Champion Award Winners
The CDC Childhood Immunization Awards, 2019
The CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award, given jointly by the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM)external icon and CDC, honors individuals who are doing an exemplary job or going above and beyond to promote childhood immunizations in their communities.
2019 Award Winners
These are the 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champions, recognized during National Infant Immunization Week, April 27-May 4, 2019.
Click a letter and select a state to see that state’s awardee. (Note that some states did not participate this year.)
Eric Owen Tyler, MD
Pediatric Associates of Alexander City
Alexander City, AL
Getting children vaccinated on schedule is important to Dr. Eric Owen Tyler. He keeps a family picture on his desk of a beautiful little girl wearing leg braces. The girl was a relative on his father’s side, and the braces were a result of polio. Additionally, Dr. Tyler’s mother was on an iron lung from having polio. During the last year of his residency, Dr. Tyler saw nine children die from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Dr. Tyler is a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates in Alexander City, Alabama, located in the east-central part of the state. He encourages his clinical staff to take every opportunity to administer immunizations for patients who have fallen behind. Dr. Tyler is considered a mentor by patients and parents in his community. He visits local venues, such as churches and Head Start, to talk about the value of well-child visits and the importance of timely vaccinations.
In his practice, Dr. Tyler helped put in place quality improvement strategies. These include educating all staff to encourage patients to vaccinate, providing vaccines at acute and well visits, and utilizing the state’s immunization registry, ImmPRINT, to track their patients’ vaccine history. In addition to his work in improving immunization rates for children in his community, Dr. Tyler has fought for Medicaid funding.
For his dedication to having children vaccinated on time, Dr. Eric Owen Tyler is Alabama’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Doctor of Medicine Candidate, MPH
University of Arizona College of Medicine
Rombod Rahimian is scheduled to graduate with a Doctor of Medicine degree in the spring of 2020, but he has already made an impact in medicine and public health. His duties as a non-profit founder, global health worker, and medical researcher allow Mr. Rahimian to work with underserved and vulnerable children. These experiences drive him to make sure children are vaccinated against dangerous, life-threatening diseases.
Mr. Rahimian is coordinator of the University of Arizona’s TotShots/Vaccines for Children Pediatric Student Free Clinic in Tucson. The clinic provides free preventive healthcare services including vaccines, well-child checks, and sports physicals. Mr. Rahimian volunteers with the Casa Alitas Asylum and Refugee Migrant Shelter in Tucson, where he assists in the care of asylum-seekers and their children released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mr. Rahimian provides vaccinations and physicals to migrants.
Mr. Rahimian’s hard work helps bolster the free clinic vaccination system in Tucson, which serves as a major resource for uninsured patients who need immunization and provides protection for patients who are vulnerable to illness. He encourages vaccinating children while serving as an educator and advocate for preventive medicine and public health.
For his commitment to vaccinating the children of southern Arizona, including migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, Rombod Rahimian is Arizona’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Eduardo R. Ochoa, Jr., MD
Pediatrician, Community Pediatrics Medical Director
Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Little Rock, AR
Dr. Eduardo Ochoa became a strong advocate for vaccines shortly after his residency in the late 1990s. Hearing concerns about mercury in vaccines motivated Dr. Ochoa to get involved with the National Network of Immunization Information (NNii), an organization that provides up-to-date, science-based information to healthcare professionals, the media, policy makers, and the public.
Dr. Ochoa is a practicing pediatrician with Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where he helped establish a health clinic at Stephens Elementary School. Ninety percent of the students at this majority African American school participate in the National School Lunch Program. This health clinic addresses the need for immunizations in the community by offering vaccines to students and their family members, as well. Dr. Ochoa has testified before the Arkansas House of Representatives Subcommittee on Public Health, Labor and Welfare about immunization barriers and access in Arkansas.
Dr. Ochoa successfully expanded a pediatric clinic’s involvement in the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) in an underserved Hispanic area of southwest Little Rock. When he started working at the clinic, the only VFC vaccine offered was flu vaccine. Dr. Ochoa modified the VFC application to include all CDC recommended immunizations. The clinic has bilingual staff to discuss vaccines with parents in Spanish if they are more comfortable to speak in that language. Dr. Ochoa also coordinates health fairs aimed at overcoming health disparities in the Hispanic community. He carries his passion as an immunization advocate forward by teaching future generations of pediatricians as an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
For his dedication to vaccinating children in Little Rock, Dr. Eduardo Ochoa is Arkansas’ 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Clinical Care Assistant
LifeLong Medical Care
Norma Delgado is a medical assistant, so she understands the importance of preventive healthcare, including childhood vaccination for infants and toddlers. In her job, she is motivated to make sure children are caught up on the vaccines they need. Knowing there are many unvaccinated children in her community motivates Ms. Delgado to help children get the vaccines they need.
Ms. Delgado works as a clinical care assistant for LifeLong Medical Care in Richmond, California, near San Francisco. She makes sure vaccine promotion posters from CDC and Vaccines for Children (VFC) in English and Spanish are up to date for posting in exam and waiting rooms. Ms. Delgado also educates the clinic staff on changes to vaccine names and formulations.
Ms. Delgado improved immunization management by transforming paper medical charts in private office settings to an EHR system in a federally-qualified health organization. Her immunization search algorithms are used in electronic health records (EHR) across the entire LifeLong Medical Care organization, which serves over 60,000 people in 23 locations in the San Francisco Bay area. Ms. Delgado participates as a healthcare professional in a pediatric focus group that strives to improve childhood vaccination rates. In addition, she mentors and trains staffers on immunization management, including newly-hired colleagues from across the LifeLong Medical Care system.
For her dedication to vaccinating children and improving the office systems that help make that happen, Norma Delgado is California’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Steve Perry, MD
Cherry Creek Pediatrics
Dr. Steve Perry devoted his career to helping children lead healthier lives through immunization. As a pediatrician at Cherry Creek Pediatrics in Denver, Colorado, he educated parents about the importance of keeping their children vaccinated on schedule. He was motivated to share his knowledge about children’s health issues and vaccines not only in his practice, but also at the Colorado State Capitol, and even at the grocery store. Sadly, Dr. Perry died in January at age 54.
