Minnesota native excels as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ of Allina Health

[Allina Health Newsroom, October 04, 2023] Asha Elgonda, 29, is a Minnesota native, first generation American and a dedicated employee of Allina Health. She works as an infectious preventionist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and serves on our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) employee resource group (ERG).


As an infection preventionist, it is her responsibility to prevent, slow or stop the spread of infection within the hospital. She makes sure work areas are appropriately cleaned, materials aren’t expired and patients are properly isolated, if needed. Her life-saving contributions help keep everyone who enters Abbott Northwestern Hospital protected from new infections.

“Most people, especially with the pandemic, think about COVID-19, but there are other infectious diseases. We work to reduce the spread of respiratory infections, surgical site infections and other healthcare related infections,” Elgonda explained.

This career wasn’t on Elgonda’s radar when she began her public health graduate program at the University of Minnesota. She knew she wanted to work in health care, but not necessarily in a role that involved direct patient care. When the graduate school paired her with a mentor who happened to be an infection prevention manager at Allina Health, Elgonda began to learn more about a variety of non-clinical health care careers. As her mentor introduced her to infection prevention, she also encouraged her to interview people working in a variety of roles in a health system setting.

“All of those interviews and experiences gave me the background and information I needed to take the step into this career because there really isn’t a straight path here,” Elgonda said.

Now, Elgonda can be described as the Sherlock Holmes of infectious disease at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

“My first month here I started feeling like a detective – kind of digging through trying to find the source of infection for different cases,” Elgonda said.

Elgonda also joined the BIPOC ERG during her first few months at Allina Health. She became the membership lead, recruiting new members, coordinating volunteer opportunities and keeping teams updated on work the BIPOC ERG was engaged in.

“It’s nice to see that the ERGs are being promoted in the organization, and it is a privilege. I know other organizations don’t even have that,” Elgonda said. “Obviously, I know a lot more people have been talking about DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), but actually taking action and making sure that there is an open and inclusive environment, is a completely different story.”

Elgonda’s parents are from India, and she identifies as a young woman of color. One of her goals is to make sure other young women see all the career options available to them, including a career as an infection preventionist.

Posted on October 04, 2023 in prevention

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