Alana asked each of us here at The Immunization Partnership to write a little about how we got here and why we do what we do. This week we continue the series with Maureen, Project Coordinator.
Maureen Moore | Project Coordinator
When Alana asked me to write about what brought me to The Immunization Partnership and what I do, I thought “I wasn’t in the Peace Corp and I don’t have a glamorous story to tell.” My greatest accomplishment was birthing and raising a healthy daughter. As a 36-year old mom in Molly’s first year of life, I religiously took her to her pediatrician (a shout-out to Dr. Cutler!) every two months and eagerly awaited her assurance that I wasn’t ruining my baby! Besides keenly studying Molly’s growth chart, I signed paperwork consenting to shots. I didn’t bother to read the Vaccine Information Statements given every time – no, I fully trusted her doctor and knew that shots were part of the deal.
Fast forward to 1998 when I took a job with the Houston Health Department’s Immunization Program. I thought “what’s the big deal? It’s just shots, right?” Yet I learned that they are a very big deal and lots more complicated than I realized. Managing the million dollar plus supply of vaccines was a massive responsibility and one that involved constant education for physicians, nurses and medical assistants. The official ACIP recommended immunization schedule is updated yearly and although at a glance it appears straightforward, it can be complex particularly for newer healthcare providers. Coordinating trainings and in-services became my favorite task; it was also immensely rewarding to interact with new front-line immunizers (like medical assistants and LVNs) who were eager to learn more about vaccines. You could say I became the “Vaccine Queen.”
Since my professional life began to revolve around vaccine-preventable disease (VPD), I have seen the introduction of several life-saving vaccines for rotavirus, pneumococcal, meningococcal and human papillomavirus diseases, as well as the launch of several combination vaccines that reduce the number of injections needed to prevent some diseases: DTaP-HIB-IPV, MMRV, DTaP-HBV-IPV, HBV-HAV and DTaP-IPV. Confused yet? Clearly VPD education was and is essential and endless!
In 2008 I joined Anna Dragsbaek at The Immunization Partnership (TIP). What drew me to TIP was the opportunity to continue supporting Houston’s healthcare providers with excellent resources and guidance as they immunized children and adults. I am now a project coordinator, working on the Immunization Champions project, where I help clinics put processes in place to raise and maintain high immunization rates.
My TIP colleagues all possess the fire in their bellies to further TIP’s Mission: To eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases by educating the community, advocating evidence-based public policy and promoting immunization best practices. Our tagline really says it all: Immunize. Prevent What’s Preventable.
Now 24 year later, Molly is fully immunized and no longer fights me about getting her yearly flu shot AND she encourages her friends to get it too! I guess I didn’t ruin her after all.