The Colorado State Senate passed a bill in 2013 aimed at making the state’s immunization process more efficient. Dr. Perry was a member of a task force which convened as a result of this legislation. He offered real-life experience and helped lead the task force to make strong and sustainable recommendations on how to increase childhood vaccination rates across the state.
Dr. Perry helped tackle one of the bigger issues discussed by the task force – the inability of smaller providers to afford vaccines in their practices. Dr. Perry led the choice of a new technology program for vaccine billing and ordering that helped alleviate the burden on small immunization providers. Dr. Perry’s dedication and hard work helped many local public health departments and other providers be able to provide vaccinations.
For his commitment to vaccinating the children of Colorado, Dr. Steve Perry is Colorado’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Heidi Steller, MSN
Perinatal Safety Nurse/Clinical Educator
Western Connecticut Health Network, Inc., Norwalk Hospital
Heidi Steller became determined to make sure all babies are immunized from vaccine-preventable diseases when she learned about the protection provided by the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine. Babies infected with hepatitis B have a 90 percent chance of developing a lifelong, chronic infection, and 1 in 4 people with chronic hepatitis B develop serious health problems such as liver damage, liver disease, and liver cancer.
Ms. Steller is a perinatal safety nurse at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut. To her, the thought of an infant leaving the hospital susceptible to potential lifelong complications from hepatitis B is unacceptable. When Ms. Steller found out that Norwalk Hospital’s hepatitis B birth dose rates were below national standards, she alerted the medical and nursing administration. A birth dose policy was developed to ensure all newborns receive that dose within 12 hours of birth. Ms. Steller educated hospital staff about the new policy and worked with administrators to ensure that updated protocols and documentation fields were added to the hospital’s new electronic medical record system.
Due in large part to Ms. Steller’s efforts, the Norwalk Hospital maternal staff is knowledgeable about the importance of timely immunizations and making strong vaccine recommendations to parents. Ms. Steller’s work makes a tremendous impact. Norwalk Hospital’s hepatitis B birth dose rates have steadily increased each year, from the 70’s and 80’s percent range, and most recently to the 90 percent range.
For her dedication to improving hepatitis B birth dose rates in southwest Connecticut, Heidi Steller is Connecticut’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
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Harry A. Lehman, III, MD
Physician in Charge
Nemours duPont Pediatrics (Nemours Children’s Health System)
Dr. Harry Lehman wants the public to understand the science supporting vaccines. He enjoys sharing scientific-based articles with peers, staff, and patients. Dr. Lehman is motivated to meet with patients and families in person, as he believes that’s the most effective way to address any questions or concerns they may have about vaccines. Dr. Lehman aims to question non-science based statements about vaccines and to correct misconceptions whenever possible.
Dr. Lehman is Physician in Charge at Nemours duPont Pediatrics in Seaford, Delaware, which is part of the Nemours Children’s Health System. He put together a work group to increase vaccination rates in his practice. The group focuses on reducing the fear of needles and promoting methods of pain and anxiety management during vaccine administration. Dr. Lehman teaches parents how to soothe their babies during and after receiving shots. He also encourages breastfeeding during vaccine administration as a pain reduction technique. Dr. Lehman believes those extra steps lead to higher immunization rates.
Dr. Lehman promotes teamwork in his office, and takes the time to educate the clinical staff about the importance of vaccines. He set a goal of attaining 100 percent vaccine compliance in the birth to 2-year-old population. Currently, vaccine rates are consistently above 90 percent in his practice. All vaccine records are reviewed by the clinical staff during every visit to identify any gaps in care.
For his dedication to educating parents and his staff about vaccines, Dr. Harry Lehman is Delaware’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Patricia B. Powell, BSN, RN
Clinical Nurse Manager
Children’s Health Center-Anacostia
Patricia Powell sees poverty on a regular basis, as she works in low income areas near the nation’s capital. There is often a gap in vaccine coverage in areas with high poverty rates, so Ms. Powell is determined to improve health outcomes in these communities by educating parents on the importance of preventive care, including vaccinations. Ms. Powell is so committed to her job that she reports to work in the middle of storms to protect vaccines from possible damage.
A pediatric nurse, Ms. Powell works as Clinical Nurse Manager with Children’s Health Center Anacostia, which is part of Children’s National Health System. She often takes a lead role in training the health center’s staff in immunization services. Ms. Powell uses modeling, coaching, and mentoring to train her staff. This work helps reduce vaccine administration errors and minimize the potential for wasting vaccine.
Ms. Powell’s health center has not experienced any vaccine wastage. That is impressive because it’s a large health center, which vaccinated over 10,000 children in 2018. Ms. Powell’s work ethic and character creates a warm, inviting atmosphere for patients. As a result, parents are more likely to bring their babies to well-child visits and get them vaccinated. Ms. Powell’s dedication to training her staff and educating parents contributes to high vaccination rates for babies up to 2 years old.
For her commitment to improving immunization services and vaccination rates in largely underserved communities, Patricia Powell is the District of Columbia’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Deborah Ingram, MD
Ingram Pediatrics, PA
Dr. Deborah Ingram began working with children when she was a young girl. Her aunt ran a home child care center, and Dr. Ingram gained experience caring for children as young as newborns. During her formative years, Dr. Ingram continued to work at the child care center and saw the developmental and nutritional challenges many children faced. Now as a doctor, she cares for children and works hard to make sure they are vaccinated on schedule.
Dr. Ingram is a pediatrician at her own clinic, Ingram Pediatrics in Plantation, Florida near Miami. Her staff routinely provides reminder calls to families the day before scheduled preventive care appointments to help keep vaccinations on schedule. Dr. Ingram also uses her office’s electronic medical records system, along with the Florida Shots registry site, to compile lists of patients at risk of falling behind on vaccinations.
Dr. Ingram does more than vaccinate children in her practice. She works with the Broward County Health Department, and the Crockett Brothers annual summer health fair festival, to provide vaccines to children throughout the area. Dr. Ingram collaborates with fellow pediatricians at summer back-to-school programs in south Florida to vaccinate children in time for school enrollments. She also uses her expertise to teach future doctors as an assistant clinical professor at Nova Southeastern University.
