Upshot Online – Page 3
Public Education in Action in Health Services Region 2/3
By Charles Yowell, Public Information, Education, and Training
Above: Thank you letter received by White from the elementary students participating in an after school program.
To increase vaccination rates and reassure apprehensive parents and children, Denise White, RN DSHS Stamford Field Office, developed a simple, but effective vaccine education program. White uses pictures of individuals suffering from vaccine preventable diseases to highlight the severity of the diseases.
“Why Get Shots?” a presentation created several years ago by White, utilizes these pictures through a display board and booklet. The presentation was developed as a way to explain vaccine preventable diseases to parents, and to reassure apprehensive parents and children during vaccine clinics. Many new parents are unfamiliar with the seriousness and potential damage diseases such as polio and measles can create.
Working within the larger goal of increasing vaccination rates in Texas, White also sought to ensure the experience at vaccine clinics was not a traumatic one for parents and their children. The presentation has been most effective in the 4 year old age group. White and her group perform around 6 to 7 clinics a month across 5 counties in Health Services Region 2/3.
White stresses the need to provide more education to parents and children. She encourages others to use pictures and descriptions of the diseases, many of which can be found online. White also suggests utilizing contacts such as school nurses, civic groups and school teachers. Civic groups are always in need of speakers. Vaccine education can even be worked into a presentation on hand washing presented to a school class.
Public education on vaccines helps to relieve tension and apprehension experienced by parents, their children, and clinic staff.
Increasing ImmTrac Newborn Enrollment Through Literature Holder Distribution
By Ishah Coleman, ImmTrac
From June through September of 2008, the Texas Department of State Health Services, Health Service Region and Local Health Department staff assigned to ImmTrac duties will visit hospitals, birthing centers, obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs), to distribute literature holders and ImmTrac parent brochures. The large and small literature holders will be used to display the Love Them. Protect Them. bilingual parent brochuresthat provide information about ImmTrac, the Texas immunization registry and its benefits to parents and children. By displaying the brochures in waiting rooms, examination rooms, and during parenting and Lamaze classes, expectant women and couples will learn about ImmTrac, enabling them to make an informed decision about registry participation.
Texas law requires that parents of newborns be offered the opportunity to grant or deny consent for their newborn’s participation in ImmTrac as part of the birth registration process. The current ImmTrac newborn consent process requires birth registrars to print the Immunization Registry (ImmTrac) Registration form using the Texas Electronic Registrar (TER). Parents are provided with the Love Them. Protect Them. parent brochure and are then given the opportunity to grant or deny consent. The birth registration process is the first and best opportunity to enroll newborns in ImmTrac and has proven to be effective. When offered the opportunity, over 94% of parents grant consent for their newborn to participate in ImmTrac.
For some parents, this is the first time they have been presented with information about ImmTrac. Often the excitement of welcoming a newborn into the world can cause parents to overlook information provided by birth registrars. Some parents may not fully understand what ImmTrac is and how it can benefit their family. The literature holder distribution initiativewill provideearly education to expectant women and couples planning a family and can help eliminate uncertainty about granting consent for their newborn to participate in ImmTrac. Providing early education to expectant women and couples can also help birth registrars more effectively obtain consent.
The ImmTrac Group developed the literature holder distribution initiative by surveying hospitals that have successfully implemented the ImmTrac newborn consent process. The results indicated that collaborating with both birth registrars and OB/GYNs was effective in educating expectant women and couples. ImmTrac purchased literature holders to help increase the number of hospitals that routinely offer parents the opportunity to grant or deny consent during the birth registration process. By making parent brochures available to expectant parents prior to the birth of their baby, the literature holder distribution initiative can help increase newborn enrollment in ImmTrac.
Since 2005, hospitals and birthing facilities that offer at least 90% of their parents the opportunity to grant or deny consent to enroll their newborn in ImmTrac, have been recognized by the ImmTrac Group and the Vital Statistics Unit (VSU) at the VSU’s annual conference luncheon. In 2007, over 155 birthing centers received the ImmTrac Award for Excellence. The ImmTrac Group recognized their commitment to promoting the enrollment of newborns in ImmTrac.
ImmTrac is a free service provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). It is an opt-in program, requiring parents to grant written consent in order for their child to participate. When children participate in ImmTrac their immunization history is electronically stored making it easily accessible to their authorized providers, schools, and childcare facilities. Providers can choose to notify parents when immunizations are due or overdue. ImmTrac is committed to reducing the incidence of childhood preventable diseases through immunizations. Currently, ImmTrac has more than 69 million immunizations recorded for more than 5.7 million Texas children.
To learn more about ImmTrac please visit www.ImmTrac.com.
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