated bloodstream infection reduction program in ICUs throughout the medical center and surveillance activities in the Medical Intensive Care Unit and various general care units.  
Tracy Louis, RN CIC --
Tracy Louis received her BSN from the University of Tennessee in 1992 and her MSN in Health Systems Management from Vanderbilt School of Nursing in 2003. After working for a year on the pediatric surgical floor of Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Tracy moved to Orlando Florida and worked as a nurse in a Pediatric Special Care Unit. She returned to Vanderbilt in 1995 and worked in the Pediatric Critical Care Unit until she joined the Infection Control team in March of 2004 and currently serves as the outpatient infection preventionist for VUMC.  Tracy was named as one of 2009's Who's Who in Infection Prevention by Infection Control Today magazine.  
Jan Szychowski, RN CIC --
Jan Szychowski attended Flower Hospital School of Nursing in Toledo, Ohio in 1973 and received a BSN from Murray State University in 2000. She has had the opportunity to work in several areas of nursing including medical/surgical, Emergency room, ICU, obstetrics, and Same Day Surgery. She has been involved in Infection Prevention for 12 years, becoming certified in 1999. Before starting at Vanderbilt in 2004, she had been active in West KY APIC serving on the nominating committee, as President-Elect and as President.
Jackie Smith, RN CIC -- Jackie graduated from St. Xavier College in Chicago with a BSN and completed her MSN degree in 2009.  After working for a year on a pediatric acute care unit in Chicago, Jackie moved to Nashville.  She started her career at Vanderbilt in 1985 where she worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  During her 24 years in the PCCU, she was a bedside nurse, assistant manager, and nurse educator.  Jackie joined the Department of Infection Prevention in 2009 as the IP for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Tanya Boswell, RN MSN CIC —
Tanya received her BSN from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. After working for 3 years in psychiatric nursing, she began working in Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt inpatient medical/surgical units. Tanya completed her MSN degree in 1993 from Vanderbilt University. Primarily, Tanya has worked in the pediatric critical care unit; she called the PCCU “home” for fifteen years. Her roles in the PCCU included bedside nurse, nurse educator, and clinical nurse specialist. In addition to working at Vanderbilt, she works part time as adjunct faculty for a local school of nursing. Tanya joined the Infection Prevention team in the spring of 2010 as the second IP for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Dana Johnson, RN MSN - Dana earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in 1984 and her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Union University in 2013.  She has 30 years of nursing experience of which 19 were with case management.  Her professional portfolio consists of multilevel nursing leadership roles in which she attributes outcome success to ther role as nursing EBP innovator and liaison.  She enjoyes balancing her professional and personal life by spending quality time traveling, cooking, and entertaining with her husband, two children, and loyal Labrador, Abby.  Dana joined the Infection Prevention team in 2014 with a primary focus on adult inpatient infection prevention.
Mary DeVault, RN MSN -- Mary recieved her BSN from East Tennessee University in 2003 and her MSN in Nursing Administration from East Tennessee State University in 2013.  Mary has worked in several areas of nursing including medical/surgical, ICU, long term care and outpatient surgical clinics.  Mary started her career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2008 in the Surgical Outpatient Clinics.  She joined the Department of Infection Prevention in 2014 with a focus on adult inpatient surgical units. 
Danett Guy, MSN RN -- Danett received her BSN from the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, NY.  She has been a nurse for over 20 years and has worked in several different areas.  She completed her MSN in 2014 from Walden University with a concentration in Leadership and Management.  Danett has worked at Vanderbilt University Medical Center since 2006.  She worked as a nurse coordinator for patient with cystic fibrosis for over seven years.  Danett joined the Infection Prevention team in 2014 with a focus on inpatient adult infection prevention.
Yajun Andrew Yi, PhD Msc:  Dr. Yi graduated from University Manitoba in 1997 (Medical Microbiology) and Loyola University Chicago (Computer Science) in 2001.  He completed postdoctoral training in immunology at Northwestern University and then served as a bioinformatics scientist at Vanderbilt in 2001.  His primary research focus involved functional genomics and high-throughput data analysis.  He currently serves as a Business Intelligence Developer working on MDRO infection prevention, antibiotic stewardship, and HAI prevention. 
Jim Rickwa:  Jim received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Boise State University in 1996.  He came to Vanderbilt in 2016 after 19 years in the technology sector as a business data and financial analyst with an emphasis on program and process improvement. He now serves as a Business Intelligence Developer focused exclusively on the Vanderbilt Infection Prevention Program.
Jonelle Williams RN
Jonelle graduated from a nursing school in Birmingham associated with University of Alabama in 1971. She continued to take courses in health related sciences at UAB, UAH, and TSU.  She focused on the care of critical cardiac patients through 1978 when she moved to Nashville and worked at St. Thomas in the ICU’s.  Along with that, she has enjoyed supervising in a nursing home and doing telephone triage after MD office hours to educate and direct clients as to their optimal medical care.  She worked in the perioperative area to develop and expand that department to centralize anesthesia preop education with lab, xray, EKG and records from the PCP.  She graduated from Middle TN School of Anesthesia in 1986 as a nurse anesthetist and has worked in that field until 2010 when she joined the Infection Prevention Team where she reviews and abstracts data with the focus on SSIs.
LaKita Buchanan:  LaKita graduated from Tennessee State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Social Work.  She has begun coursework for the Master degree program at Trevecca Nazarene University.  LaKita started working at Vanderbilt in January 2010, beginning with the Human Resource Department and later in Otolaryngology as an Office Assistant IV then Interim Program Coordinator for Cochlear Implants and most recently assisting the Communication team with special events.  She joined the Infection Prevention team in April 2015 and serves as the Department's Program Coordinator.


Infection Prevention Committees

The VUMC Infection Prevention Regulatory Subcommittee and Infection Prevention Executive Committees are comprised of representatives from specialty areas throughout the hospital.  The committees meet bimonthly to evaluate policies, review current infection prevention programs and HAI prevention preformance, and discuss current infection prevention concerns.

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