For her commitment to vaccinating children in south Florida, Dr. Deborah Ingram is Florida’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Rochelle Liverman, Pharm D
Transplant Pharmacist Specialist
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Rochelle Liverman has seen the devastating effects of vaccine preventable infections in transplant recipients while performing her job as a transplant pharmacist specialist with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). What she witnessed sparked an interest in improving vaccination rates in pediatric transplant patients before and after transplantation to improve long-term health outcomes.
Ms. Liverman is dedicated to improving influenza (flu) and pneumococcal immunization rates in pediatric transplant recipients. During each year’s flu season, she helps screen transplant patients for flu vaccine eligibility during their outpatient visits to CHOA. In addition, kidney transplant recipients are screened by the pharmacists at CHOA for pneumococcal conjugate and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines to ensure that those immunizations are up to date. Ms. Liverman also educates healthcare professionals about vaccinating pediatric transplant recipients and candidates. The training helps inform advance practice providers at CHOA, community providers in the state of Georgia, and pediatric and transplant pharmacists across the nation.
Ms. Liverman’s work increased flu vaccine coverage rates for transplant recipients at CHOA, from 36 percent of patients vaccinated in 2011 to 74 percent in 2016. There was also an increase in the percentage of liver transplant candidates who were fully immunized according to ACIP guidelines prior to transplant, from 72 percent in 2015 to 94 percent in 2017.
For her dedication to vaccinating transplant candidates and patients, Rochelle Liverman is Georgia’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Isabelleza Kris Tabios
Bryan Mih, MD, LLC
When Isabelleza Kris Tabios began her career as a medical assistant, she saw many patients who were underimmunized, leaving them in danger of getting life-threatening diseases. Since then, Ms. Tabios dedicates herself to ensuring that children are protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses.
In her current position, Ms. Tabios works with many patients who need to catch up on vaccines. She diligently checks immunization records before every appointment so there are no missed opportunities to vaccinate. Ms. Tabios is her office’s expert on CDC standard and catch-up vaccine schedules, and makes sure that all staff are up to date on any schedule changes. She is also passionate about proper vaccine storage, monitoring, and organization.
Ms. Tabios works closely with a family that currently lives in a homeless shelter and has limited access to medical care. Due to her efforts, the children in that family have all caught up on their vaccinations. Additionally, Ms. Tabios works with many families who migrate to Hawaii without vaccination records or with limited records. She uses her extensive knowledge of the catch-up schedule to make sure these children get caught up on appropriate vaccines. She clearly explains to every patient why vaccines are needed and what to anticipate at the next visit.
For her efforts to ensure that children in her area are caught up on their vaccines, Isabelleza Kris Tabios is Hawaii’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Colleen Thomas is the proud mother of two adventurous boys. When her younger son was diagnosed with an inherited primary immunodeficiency condition that makes him highly susceptible to communicable diseases, Ms. Thomas educated herself on the importance of vaccines. Both of her children are fully vaccinated, but her younger son’s blood tests show that his body’s immune response isn’t strong enough to protect him from dangerous diseases. Following her son’s diagnosis, Ms. Thomas spent hours reading about vaccines and the role they play in protecting those who cannot be immunized; she learned that vaccines are a public health issue that impacts an entire community.
Her son’s condition inspired Ms. Thomas to speak up and discuss the importance of vaccines. She joined an Indiana-based parent advocacy group called Hoosiers Vaccinate and is one of their most active members. Ms. Thomas also created the Hoosiers Vaccinate Facebook group, which has widened the organization’s reach in a social media-driven world.
Ms. Thomas frequently shares her son’s story locally and online to counter misinformation about vaccines. Hoosiers Vaccinate has recognized Ms. Thomas as a Hoosier Hero, with a profile about her prominently featured on their website.
For her commitment to mobilizing other parents in support of vaccines, Colleen Thomas is Indiana’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Ashlesha Kaushik, MBBS, MD
Chief, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Unity Point Health
Clinical Instructor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Sergeant Bluff, IA
Dr. Ashlesha Kaushik has seen the suffering of unvaccinated children due to devastating infections. For example, she had an 18-month old patient who struggled to survive Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) meningitis. Those children inspired her to work with patients and their families so that no child in Iowa suffers unnecessarily from a vaccine-preventable disease.
Dr. Kaushik is Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Unity Point Health, a pediatrics instructor at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and a Residency Preceptor at the Siouxland Medical Education Foundation Residency Program. She works tirelessly with patients, future physicians, and the community to promote childhood vaccination. She also works with underserved populations in northwestern Iowa to ensure they are caught up on their immunizations. Additionally, Dr. Kaushik frequently appears in the media to discuss why the influenza vaccine prevents life-threatening illness.
Dr. Kaushik participates in the American Academy of Pediatrics Iowa Chapter Committee on Immunizations. In this role, she works to reduce barriers for effective vaccination, encourages adherence to evidence-based vaccine recommendations, and provides high-quality scientific information on immunization. Additionally, Dr. Kaushik advocates for policies that promote universal immunization and discourage unnecessary vaccine exemptions. She has also played a key role in the creation of a parent immunization information network in her state.
Dr. Ashlesha Kaushik’s dedication to achieving high vaccination rates is why she is Iowa’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Lyndsey Seested, RN
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas-Pleasanton
Lyndsey Seested survived a case of viral meningitis while she was in nursing school. Additionally, she watched her niece suffer needlessly from measles. From these experiences, Ms. Seested decided to use her expertise as a nurse to promote vaccines.
Ms. Seested uses her extensive vaccine knowledge to educate her patients at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas-Pleasanton. In 2018, Ms. Seested visited every school in her county at enrollment time and spoke to parents about vaccines; her laptop was always by her side so that she could provide on-the-spot print-outs of a child’s immunization records. She has also facilitated Q&A sessions at local churches. In Ms. Seested’s personal time, she uses social media to advocate for vaccines. She is always quick to engage in vaccine discussions and provides credible information to promote on-time vaccination. Ms. Seested excels at respectful, open communication on social media. If a parent is still hesitant after an online discussion, she invites them to the office for an appointment dedicated to answering their vaccine questions.
As a result of her diligence, Ms. Seested has educated many parents about the benefits of vaccinating their children on schedule. In October 2018, Ms. Seested set up a booth during one of Pleasanton’s most popular community events; as a result, many people in her community got their flu shot on-site. She also provides resources and opportunities to vaccinate at the annual community health fair.
