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Mayo nurse named Immunization Champion

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For the second straight year, the Minnesota Department of Health has named a health care provider from Southeast Minnesota as its Immunization Champion.

Mayo Clinic nurse Jennifer Brickley, who works in Rochester, was named Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion. Brickley follows in the footsteps of 2016 award winner Mary Thompson , a Houston County Public Health nurse.

Brickley has spent more than 20 years as a pediatric nurse, including the last three as the immunization program coordinator for the primary care practices at Mayo. She was recognized Thursday at the 2017 Spring Immunization Conference in Rochester.

Additionally, she is the chair-elect on the board of directors for the Southeast Minnesota Immunization Connection (SEMIC), the region's coordinator of the state's immunization registry. Brickley has led the school immunization program for Olmsted County's public and private schools, met with clinics to improve standard practices and "become a go-to resource in the region for immunization questions," according to a press release from MDH.

"We are extremely proud to recognize Jennifer as Minnesota's champion," said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for MDH. "Her dedication to promoting immunization in the community is vitally important to helping us protect the health of Minnesota children."

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The award was announced at a time when vaccines continue to make headlines. An ongoing measles outbreak in the Twin Cities among unvaccinated Somali community has raised concerns about vaccine rates, while President Donald Trump's skepticism of vaccines has fueled a backlash among medical experts.

Brickley has been credited with raising awareness throughout the community. Mayo pediatrician Robert Jacobson highlighted four ways she's impacted the ongoing dialogue about immunizations:

• Met with nurses, advocates and other staff to facilitate appropriate and on-time vaccinations

• Implemented comprehensive nurse protocols used throughout Mayo Clinic Health System that help keep children up-to-date with vaccines

• Ran a recall program to notify families when children are due for more shots, which resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the number of 24-month-old children who aren't up to date

• Led an initiative to greatly expand online vaccine information support for clinicians and nurses to use when talking to patients as part of AskMayoExpert

"Jennifer's drive and leadership have led to improvements in our vaccination rates as well as the reduction of errors," Jacobson said. "She is an inspiration to everyone she works with and is a true immunization champion."

The CDC honors one health care professional from each state during National Infant Immunization Week. The awards are intended to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of people who strive to ensure that children are fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases before the age of 2.

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