Minnesota resident recognized for efforts in promoting childhood immunizations

Patricia “Patsy” Stinchfield, M.S., RN, CPNP, of St. Paul has been named a CDC Childhood Immunization Champion in recognition of her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in Minnesota.

Each year, in connection with National Infant Immunization Week, the CDC Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) honor health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge exemplary individuals who go above and beyond to promote or foster immunizations among children from birth to two years old in their communities.
“We’re delighted to present this award to Patsy,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for the Minnesota Department of Health. “She is a true immunization champion with a long-time commitment and passion for protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Stinchfield is a practicing pediatric nurse practitioner in the Infectious Disease Department and is the director of Infection Prevention and Control for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “Patsy has a long history at Children’s, and in the community, of helping to ensure children are protected from infectious diseases,” said Phil Kibort, M.D., vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Children’s of Minnesota. “This award is yet another chapter in her storied career and we are so proud to count her as a part of the Children’s family.”
For more than 25 years, Stinchfield has been working to educate parents, providers, community leaders, and policy makers on the important role immunizations play in keeping vaccine-preventable diseases out of our communities. Some of her accomplishments include developing partnerships with local businesses to facilitate school-based vaccination education and clinics, promoting influenza vaccine at Children’s where at least 90 percent of staff have received their influenza vaccine in the past two flu seasons, participating in MDH’s Immunization Practices Advisory Committee, and being the first nurse to become a voting member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Stinchfield began her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner career at Children’s of Minnesota in 1987. Her passion for making sure all children receive their immunizations began after her experience treating children during the national measles epidemic of 1989-1990. “It was devastating to see so many children come through our doors sick – and have two children die – with a disease that can be prevented by immunizations,” Stinchfield said.
In an effort to prevent future outbreaks, Stinchfield gathered a group of public health nurses and interpreters to conduct a door-to-door survey. They found that families valued immunizations, but did not know when they were needed. This led Stinchfield to spearhead an effort at Children’s to make sure all of their providers made every visit a vaccine visit by educating families and providing immunizations when needed.
CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health care professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. State Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and notified CDC of their recommendations. One winner was selected in each of the 30 participating states and one from the District of Columbia. For more information about other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/champions/index.html.