For her dedication to promoting vaccines in both her personal and professional life, Lyndsey Seested is Kansas’ 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Becky Underwood, RN
Local Health Nurse
Mercer County Health Department
Becky Underwood is no stranger to vaccine-preventable diseases: a close friend of hers suffered from an HPV-related illness. She has also encountered dozens of pediatric patients who have needlessly suffered from the flu. Ms. Underwood’s state of Kentucky has been home to several vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, which makes universal childhood vaccination a cause close to her heart.
Ms. Underwood has worked with vaccines in some capacity for fifteen years. She began her career as a nurse manager and Vaccines for Children coordinator for a large pediatric office, where she consulted with six providers regarding correct immunization practices and schedules. As part of her current position at the Mercer County Health Department, Ms. Underwood attends statewide immunization conferences and is well known as a leader by the Kentucky Immunization Program. Ms. Underwood is also a backup nurse at a local school, where she works with high-risk students to ensure that each child is vaccinated.
Ms. Underwood was the driving force behind the implementation of a reminder/recall system at the clinic where she works. This reminder/recall system led to increased immunization coverage rates at the county level for children age 24- through 35-months old. Ms. Underwood also diligently ensures that every nurse at the clinic where she works is trained on proper vaccine administration, storage, and handling. Her efforts to educate patients and the wider community about the importance of vaccines inspired her to work with other vaccine advocates to create billboards and public service announcements in her area.
Becky Underwood’s wide-ranging efforts to increase vaccination coverage rates in her community are why she is Kentucky’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Barbara White, RN
Immunization Program Coordinator
Affinity Health Group
When Barbara White held a public health position at a local health department, a pregnant mom and her young child came into the office. The mother tearfully insisted on getting both herself and her child the influenza vaccine. Ms. White discovered that the woman had lost a child the prior year due to influenza-associated complications. Each day, this experience motivates Ms. White to be a strong vaccine advocate.
Ms. White does quarterly reviews of vaccination records to verify patient compliance and actively reaches out to parents of patients who are not up-to-date on their vaccines. She ensures that her office maintains adequate vaccine inventory for patients. Outside of her regular office duties, Ms. White promotes childhood vaccination at health fairs and clinics. She acts as a resource on vaccination across Louisiana, as she responds to phone inquiries about vaccines and their availability. Ms. White makes presentations to local nursing students about how to explain the childhood immunization schedule to parents, make effective vaccine recommendations, and discuss the diseases vaccines prevent. She does the same with primary care providers who do not routinely provide childhood vaccinations in their clinics.
Due to her efforts, more children in Ms. White’s region are now fully vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. She inspires healthcare professionals to improve their coverage rates and to continue educating parents.
Barbara White’s wide-ranging efforts to promote vaccines throughout her state is why she is Louisiana’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Community Clinical Services
Ashley Goodwin was inspired to improve on-time vaccination rates after the practice where she works changed their policy from full vaccination by a patient’s third birthday to the patient’s second birthday. She saw an opportunity to provide leadership and took it upon herself to advocate for immunization.
“Anything for the greater good” is Ms. Goodwin’s motto. She created and piloted a new workflow to ensure that children can be vaccinated according to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule at every opportunity. Ms. Goodwin also regularly coaches staff on making the most effective vaccine recommendations, and collaborates with the outpatient quality department to obtain monthly immunization data. These data drove a process improvement plan that enabled the staff to reach out to parents before their children were overdue for vaccinations. Lastly, Ms. Goodwin was an integral part of Community Clinical Services’ successful grant application to receive funding to further improve immunization coverage.
Ms. Goodwin’s pilot workflow was so successful that it is being adopted by eight primary care practices and several hospital organizations in the area. She continuously assesses data to track improvement and keeps everyone up to date on next steps. Ms. Goodwin rewrote the book on how Community Clinical Services approaches childhood vaccinations and embedded it into the practice’s daily duties through positive coaching, workflow support, and attention to detail.
For her dedication to improving the quality of office immunization practices, Ashley Goodwin is Maine’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
David P. Norton, MD
Holyoke Pediatric Associates
Dr. David Norton’s first experience with vaccines was when he lined up with his whole community at a local school to get the polio vaccine. Since then, Dr. Norton has spent more than 25 years volunteering in the developing world. He remembers giving a vaccine talk to doctors in a Vietnamese hospital and being told, “We can’t do prevention, we can only do treatment!” These experiences inspired him to prevent diseases with vaccines.
Dr. Norton has been a practicing pediatrician and child health advocate in Massachusetts for almost thirty years. He is an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate and a preceptor to medical students in a private practice setting. Dr. Norton also serves on state committees that inform Massachusetts public policy and immunization practice. He is the incoming chair of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Immunization Initiative Advisory Committee and has been a voting member of the Massachusetts Vaccine Purchasing Advisory Council (MVPAC) since its establishment in 2012. On behalf of the AAP, Dr. Norton has given multiple immunization update lectures at community hospitals on vaccine safety and state vaccine purchasing. On top of his other duties, he is the Massachusetts Coordinator for the AAP office-based research network (PROS).
Dr. Norton has greatly impacted Massachusetts pediatric vaccination practice through his numerous leadership roles. As an immunization champion at a practice that delivers services for more than 50,000 patient visits each year, Dr. Norton has impacted the health of young children in his practice. He is also a role model for medical students and other healthcare professionals.
Dr. David Norton’s dedication to the pursuit of vaccination for every child in his state is why he is Massachusetts’ 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Roderic Tinney, MD FAAP
Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Pediatrics
Over the course of Dr. Roderic Tinney’s more than 30 years as a practicing pediatrician, he has seen patients with measles, mumps, pertussis, rotavirus, chickenpox, and meningitis. Each time a patient suffers with a vaccine-preventable illness, he is reminded of children he grew up with who were afflicted with polio. Dr. Tinney sees how history can repeat itself, so he strongly advocates for vaccines every day.
