Mallory Metzger, Immunization Law Health Educator II, Oregon Immunization Program
It is hard to imagine the school immunization process without Peggy Lou Hillman. That’s because she has been there from the beginning. Soon Peggy will be retiring from the Oregon Immunization Program after nearly 50 years of working in public health. Peggy is an immunization school law and forecasting expert, resident historian, seasonal decorator, and number one advocate for our partners.
Whether or not you know Peggy, you know her work. Go outside and take a deep breath and thank Peggy for the clean air. After college, Peggy began working at the Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association where she helped institute clean air requirements and car emission testing. These policies have led to the Department of Environmental Quality car emission testing that we see today.
After you take that deep breath, walk over to a school yard and watch kids running and playing outside. These healthy kids can thank Peggy for helping create the first immunization laws for school attendance in Oregon back in 1981. As the Immunization Program Coordinator for Multnomah County, Peggy hand-wrote thousands of exclusion letters in the early years of the law.
Once you have gone for that walk, get in a car and drive with a sense of safety because all the babies being driven around are in car seats. Yep, that’s her too. While at Multnomah County, Peggy started the car seat loan program, which ensured all families regardless of income could protect their babies.
When asking Peggy about her career in public health she responded, “I fell into a career that I didn’t even know existed and it has given to me as much I have given to it.” You have given to us more than we can fathom. On behalf of the Oregon Immunization Program and all those living and breathing in Oregon, thank you Peggy!