Flu Fighter: Dr. Bob Rauner
Meet Dr. Bob Rauner, the president of Partnership for a Healthy Lincolnexternal icon, a local non-profit whose mission is to improve the health of communities, thousands of people at a time. He earned a medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a master’s degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied how to systematically improve the health of Nebraskans. Dr. Rauner also works as the chief medical officer of a Nebraska accountable care organization that includes 22 primary clinics serving three Nebraska communities. Dr. Rauner is a leader in his field and has been recognized recently by the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians for his community work. He is a strong advocate of vaccination, including flu vaccination, routine childhood vaccination, and the upcoming COVID vaccinations to keep people healthy. Prior to starting Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln, Dr. Rauner spent 15 years working as a family physician taking care of rural and underserved populations. As a founder and president, he has developed state-wide partnerships that have collectively delivered a positive impact on the health and wellness of the Lincoln community and the state of Nebraska.
Name: Bob Rauner, MD, MPH
Title: President of Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
- What role do you play in fighting flu?
Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln works at the community level providing education and awareness about the importance of getting a flu shot and where people can access flu shots in their community, focusing on people impacted by racial and ethnic disparities and social determinants of health. We partner with organizations that provide support and resources to the medically underserved in our community to increase our reach and impact.
- What is the goal of the program?
Our overall goal is to improve flu vaccination rates especially among racial and ethnic groups in our community. Our particular focus is African American/Black and Latinx communities.
- How does the program seek to address flu and health disparities?
We have implemented a “Trusted Voices” campaignexternal icon that highlights recognizable “leaders” among our Black and Latinx communities to spread the word about the importance of flu vaccinations and where to access flu vaccinations. Each champion shares their personal reason why they get a flu vaccination, which resonates with their peers. We are promoting this campaign at cultural centers, faith-based communities and safety-net clinics as well as utilizing digital, print, and social media. We are also assisting our clinics with special targeted outreach to their patients who have not received a flu vaccination.
- Why is it important to fight flu in your program’s community?
Dispelling myths and educating about the importance of flu vaccinations can save lives and help to keep all people in our community healthy.
- What successes have been realized through the program?
We have had tremendous success in identifying community flu champions and having them spread flu vaccination messages among their peer groups. In addition, we have facilitated barrier reduction strategies by assisting the local safety net clinics in offering after-hours and off-hours flu vaccination clinics. These clinics provide more accessible options to receive a vaccination and have provided over 1,000 vaccinations in their off-hour clinics in the course of a month.