As one of the few pediatricians in his area, he has the privilege to be at most hospital births. Dr. Tinney is able to meet the baby right away, which helps him establish a strong and trusting relationship with the family. He uses this precious time to encourage Hepatitis B vaccination before the baby leaves the hospital and makes sure that the family has its first well-child visit scheduled. Dr. Tinney’s work doesn’t end there. He diligently checks immunization records before every appointment, ensuring there are no missed opportunities to vaccinate. His staff is encouraged to participate in continuing education courses on vaccines so that everyone is able to make strong recommendations. Dr. Tinney also routinely speaks with parents who call him with questions about vaccines on nights and weekends.
Dr. Tinney’s commitment to building trusting relationships has been very effective. He is proud that he now sees many children of his former patients, which only strengthens the bond between him and the families he serves. His patients see how much he cares and understand that he has the child’s best interest at heart.
Dr. Roderic Tinney’s dedication to building strong doctor-patient relationships is why he is Michigan’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Gloria Tobias, RN, PHN
Disease Prevention & Control/Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Countryside Public Health
In 1952, Gloria Tobias’ husband lost his sister to polio. When she got married, Mrs. Tobias saw how the pain of losing that young life never faded. Now, as a public health nurse, she recounts this story to help others realize that vaccine-preventable diseases can hit close to home. She encourages parents to appreciate that each vaccine reduces the likelihood of experiencing the trauma of a devastating childhood illness.
Mrs. Tobias and her team of nurses at Countryside Public Health review immunization trends to identify pockets of low vaccination rates in the five counties that her agency serves. She visits clinics to discuss vaccination trends and provide support for improving practices, particularly with underserved populations. During Minnesota’s 2017 measles outbreak, Mrs. Tobias and her team reached out to families of unvaccinated children to increase awareness and promote vaccination. She is also a voice for rural providers on the Minnesota Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (MIPAC), which provides guidance to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Immunization Program.
Mrs. Tobias has been a pillar of vaccination advocacy in southwestern Minnesota for more than 30 years. She was instrumental in bringing community partners together in the 1990s to formulate a community-based approach to improving immunization rates. This effort became the foundation for the development of a community-based immunization registry system, which then expanded to a regional system that is still in use today. All five counties served by Countryside consistently maintain above-state averages for primary childhood series completion by 24 months.
For her role in building community partnerships to support immunization, Gloria Tobias is Minnesota’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Tami Brooks, MD
Batson North Pediatric Clinic
Dr. Tami Brooks was a vaccine champion long before she became a practicing pediatrician. Dr. Brooks served on the Student Health Advisory Committee at Mississippi State University when she wrote a Letter to the Editor titled “Vaccines for Good Health,” pointing out the many life-threatening infectious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Dr. Brooks has been a practitioner in the Batson North Pediatric Clinic for over 20 years, and advocating for childhood vaccinations is an integral part of her practice.
As Medical Director, Dr. Brooks educates parents about vaccines during well-child visits as well as during acute care visits. She patiently works with families who have vaccine concerns and attributes her success to empathizing and sharing her own concerns as a mother. Dr. Brooks participates in hospital-sponsored community events to promote vaccinations and engages families on the importance of timely and complete vaccination.
Dr. Brooks helps organize Capitol Day for Pediatrics each year and leads efforts to educate Mississippi lawmakers about the importance of childhood vaccinations. She advocates for vaccination as the Mississippi Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics Legislative Chairperson and as a member of the Mississippi Vaccine Coalition. Dr. Brooks also educates medical students through the Pediatric Interest Group and speaks with pediatric residents at the University of Mississippi Medical Center about the importance of fully vaccinating patients.
For her dedication to educating parents and leading vaccination advocacy efforts, Dr. Tami Brooks is Mississippi’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Beth Ennis, MS, APRN, BC-FNP
Community Health Nurse
Tonopah Community Health Clinic
Ms. Beth Ennis has been the community health nurse in Tonopah, Nevada for 22 years. With only one administrative aide to assist her, Ms. Ennis is currently the only vaccinator in this isolated community of 3,000 residents. The closest general practitioner who vaccinates is two hours away.
Ms. Ennis is a Vaccines for Children (VFC) provider. She is also a longtime partner with Nevada’s immunization coalition (Immunize Nevada) and helped establish Nevada’s early participation in National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) by hosting community immunization clinics for children. Beth currently serves on Immunize Nevada’s School and Child Care Task Force, lending her expertise as an advanced practice registered nurse in a rural community.
Ms. Ennis previously won Silver Syringe Awards, which are given by Immunize Nevada, for her passion and commitment to the children and families she serves. She finds that practicing in smaller communities allows her to know clients and their family histories well, and this provides her with a more complete picture of a patient’s health risks, challenges, and strengths.
For her tireless efforts to keep children in rural Nevada healthy and protected with vaccines, Beth Ennis is Nevada’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Joseph V. Schwab, Jr., MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
A practicing physician in Newark, New Jersey for over 25 years, Dr. Joseph Schwab has seen firsthand the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases. Early in his career, Dr. Schwab treated young infants and children with measles during two small epidemics in Newark, cared for young patients with pertussis, and witnessed the benefits of vaccines in preventing diseases that were once common.
In addition to his practice at Rutgers University Hospital, Dr. Schwab teaches residents and medical students at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and promotes vaccination as a backbone of pediatric preventive care. Since 2016, Dr. Schwab has served as Chair of the Essex Metro Immunization Coalition (EMIC), a non-board committee of the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey. EMIC consists of over 100 members in Essex County, NJ from diverse backgrounds who are interested in increasing immunization coverage rates and awareness of vaccine-preventable diseases throughout the lifespan.
Dr. Schwab guides the strategic plans of EMIC, engages medical students and colleagues in the coalition’s work and activities, and builds and maintains relationships with key immunization stakeholders in New Jersey. Dr. Schwab also embraces innovative strategies for educating his own patients on vaccination, such as providing vaccination workshops for patients while they are in the waiting room.
For his work as an educator and coalition leader on pediatric vaccines, Dr. Joseph Schwab is New Jersey’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Zack Moore, MD, MPH
State Epidemiologist – Epidemiology Section Chief
Division of Public Health – North Carolina Communicable Disease Branch
Since childhood, vaccines drove Dr. Zack Moore’s interest in public health and his subsequent career. Dr. Moore grew up near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and many family friends worked on successful campaigns against smallpox, polio, and other health threats. Dr. Moore learned early on about the value of vaccines, as well as the basic principle that public health supports better health for many people.
