Thursday, December 15, 2016

Delivering a shot of immunization knowledge

Janice Lachhman (L) and Fatima Aviles (R) of DOH Immunization talk with Cherie Collins of South Florida Pediatric Partners  
The Immunization Action Coalition of Broward delivered another installment of its Immunization Training for Medical Professionals, targeting physician office personnel. It was the second such session of the year.

The half-day seminar drew 16 medical assistants, office managers and clinic workers from various pediatric and family medicine practices throughout Broward County. The coalition, staffed by Florida Department of Health in Broward County with community partners, aims to promote the increased use of vaccines, especially among children and adolescents.

During the training, speakers from DOH and the coalition covered frequently asked topics, such as best practices in Hepatitis B vaccine for children, how to use Florida SHOTS to record vaccinations, influenza, Zika virus and vaccine handling and preparation.

A highlight was a skit by coalition members Ray Ramirez (Pediatric Associates) and Janet Jones (Holy Cross Hospital) on how to engage parents who are reluctant to get their children vaccinated, with a focus on human papilloma virus (HPV) for adolescents.

The coalition also gave thank-you awards to two pediatric offices that have volunteered to let DOH scrutinize their childhood vaccination rates, so they can work to improve. Gallagher Pediatrics in Fort Lauderdale (part of Holy Cross Medical Group) and South Florida Pediatric Partners in Pompano Beach were recruited to participate by coalition Chair Samhara Estrada. She is a regional consultant for the DOH Immunization Section.

The project is called Assess the Best. The premise is that most physician offices believe they vaccinating more children than they actually do, and that if they knew the figures, they would improve their performance. In the first three months of the project, both pediatric offices raised their rates of HPV vaccinations and one raised its rate of standard childhood shots.

For information on Assess the Best, contact