CDC and the CDC Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of the CDC Childhood Immunization Champions Awards! This annual award recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization.
This year’s Champions include physicians, nurses, parent advocates, pharmacists, and other immunization leaders from 37 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We are proud to recognize these outstanding individuals. The select snapshots below highlight the diversity of skills and backgrounds embodied by this year’s Champions. View their full profiles and all of the other winners on the Champions website.
LCDR Greg Sarchet, PharmDClinical PharmacistWhiteriver Indian Hospital, US Public Health ServiceWhiteriver, AZ
LCDR Greg Sarchet has greatly expanded the immunization outreach program at the Whiteriver Indian Hospital, building trusted relationships with the local community. He has worked with pharmacists and pharmacy students to schedule immunization days at childcare facilities. Thanks to his efforts, the hospital has administered over 4,000 vaccines at community events.
Veronica McNally, JDPresident & CEOFranny Strong FoundationEast Lansing, MI
Veronica and Sean McNally lost their 3-month-old daughter, Francesca, to pertussis in 2012. The couple turned their grief into action, creating the Franny Strong Foundation to educate audiences about the need to vaccinate against whooping cough. Ms. McNally was a driving force behind Michigan’s iVaccinate campaign to increase the state’s childhood immunization rates to at least 80 percent within five years.
Tyawna Ackerman, RNClinic Nurse Supervisor
Jacobson Memorial Hospital and Care Center, Elgin Community Clinic
In order to make immunization more accessible to her rural community, Tyawna Ackerman launched the childhood immunization program at Jacobson Memorial Hospital Care Center (JMHCC) and its affiliated clinic, Elgin Community Clinic. Thanks to Ms. Ackerman’s efforts, parents can get their children vaccines without having to make long trips to other medical facilities.
John Merrill-Steskal, MD, FAAFPFamily PhysicianKittitas Valley HealthcareEllensburg, WA
After completing a fellowship in vaccine science through the American Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Merrill-Steskal helped local pharmacies and providers use the Washington State Immunization Information System, presented vaccine information to staff in family medicine programs, and started a vaccines project at his own clinic. Dr. Merrill-Steskal also promotes vaccination on his blog and his very own community radio program.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Cecilia Penn, MDPediatricianPartners 4KidsSt. Thomas, USVI
Dr. Cecelia Penn bases her practice on the philosophy that everyone contributes to the health and well-being of a child, which means all staff are responsible for promoting childhood immunization. Dr. Penn has trained her nursing staff to educate parents about vaccine-preventable diseases and empowered her staff to take ownership of vaccine ordering, cold chain management, and inventory management.