Infection prevention and control is one of the most challenging issues facing health care organizations from a quality, safety, and financial perspective. Spurred by growing pressure from regulators, payers, accreditors, and the public, health care organizations are seeking better strategies to fight this worldwide crisis. Proactive risk reduction serves as the foundation for this effort. Infection is an inherent threat in the delivery of health care services and requires an ongoing risk-based approach. The recent global spread of the H1N1 virus demonstrates how risks that may seem under control may suddenly change and require new direction for the infection prevention and control program. Although infection preventionists (IPs) have long assessed risk related to populations served, services provided, surveillance data, outbreaks, and lapses in desired practices, accreditation standards require that assessing risk and setting goals should be a purposeful and systematic process to produce an effective infection prevention and control program.