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The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS)

May 25, 2021

It may seem premature to be worrying about the next pandemic while we are still knee-deep in the current one. However, the steps required to end the COVID-19 crisis, if executed properly, will prepare us for future pandemics.

Today we’re talking with Patty Olinger, Executive Director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC). GBAC is a division of the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) that helps organizations and businesses prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats, biohazard situations, and real-time crises. Their accreditation program, GBAC Star, is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation and is being used by organizations around the world to ensure a safe re-opening. This accreditation demonstrates these organizations’ commitment to their customers' safety and to doing their part to end the COVID-19 pandemic. It also signals their desire to cement these best practices in their policies, procedures, and culture going forward. It is a commitment to doing everything they can to ensure they are ready next time.

In this episode, we discuss Patty’s personal path to GBAC and explore how her experiences can be instructive for all of us as we find our way out of this pandemic and prepare for the future. Her story begins with personal experiences and “risk assessments” involving the health of her loved ones, invokes lessons learned from protecting the clinicians who treated the first-ever Ebola patient in the U.S., and builds on the observations that lead her to declare in January 2020, "A pandemic is coming, and we are not ready". A few weeks later she would learn how right she was, and that all her plans for GBAC would need to change.

This is a fascinating conversation with one of TIPS most important partners. We cover everything discussed above, plus:


  • TIPS Science to Market
  • Unintended consequences of “Patient-centered” thinking.
  • Risk assessments.
  • How to make recommendations that do not align with the existing guidance.
  • The importance of demonstration and repetition when it comes to establishing new habits and incorporating best practices into your culture.
  • How to market “safety”.
  • How to ensure we are better prepared for the next pandemic


It is truly remarkable what Patty and her team at GBAC have been able to accomplish in the past year. There is something here for everyone in the TIPS audience ad we are thrilled to bring Patty’s story to you today!


Patricia (Patty) Olinger, JM, RBP

Certified Forensic Operator®, Certified Bio-Forensic Restoration Specialist®

Patty Olinger is the Executive Director for GBAC. Prior to joining GBAC, Olinger was an Assistant Vice President in the Office of Research Administration and the Executive Director of the Environmental, Health and Safety Office (EHSO) at Emory University. During Olinger’s 13-year tenure, EHSO had university-wide responsibility for all aspects of Environmental, Health and Safety support, including EHS compliance support to Emory Healthcare. This included biosafety support to the Emory Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU), which cared for four Ebola patients in 2014.



The Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC) helps organizations and businesses prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats, and biohazard situations and real-time crises. We offer education, training, certification, response management, and crisis consulting for situations where environments require a much higher level of cleaning, disinfection, and restoration. GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. Explore becoming a member of ISSA to access discounts to GBAC programs and services.


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