Dr. Moore dedicates a substantial part of his career to the prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases through education and clinical practice. His role as the State Epidemiologist and Epidemiology Section Chief in the Division of Public Health, North Carolina Communicable Disease Branch, involves identifying and responding to health threats throughout the state. He serves as the authority for an array of clinical and public health issues, including vaccine-preventable diseases, as well as oversees surveillance and response activities for vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition, Dr. Moore provides guidance to stakeholders when states reach out to him during emergencies, including best practices for preventing and preparing for pandemics and epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases. He also interacts with the media to convey information to the public, which broadens the reach of his work.
Dr. Moore often devotes additional time outside of his work hours to participate in community outreach promoting vaccination. He frequently volunteers to give presentations and engage community stakeholders, traveling long distances across the state. He actively participates in organizations such as the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, serves on the Immunization Advisory Committee Board for the North Carolina Immunization Branch, and is a long-time member of the North Carolina Immunization Coalition.
For his role as a teacher and spokesman for best practices of vaccine-preventable diseases and other health threats, Dr. Zack Moore is North Carolina’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Kristina Kluth, RN, ADN
RN Clinical Supervisor
Sanford Southwest Children’s Clinic
In her supervisory role, Kristina Kluth provides immunization education, promotes adherence to vaccination schedules, and encourages patients to receive vaccines. She provides regular education to patients, nurses, and other healthcare professionals about vaccines both within and outside of the children’s clinic. She is always willing to provide a presentation on the importance of vaccines and the approach the clinic has applied to improve vaccination rates.
Ms. Kluth has implemented new workflows to improve vaccine rates within Sanford Southwest Children’s Clinic. This includes having a scheduler go into exam rooms to schedule nurse visit appointments for patients due for subsequent vaccines. Ms. Kluth also educates nurses on the correct process for reconciling and reviewing vaccine records. Nurses now reconcile vaccines within the electronic medical records prior to every appointment, discuss vaccines that are due with parents, and ensure the correct vaccines are administered. The staff now has a goal to not miss any opportunity to provide vaccinations.
Sanford Southwest Children’s Clinic has seen significant increases in its vaccination rates with Ms. Kluth’s guidance. Her passion has inspired others and, as a result, the clinic’s nurses and other healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing and promoting vaccines whenever possible by reducing missed opportunities.
Kristina Kluth’s belief that vaccine education should be provided at every opportunity makes her North Dakota’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Sara Guerrero-Duby, MD
Dayton Children’s Pediatrics
In 2018, Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby assumed the role as interim Chief for Dayton Children’s Pediatrics in Dayton, Ohio. In this role, she greatly expanded services for the practice’s underserved population. Her office provides healthcare to over 6,200 patients while completing over 10,000 visits per year.
As an attending physician and instructor for the pediatric residency program at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dr. Guerrero-Duby educates pediatric and family practice residents about vaccines. Her engaging, expert knowledge of immunizations provides many “teaching moments” for various physicians, nurses, and families in the community. In both morning and afternoon huddles with nurses and residents, Dr. Guerrero-Duby reviews each patient’s vaccine schedules and identifies any missed vaccination opportunities. Dr. Guerrero-Duby and other practicing physicians then make multiple attempts to educate families on both the risks and benefits of vaccinating and not vaccinating. Often, these conversations help parents feel comfortable choosing to vaccinate.
Patient care is Dr.Guerrero-Duby’s top priority. In addition to her day-to-day busy schedule, Dr.Guerrero-Duby finds time to volunteer at a Reach Out Clinic and has recently become president of the Western Ohio Pediatric Society. She has spent time volunteering in migrant clinics and in medical ministries in Honduras, Kenya, Cuba, Vietnam, and Guatemala. She was also the founder and pediatrician of two free pediatric clinics in Dayton, Ohio from 1991-2000.
Dr. Sara Guerrero-Duby’s dedication to serving her communities’ most vulnerable children makes her Ohio’s 2019 Childhood Immunization Champion.
Kathleen Tompkins, LPN
Hillsboro Pediatric Clinic
Kathy Tompkins has been the backbone of the immunization program at Hillsboro Pediatric Clinic for more than 30 years. She leads the team to improve vaccination rates for children served in the practice. Ms. Tompkins is a tireless educator of new and seasoned staff about new developments in vaccines, changes in protocol, and standards of care. She promotes excellence in all aspects of vaccine storage and carefully monitors compliance.
Ms. Tompkins conducts monthly updates for all staff about vaccines, including any changes in dosing, supply challenges, and the clinic’s vaccination statistics. She also conducts extensive training with all new clinical staff to ensure they are well educated on vaccines and in compliance with current vaccine standards. She carefully manages the vaccine stock to ensure there are adequate amounts of each vaccine to meet the busy clinic’s needs at two locations.
Hillsboro Pediatric Clinics’ high standards are a result of Ms. Tompkins’ diligence. Ms. Tompkins is unwavering in her monitoring, measuring, and training of vaccine administration, storage, and handling. She truly embodies a passion for the safety and health of children in her community, and she leads the team with a consistent attitude of excellence.
For demonstrating the highest standards of vaccine education and administration, Kathy Tompkins is Oregon’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Sarah Fessler, MD
East Bay Community Action Program
Through her international travels, Dr. Sarah Fessler witnessed the devastating effects of polio, as well as cared for an individual with a rubella infection. As the Medical Director at East Bay Community Action Health Services, a federally qualified community health center serving East Bay communities in Rhode Island from East Providence to Newport, Dr. Fessler understands the undeniable science behind vaccines and the impact of vaccinating populations.
Dr. Fessler believes a team effort is the best approach to vaccination success. She implements standing orders for staff to administer vaccines and provides training to medical assistants so they help nurses administer vaccines. This reduces missed vaccination opportunities during busy office times, where patients may not be able to wait for a vaccine to be administered. Adding more hands on deck to educate parents of pediatric patients due for vaccines has also helped to improve vaccination rates.
One of Dr. Fessler’s most important goals is to work with families who transfer to East Bay Community after being dismissed from other practices for not wanting to vaccinate their children. Dr. Fessler is very patient with her approach. She leaves the door open to revisit the vaccine discussion if a parent declines vaccines during their first conversation. She listens to her patients in a non-judgmental way and addresses their concerns with a caring attitude.
