by Katherine McGuiness, MPH, MSW
Earlier this year, Immunize Oregon, the statewide, lifespan immunization coalition, put out a call for nominations to honor immunization champions in five categories. We were thrilled to receive so many nominations highlighting the fantastic work of so many people, clinics, and organizations around the state. Winners were honored at the Oregon Flu Summit on September 25th.
Individual Immunization Leadership
An individual, who has demonstrated a commitment to increasing individual or community immunization levels through innovative approaches.
Winner: Wendy Jackson, Clinical Nurse Manager at Central Oregon Pediatric Associates (COPA)
Wendy Jackson has been instrumental in leading COPA through multiple immunization projects, specifically in relation to ALERT IIS and influenza vaccine. She led a project to report the organization’s administered pediatric immunizations and histories to ALERT IIS, and to facilitate Real Time Interface between the organization’s EHR and ALERT IIS. Ms. Jackson has also worked to improve pediatric influenza vaccination rates in Central Oregon, by streamlining internal processes, workflows and resources so that COPA can provide better flu vaccine access and availability to their patients. COPA’s flu shots administered rates has improved 40% between 2008-2012. She has also made great strides in tackling employee flu vaccination rates. Last year 97% of COPA’s employees were vaccinated for the flu.
Communication and Promotion
An organization that leverages resources to deliver immunization messages through the use of no-cost, limited budget, or media partnership opportunities (i.e. public service announcements, opinion/editorial pieces or series of news articles, newsletters, columns, notice boards, community calendars, websites, social media, or messages included with regular mailings).
Winner: Becky Sherman, Ashland Immunization Team
As chair of the Ashland Immunization Team, Becky has worked to determine the best way to communicate immunization messages to the parents of Ashland, an area with extremely low children’s immunization rates. She has partnered with the Oregon Health Authority, local public health, local physicians, researchers, parents and others to explore creative ways to reach out to the Ashland community in a proactive but sensitive manner. Understanding the area and the concerns of the parents in Ashland, she has worked to create a website, brochures, and toolkits that are culturally specific to her community.
Local Public Health Partner
A local health department, immunization coalition, school nurse, school-based health center, tribal health clinic, community health center, rural health center or migrant health center that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to increasing immunization access and awareness in their community through the use of culturally responsive communications.
Winner: Kelly Jensen/Malheur County Health Department
As tough times have hit Oregon communities, and local health departments have struggled to keep their doors open, Malheur County has managed to improve and diversify their immunization program. Kelly Jensen, Malheur County Health Department’s Immunization coordinator has become an essential immunization resource in her community, pulling it together to improve immunization services in that region. In 2012, she formed the Treasure Valley Immunization Coalition, comprised of healthcare providers, the local hospital, pharmacies, pharmaceutical representatives and the health department, working towards training and improved immunization infrastructure.
A collaboration of two or more organizations to successfully promote immunization activities.
Winner: OCHIN and its Clinic Users
OCHIN and its clinic users have been invaluable partners to ALERT IIS since 2006. When ALERT converted to its new system in 2010, OCHIN was the first data exchange partner to begin submitting batch electronic data to the new registry. OCHIN has been working on continuous improvement in regards to ALERT IIS use. None of the technical advances could have taken place without the knowledgeable contributions of OCHIN clinic users. Currently, 122 clinics send data to ALERT IIS via OCHIN’s Epic interface. They have their eyes on data quality and completeness day in and day out, working collaboratively with both OCHIN and the ALERT IIS team to ensure data integrity and high performance.
Policy Champion (new category)*
An individual or organization that champions policy change that improves immunization infrastructure and/or public health in relation to vaccine preventable disease.
Winner: Jay Rosenbloom, Pediatrician
Jay Rosenbloom’s passion is working on how best to address vaccine hesitant parents and communities. Realizing how high Oregon’s exemption rate was for school children, he decided to act. He partnered with the Oregon Pediatric Society (OPS) to make sure parents had a better understanding of the importance of immunizations before exempting their children from vaccines for school. Senate Bill 132A, championed by Dr. Rosenbloom and OPS passed this legislative session, and as of March 1, 2014 will require informed consent for parents for parents before they exempt their children from vaccines, either from a medical provider or online education.
Recognizes an individual who has served as a “visionary” to Immunize Oregon. A candidate must have demonstrated: Focused leadership during times of change through a keen understanding of the importance of immunizations in preventing disease, and achieving local, state, national and global health; A history of organizing, educating, and inspiring colleagues and community partners to achieve strategic immunization goals; Commitments to health equity and the collaborative leadership process.
Winner: Lorraine Duncan, Oregon Immunization Program
Lorraine Duncan has managed the Oregon Immunization Program (OIP) for 33 years, working to strengthen immunization services, in both private and public settings. Under Lorraine’s tenure, OIP grew from 5 to over 60 employees, developed an immunization registry, became part of the VFC program, started coalitions and advisory groups, worked to eliminate racial/ethnic immunization health disparities, and made partnerships a theme throughout every part of the program. Lorraine strengthened current law that ensured children in schools and childcare centers were vaccinated, which has led to higher immunization rates, and continuing partnerships at the state and local levels. The Oregon Immunization Program is so thankful for her service, and we will miss her as her new journey of retirement begins.
* Immunize Oregon did not put out a call for nominations for this award category this year, but after receiving a nomination for this individual in another category, we realized this was an awards category we needed.