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Get ready for the first annual Washington State Immunization Summit

Washington Immunization Summit

The immunization team at WithinReach is using its well-honed event planning skills on a new endeavor. On April 26, 2017, we will host the first ever (and hopefully annual) Washington State Immunization Summit at the SeaTac Conference Center. Guided by best practices nationally, we have decided to offer an annual summit for immunization stakeholders from any sector across the state. Continuing education credits may be available (see website for details).

So why are we doing this? Immunization is complicated; it is both a precise science and a complex social phenomenon, and the strategies needed to be successful evolve constantly. Washington leads the country in the immunization field in many ways (our hesitancy research, our cutting-edge HPV work, etc.), and this is yet another way that we want to support our state in taking the lead. In creating this summit, our goal is to offer responsive, cutting-edge immunization education to our partners. There is plenty of immunization education out there, but the content is usually pre-defined by the creators. In this case, we have been surveying our constituents about what they want and need from us. Three specific areas of interest emerged at the top of the list:

  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • The use of data and information systems to improve rates
  • Reaching underserved populations

While the agenda is still coming together, we are thrilled to feature our colleague Dr. Doug Opel of Seattle Children’s Hospital, who will deliver a talk on the intersection of ethics and vaccine hesitancy. If you’ve ever seen Dr. Opel live or read his work, you know how powerful he is as an educator. Also, Dr. Clarissa Hsu of the Group Health Research Institute will share preliminary results from a study Vax Northwest has commissioned that examines the attitudes and beliefs of families in Washington who are delaying or skipping vaccines. The Washington State Department of Health – Office of Immunization and Child Profile will lead an excellent session on the use of data and information systems to bring up rates. And an as-yet-undetermined session will focus on reaching underserved groups.

WithinReach is thrilled to offer this learning opportunity, and we are committed to making this part of our ongoing suite of services offered to Washington immunization professionals.

Interested? Good news! You can learn more and register today. Please spread the word widely.

Tags: continuing education credit   immunizations   vaccine hesitancy   vaccines   Washington State Immunization Summit   

International visitors at WithinReach

If you’ve been following WithinReach’s social media this week, you’ve seen that we’re hosting three guests for a week of vaccine hesitancy learning.  This great honor was bestowed to WithinReach by the International Association of Immunization Managers (IAIM), a program of the Sabin Vaccine Institute (SVI), recognizing the extraordinary quality and quantity of vaccine hesitancy research and programmatic work that has happened in Washington State.Why are we doing this?  Vaccine hesitancy is a universal phenomenon, but it takes different forms in various places, and our strategies for addressing the problem vary—but we have much to learn from each other, both about the origin of the problem, and possible solutions.
GroupHealth
Gula Khan Ayoub from Afghanistan and Mary Mahole from South Africa both requested vaccine hesitancy learning opportunities from IAIM; IAIM in turn asked WithinReach to host the visitors for a week of learning and exchange.  Accompanying our visitors is Katie Waller, Senior Program Officer from SVI/IAIM.The WithinReach Immunization Team has done a phenomenal job organizing our guests’ visit, which, in addition to orienting them to the work at WithinReach, includes visits to:
  • An Immunity Community parent advocate meeting in Bellingham
  • An opportunity to learn from our colleagues about vaccine hesitancy research projects at the Group Health Research Institute
  • A visit to the Washington State Department of Health
  • A major event at PATH highlighting the resonances between the vaccine hesitancy work happening locally and globally
  • A tour of the school-based health center at Nathan Hale High School
  • A learning opportunity at, and tour of, Seattle Children’s Hospital

 

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We’ve learned so much already.  South Africa faces many challenges that parallel what we see in the United States, specifically focused on trust in the health system and the impact of cultural norms on vaccination.  I think we all feel a sense of awe about the challenges faced in Afghanistan, where hesitancy often emerges from violent propaganda and edicts of rogue groups like the Taliban, which threaten the lives and livelihoods of immunizers at times.  Nonetheless, our conversations have focused on new and creative strategies, like activating social networks, creating projects focused on specific ethnic groups, engaging performance opportunities like songs, etc. in addressing vaccine hesitancy.

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Many thanks to all of the people who have come together to make this week a success!

Tags: IAIM   immunizations   Sabin Vaccine Institute   vaccine hesitancy   vaccines   

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