Dr. Fessler also volunteers on Rhode Island’s Vaccine Advisory Committee to provide guidance on issues related to vaccine policy and other activities related to the control of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Dr. Sarah Fessler’s consistent efforts to empower her staff and educate all families on the importance of vaccinations makes her Rhode Island’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
South Carolina Parents for Vaccines
Greer, South Carolina
Soon after Kimberly Nelson put her 6-week old daughter in child care for the first time, the flu began to spread through the center. Ms. Nelson was scared when the baby in the crib next to her daughter’s became so severely ill that the child was hospitalized for a week. This experience inspired Ms. Nelson to found the advocacy organization South Carolina Parents for Vaccines.
Ms. Nelson looked into vaccine exemptions and why parents decide to not vaccinate their children. She realized that many times, these decisions are made based on inaccurate information prior to the birth of a child, and that parents can be reluctant to change their minds after they have decided not to vaccinate. To help address their vaccine information needs, Ms. Nelson first organized a parent-led workshop for expectant parents to share information about immunizations. She then partnered with a former president of the South Carolina chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics for an online question-and-answer session on vaccines, and proactively reached out to multiple elected officials to discuss how policy changes could help keep South Carolinian children safer from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Ms. Nelson recently spoke about her prenatal vaccine workshop in a segment on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” which aired nationally. She also creates parent-friendly infographics and social media campaigns for the South Carolina’s Parents for Vaccines Facebook page. On top of all her work, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health so that she can be even more effective in her advocacy efforts.
For Kimberly Nelson’s dedication to the health of all children in her community, she is South Carolina’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Andrea Polkinghorn, RN
Immunization Strategy Leader
Sioux Falls, SD
Andrea Polkinghorn began her tenure as chairperson of the Sioux Falls Area Immunization Coalition after she took it upon herself to study immunization coverage rates in the community. When she found low immunization rates in specific areas of Sioux Falls, she also found the best areas for improvement. The challenge of getting all children up to date on their vaccinations strongly motivates her work.
In underserved areas, Ms. Polkinghorn identified a group of healthcare professionals who were choosing not to administer rotavirus vaccines to their patients. By consistently encouraging them to vaccinate, Ms. Polkinghorn helped increase coverage rates in those areas. She hosts monthly webinars to discuss vaccine safety, vaccine schedules, and the intricacies of vaccine conversations. Ms. Polkinghorn has also developed a “comfort kit” for clinicians to use with young patients. These kits include tools nurses can use to distract children from the pain and distress of immunization. Her consistent efforts also sustain the Vax Champ program at Sanford Health. Through this program, Ms. Polkinghorn works closely with five clinics to improve the storage and handling of vaccines.
Ms. Polkinghorn’s work in the Vax Champ program helps patients and caregivers across the Sanford Health system. The impact of her efforts goes beyond South Dakota, as Sanford Health also has clinics in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Oregon. Ms. Polkinghorn educates nurses throughout the health system and gives them valuable tools to increase vaccination rates in their own communities.
For helping healthcare professionals reach underserved populations, Andrea Polkinghorn is South Dakota’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Colleen Fultz, LPN
Ascension Medical Group
Colleen Fultz has worked in pediatrics for over 25 years. She has treated children with rubella, chickenpox, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), meningitis, and rotavirus. She has held children on trips from the doctor’s office to the emergency room, and she has cried with parents who lost their children to vaccine-preventable diseases. These firsthand experiences motivated Ms. Fultz to become a strong advocate for childhood vaccination.
As coordinator of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program at the Ascension Medical Group Saint Louise Clinic, Ms. Fultz teaches nurses how to administer vaccines according to the recommended schedule. With CDC’s Pink Book in hand, Ms. Fultz shows her coworkers how to ensure all children who visit the clinic receive the vaccines they need. She also takes her expertise into the field. Ms. Fultz helps children in disadvantaged communities get vaccinated by serving on the Saint Louise Clinic’s mobile health unit.
Without Ms. Fultz managing the VFC program at the Saint Louise Clinic, there would be more unvaccinated children in the world. From greeting patients when they arrive at the clinic to seeing them out the door, Ms. Fultz assesses patient needs with a constant eye on immunization. The pride she takes in her work inspires her colleagues to follow her example and learn more about vaccines.
For serving as a role model for the next generation of healthcare workers who vaccinate children, Colleen Fultz is Tennessee’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Robert Resendes, MBA
City of El Paso Department of Public Health
El Paso, TX
As a young public health officer in the 1990s, Robert Resendes oversaw a region with high rates of vaccination exemptions. After witnessing several outbreaks and the devastation they caused, Mr. Resendes looked for better ways to reach the unvaccinated. He soon learned how effective health promotion campaigns often depend on coalition building.
Under Mr. Resendes’ direction, the El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) developed a “culture of immunization” by tailoring its outreach efforts to local communities and giving more people a seat at the table. Not only does the El Paso DPH manage the Texas Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, they also coordinate community-wide efforts with Immunize El Paso. Mr. Resendes made childhood vaccines more accessible by supporting partnerships with healthcare professionals, mobile clinics, school systems, and community events. The “culture of immunization” he advanced in El Paso is not a walled-off subculture, but a welcoming and diverse mix of vaccination advocates.
El Paso now has some of the highest immunization rates in the country. Mr. Resendes goes out of his way to celebrate everyone who played a part in this achievement. He is currently working on a media campaign to recognize parents and community members for their contributions to El Paso’s high vaccination rates. As a leader, his public appreciation of individuals who keep vaccine-preventable diseases out of El Paso is a source of inspiration for those who are just starting to learn about vaccines.
For his leadership in bringing people together to achieve high immunization rates, Robert Resendes is Texas’ 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Joshua Kantrowitz, MD
Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
St. Johnsbury, VT
From an early age, Dr. Joshua Kantrowitz listened to stories of his mother’s experiences as a staff nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital. Some of her most profound stories involved administering care to children with polio, measles, and severe bacterial infections. Dr. Kantrowitz feels lucky to practice medicine in an era without such a heavy burden of these diseases, and his commitment to childhood immunization comes from the knowledge that vaccines keep many serious diseases at bay.
