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Rate Awards & Immunization Champions

The Idaho Immunization Program has standardized its rate achievement award criteria; this is separate from the rate improvement award criteria.  Beginning in 2014, rate awards are awarded to providers who meet or exceed the Healthy People 2020 immunization goals for the 4th dose of DTaP (90%), the 2nd dose of Hep A (85%), and the 4:3:1:3:3:1 series (80%), where Hib is either 2 or 3 doses depending on brand.

The Immunization Champion Award is an annual award given by the Idaho Immunization Program to recognize individuals or teams that go above and beyond to promote childhood immunizations in their communities.  Award recipients in 2015 were announced during Shot Smarts, May 4 - 8, 2015.  The Immunization Champions are an inspiration to everyone who cares about children's health. The Idaho Immunization Panel is pleased to recognize the recipients of the award for the special contributions they have made through their work in childhood immunization.

2015 Immunization Champions

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Employer: Heritage Health

Champion Description:  Shelley Janke is the Director of Nursing at Heritage Health in Coeur d'Alene. Shelley has been working with her organization to help merge a number of different clinics in northern Idaho. She has also been working to help streamline immunization programs at these clinics. Shelley has even brought an immunization program to one clinic that did not have one. She has made an impact in her community by helping start a mobile clinic that includes immunizations. This mobile clinic will be able to reach a number of Idahoans in rural places who would not normally have easy access to healthcare and immunizations.

Employer: Valley Medical Center

Champion Description:  Sarah is a full-time registered nurse in the pediatric office at Valley Medical Center in Lewiston. While working full-time with a provider at the largest clinic in the district, Sarah has focused extra effort on data quality for patients by making sure immunizations (both administered and historical) are correctly entered into the clinic’s EHR and into IRIS. This helps ensure that patients are vaccinated appropriately and on time. She also works closely with the clinic’s Director of Compliance to ensure the proper storage of vaccines. Her dedication has led to the prevention of vaccine loss in the clinic. Sarah's extra attention to data quality, vaccine storage and patient recall have raised  immunization rates in her clinic and make her a true role model in her clinic and the community.

Employer: Health West – Lava Hot Springs

Champion Description:  Kelsie Tillotson is an LPN at the Health West clinic in Lava Hot Springs. She regularly provides continuing education and information updates to clinic staff and ensures that all vaccine staff members complete the CDC vaccine storage and handling training.  She is currently working with staff members to improve access to immunizations for rural health locations.  Her contributions to vaccination this past year include implementing a reminder/recall system in an effort to improve immunization rates by keeping patients updated on their immunization status.  Kelsie also implemented a process where two clinic staff members are required to verify vaccine administration and doses given resulting in less invalid doses and administration errors.       

Employer: Eastern Idaho Public Health

Champion Description:  Amy has served as a Public Health Nurse and RN Manager for Eastern Idaho Public Health since December of 1994. Amy remains an active immunizing nurse to this very day. She is always advocating for creative programming, customer-friendly services and educational outreach. Amy has implemented creative WIC /immunization linkage services to encourage WIC children to get fully immunized. In addition, she has increased her leadership role with the Idaho Immunization Coalition, where she currently serves as Chair. Amy has made an important contribution by recently expanding the Health District’s coverage goals for both the Zostavax vaccine (for adults) and the HPV vaccine series (for the 11-26 year old age group). Amy's assistance with organizing on-site school immunization clinics for flu, the kindergarten round-up and 7th grade registrations has helped school immunization rates stay at a high level. Through Amy's continued involvement with the Fourth of July and State Fair Outreach, more families are aware of the importance of getting protected against Whooping Cough and other vaccine preventable diseases. 

Champion Description: Senator Martin is the second term senator from District 15. Senator Martin carried Senate Bill 1121 through the 2015 legislative session. This bill allows for bi-directional data exchange to take place between IRIS and other electronic health record systems. Senate bill 1121 benefits Idaho by making it much easier for medical providers to know what vaccines people might need, reducing healthcare costs for the administration of unneeded vaccinations. Having immunization data readily available to these providers through data exchange can have a major impact on how certain health decisions are made. For example, if you are in an accident and arrive at the Emergency Department, the physician treating you can easily see if you are up-to-date on your tetanus shot and not order that shot to be administered, even if the previous vaccination was given at another place. Electronic data exchange increases the accuracy of immunization records by reducing data-entry errors and will reduce costs currently associated with having to enter immunization data into more than one system. It also makes it easier on parents by virtually eliminating the need to provide paper copies of immunization records to different providers.

Employer: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Champion Description:  Kathy Ambrose is an employee at South West Idaho Treatment Center who fills provider resource orders for the Idaho Immunization Program (among other duties). Kathy has made an exceptional contribution to vaccination in Idaho by quickly and efficiently fulfilling resource order requests for medical providers, schools and childcares, and by effective inventory tracking. Through Kathy's efforts, providers, schools and childcares are able to provide timely educational materials to Idahoans and have the documents they need to provide immunizations. This helps keep Idaho families informed regarding vaccinations and helps providers comply with state and federal laws.

Employer: West Valley Medical Group – New Plymouth

Champion Description:  Debra is an LPN working at the West Valley Medical Clinic in New Plymouth. Debra has implemented a number of great strategies to raise rates in her clinic. She has created a form that can be personalized for each patient by highlighting what immunization(s) they are due for next, when they are due and any contact attempts. Debra also discusses studies on the effects of oral glucose and pain reduction with young patients receiving immunizations. Then (after receiving their parents’ permission) she provides these patients with a small sucker to enjoy during vaccine administration. Her young patients are no longer afraid of shots, saying they “don't bother them and they are no big deal now." She also uses a Shot Blocker when administering immunizations. This is a small U-shaped plastic disk with blunt spikes on one side that is pressed onto the arm when the shot is given and aids in distracting the patient from the pain of needle sticks. Debra is now assisting patients with programming a reminder into their phones for their next appointment or immunization, making it easier for patients to remember their appointments and keeping teens excited and involved in their own healthcare.


Employer: Central District Health Department

Champion Description:  For 40 years, Melissa Sanders has been the face of Immunizations at Central District Health Department. Over the years she has represented CDHD by taking on many roles. When she started, she was the only immunization nurse at CDHD. She has seen CDHD immunization staff grow to 27 employees with an over flowing lobby of walk-in clients, taking care of people from birth to the elderly before shrinking back to its present size. Once again, she is the only full-time immunization nurse at the Boise office. Deserving of recognition for her numerous contributions beyond just one year, she has faithfully provided care to the people of CDHD’s outreach area. Over the years, she has vaccinated thousands in the community including infants, children, teens, adults and international travelers. She has helped with numerous school clinics, while educating parents and contacting providers to make sure she has correct vaccine histories. She always has the goal of an error free year, and since 1975 she has administered approximately 125,000 vaccines! Melissa has been there for every outbreak in the Boise area. She was there for the measles outbreak in the early 1990s when Boise held massive clinics at the fairgrounds; the meningitis outbreak in 1993 where she saw long lines of clients at CDHD; the ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak in 1993-94 when Boise was the Hepatitis A capitol of the country; and H1N1 when she drew up thousands of .5cc doses to ensure that the rest of the CDHD staff could vaccinate efficiently at our mass clinics.