Film fesitval raises awareness about hand hygiene

A film about three women with a no-nonsense approach to making sure people practice proper hand hygiene is the big winner at Rouge Valley Health System’s (RVHS) inaugural Hands Up Film Festival (HUFF).

The award for the HUFF 2011 Best Film went to Women In Black: Protecting the universe…one hand at a time, produced by and starring: Natalie Bansavatar, surgical program assistant, RVHS; Michelle Dakin, business continuity and emergency preparedness lead, RVHS; and Akilah Dressekie, senior communications specialist, RVHS. All three of the film’s stars and creators were on hand to receive the Best Film trophy at the hospital’s Oct. 6 Town Hall meeting. “We had a lot of fun producing this film, and we’re very excited to have won. We’re especially proud to help spread the message about the importance of practicing proper hand hygiene,” says Bansavatar.

RVHS employees, doctors and the general public were invited to take part in deciding the festival winner. HUFF featured 10 one-minute-long films promoting hand hygiene, which were all produced by and starred Rouge Valley staff, physicians and volunteers. From Sept. 9 to 26, the films were made available for viewing and online voting on the RVHS website, its YouTube channel and on-site at both Rouge Valley hospital campuses. The film that received the most number of votes was selected as the festival winner. This film also got two thumbs up from the hospital’s own infection prevention and control team for demonstrating that everyone has a role to play in practicing proper hand hygiene.

HUFF goes viral

Rouge Valley’s first-ever film festival was well received by staff and the public. In total, the 10 films had more than 11,000 online views. There was also more than 3,000 online votes.

One HUFF film in particular, HUFF Has Heart — which featured a parody of the Old Spice guy from TV commercials — truly went viral with more than 4,000 views on its own. This was spurred by local and national media coverage of the one-minute-long film by the cardiac rehab team and the film’s star, Miguel Ruiz, who is an exercise therapist at RVHS.

“We are happy for the positive attention our film festival received. Staff put a lot of work and creativity into their films, so it is very rewarding that their efforts have been so widely acknowledged,” says Paula Raggiunti, RVHS director of infection prevention and control, and head of the HUFF planning committee. “We thank all of our HUFF participants and everyone who was involved in the success of the festival.”

“The Hands Up Film Festival has truly been a win-win situation for everyone. We have been able to demonstrate the high importance that Rouge Valley puts on hand hygiene, a practice that is everybody’s responsibility — staff, doctors, patients and visitors alike. And we have been able to do all of this by building on service excellence and team engagement — two of the hospital’s strategic dimensions,” says RVHS President and Chief Executive Officer Rik Ganderton.
All HUFF films can be viewed online at