As a pediatrician, Dr. Kantrowitz works with both children and their families. Everyone who visits his practice wants children to be happy, healthy, and safe. For many families, the decision to vaccinate is an easy one. For others, Dr. Kantrowitz takes on the role of educator by helping families feel comfortable with the decision to vaccinate their children. These conversations can make a world of difference.
In April 2018, the Vermont Department of Health recognized Dr. Kantrowitz and the St. Johnsbury Pediatrics team for achieving high immunization rates. The practice reached the Healthy People 2020 targets for childhood immunization rates three years early. Since 2012, Dr. Kantrowitz has worked with Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) and Child Health Advances Measured in Practice (CHAMP) to improve immunization coverage. As Dr. Kantrowitz says, everyone in healthcare—from administrative staff to nurses and care coordinators—can play a role in boosting immunization rates.
For using teamwork to promote immunization, Dr. Joshua Kantrowitz is Vermont’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Donna Deadrick, RN
Clinical Team Leader
Carilion Pediatric Clinic
Donna Deadrick points to the leadership of a nurse manager as the source of her interest in childhood vaccinations. Her manager always looked for opportunities to minimize barriers between patients and vaccines. This led to Carilion Pediatric Clinic joining the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. When Ms. Deadrick assumed responsibility for the VFC program, she followed her manager’s example.
Over the years, Ms. Deadrick has become a leader in the effort to improve immunization rates for the youngest children in Roanoke. In her work with her clinic’s pediatric residency program, she teaches first-year physicians about vaccine costs, the VFC program, vaccines schedules, and vaccine administration. Ms. Deadrick introduced vaccine clinic hours that respect the schedules of caregivers. She also organized flu vaccination clinics at the peak of flu season, as well as special vaccine clinic hours that coincide with school holidays. Ms. Deadrick is currently in charge of drafting standing orders for the vaccine clinic.
Ms. Deadrick’s efforts have gone a long way, as demonstrated by her clinic’s high immunization coverage rates. For all vaccinations, Carilion Pediatric Clinic surpasses the Healthy People 2020 goals by a considerable margin. In some cases, the clinic’s rates are 10 percent higher than the Healthy People goals originally set in 2010. The effectiveness of Ms. Deadrick’s approach is widely recognized. Her influence extends beyond the clinic, as she is regularly called upon to provide guidance to immunization community stakeholders on best practices for vaccine administration.
For her commitment to improving vaccination rates in her clinic, Donna Deadrick is Virginia’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Alexander Hamling, MD
Pacific Medical Centers
In medical school, Dr. Alexander Hamling studied abroad in Guyana, where he saw the effects of vaccine-preventable diseases such as mumps and pertussis. In 2010, Dr. Hamling volunteered in Haiti to care for people displaced by the earthquake. He diagnosed and treated cases of tetanus in tent cities. These experiences drove his passion to improve access to childhood vaccines throughout the world and in his own home country.
In Seattle, Dr. Hamling works with a Vaccines for Children (VFC) coordinator to increase vaccination rates at Pacific Medical Centers. Dr. Hamling continuously looks at his clinic’s electronic health records data to identify patients who may be undervaccinated. He then reaches out to individuals by phone, mail, email or through the patient portal, MyChart.
Thanks to Dr. Hamling’s leadership efforts, the percentage of children at Pacific Medical Centers who received all recommended vaccines by their second birthday increased from 11 percent in 2016 to 65 percent in 2018. The impact of his work was recently recognized by the Snohomish Health District. Dr. Hamling has also become a leading voice in the Seattle-area community by appearing in the media to talk about the importance of vaccination. He has worked on broadcast television, the radio, and in written publications to raise awareness of the importance of vaccines.
For finding more opportunities to vaccinate in his practice and for public outreach to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinating, Dr. Alexander Hamling is Washington’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Amy Braeger, RN
West Bend School District
West Bend, WI
As a nurse for the West Bend School District, Amy Braeger had her “aha!” moment when she had to exclude schoolchildren from activities because they had not yet received vaccinations required by the state of Wisconsin. Ms. Braeger never wanted to do that again, so getting more students in her district vaccinated on time became her top mission.
Ms. Braeger worked with her staff to contact families with letters and phone calls. They sent emails about the need for vaccination to every family in the school district. They frequently reached out to families with children who were still not up to date. Ms. Braeger even had parents call her on her personal cellphone to discuss the letters. Sometimes, when Ms. Braeger followed up with families who were still non-compliant, she discovered a language barrier. She then sent those families immunization forms and resources in their native language.
Checking the vaccination status of 6,800 students in 11 schools is no easy task. Along with one other nurse, Ms. Braeger leads a staff of 13 health professionals in taking care of these students. When Ms. Braeger took up the cause of immunization, her district already had a non-exempt vaccination compliance rate of 97.9 percent. Yet Braeger saw room for improvement. She and her staff set a goal of getting the rate over 99.0 percent. In just one year, they achieved that goal. The 2017-2018 rate was 99.7 percent.
For her dedication to the health of every student in her district, Amy Braeger is Wisconsin’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.
Carol Stutzman, RN
Public Health Nurse
Crook County Public Health
Carol Stutzman has a long history of volunteer work in vaccine advocacy. Over the years, she has volunteered much of her time to vaccination clinics and parent education campaigns. In her current work as a public health nurse, she handles many different health-related issues, including reaching out to undervaccinated populations.
Through the Nurse Home Visitor Program of Crook County Public Health, Ms. Stutzman developed a relationship with a traditionalist community of more than 150 people. This community is geographically isolated and wary of modern medicine, including vaccinations. Over the past five years, Ms. Stutzman has worked hard to develop a trusted relationship with community members. She has also formed a partnership with the community’s birth attendant, who brings up the topic of vaccination before Ms. Stutzman comes to visit. This helps families get ready to talk about vaccines and makes them more comfortable asking questions. Ms. Stutzman often has several conversations with parents who are still deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children.
During the last year, several children in rural Wyoming came down with pertussis. This posed a significant risk to the community, as every family had an infant younger than 2 years old. Ms. Stutzman went door to door testing for pertussis and educated families about transmission and treatment. She explained how vaccination would not conflict with their traditionalist beliefs, and she created educational materials at a reading level appropriate for the community.
For her commitment to educating isolated communities about vaccination, Carol Stutzman is Wyoming’s 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.