Coalition Milestones for the 2023-2024 Grant Cycle

By Ashley Ayres, MBA, BS, CIC, ACIC Chair

As we near the end of our current grant cycle from July 2023 through April 2024, the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition (ACIC) is excited to share the significant milestones and achievements of this period. Our community outreach efforts have had a meaningful impact, and we are proud to highlight the following statistics demonstrating our dedication and hard work in advancing our mission.

Grants from the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition and the CDC fund our coalition. The Allegheny County Medical Society provides administrative services, and the Allegheny County Health Department also serves as a fiscal conduit. Our executive committee and membership are all healthcare professionals volunteering their time to support our mission and further amplify our reach.

Over the past ten months, ACIC has organized 18 volunteer outreach events, with 3 more scheduled in June 2024. These events have been crucial in reaching and educating our community. We successfully educated 835 adults and 177 children, impacting 1012 individuals. The topics covered ranged from health and wellness to community safety and educational resources, reflecting our commitment to comprehensive community support.

Our volunteers are the backbone of our outreach initiatives. This year, 17 volunteers dedicated their time and energy to our cause, helping us achieve our goals and reach a broader audience. Their unwavering support has been instrumental in the success of our programs.

Promoting health and wellness continues to be a cornerstone of our mission. We administered 110 vaccines, ensuring our community members are better protected against preventable diseases. This initiative is a testament to our proactive approach to public health and our dedication to improving community well-being.

Our membership base has significantly grown, now totaling 257 members. This growth reflects the trust and value our community places in our organization. We also hosted 3 general membership meetings with speakers, providing valuable insights and fostering community among our members. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the guest faculty who enriched our general membership meetings during this grant cycle:

  • Abigail Sporer, PhD, Sequiris: Presented on getting fluent for the flu season on 9/21/2023.
  • Divna Djokic, MD, Pediatrician: Provided updates on the meningitis vaccine on 3/21/2024.
  • Diego Chaves-Gnecco, MD, MPH, FAAP: Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Director of Salud Para Niños, and Samantha Faulds, MS, RHIA: Senior Improvement Specialist at UPMC, will discuss increasing HPV vaccination rates in pediatric primary care on 6/20/2024.

We also thank the guest faculty from the previous grant cycle for sharing their expertise, time, and educational resources with us:

  • Jitu Modi, MD, FAAP, Merck: Presented the importance of HPV vaccination on 3/23/2023.
  • Leah Pope, MPH, ACHD: Shared insights on immunization coverage for K-12 students on 6/22/2023.

One of the highlights of this grant cycle was hosting our 18th annual half-day conference with over 130 attendees and 11 sponsors on November 8, 2023, bringing together a diverse group of professionals from the public health and healthcare sectors. It focused on fostering collaboration, exchanging knowledge, and offering continuing education credits for healthcare professionals. The positive feedback we received emphasizes the significance of such gatherings in advancing community progress.

We were honored to have distinguished guest faculty at the 2023 Allegheny County Immunization Coalition Conference:

  • Barbara Nightengale, MD & Kirsten Mertz, MD, ACHD: Provided updates on COVID-19 vaccines, new trials for the meningococcal B vaccine, and outbreak pacers regarding COVID-19.
  • Donald Middleton, MD: Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Vice President for Family Medicine Education at UPMC St. Margaret, who shared insights on influenza.
  • Helen Hawkeye, Executive Director of the PA Coalition for Oral Health, discussed HPV talking points with dentistry and how to approach the conversation differently.
  • Joe Randig, Western Pennsylvania Coordinator for the PA Polio Survivors Network, shared his experiences as a polio survivor.
  • Raymond Pontzer, MD: Infectious disease physician, provided updates on RSV for older adults and maternal and non-vaccine treatments for infants.
  • Rick Schroder, ACHD: Discussed the PA Statewide Immunization Information System (PA SIIS).
  • Todd Wolynn, MD, MMM: Co-founder of Kids Plus Pediatrics and Shots Heard Round the World, provided updates on Shots Heard, the Public Good Projects, and addressed disinformation regarding the 2023-2024 cold, COVID, and flu season.

Our digital presence, particularly on LinkedIn, has seen remarkable growth. We made 46 posts that generated 29,020 impressions. Additionally, we gained 152 new followers, expanding our reach and engaging more professionals in our mission.

These numbers reflect our hard work and significantly further our mission. The Allegheny County Immunization Coalition promotes immunization and enhances public health through education, outreach, and collaboration. Every event, every vaccine administered, every new member and follower, and every interaction brings us closer to a healthier community.

We are filled with optimism as we prepare to embark on the next grant cycle starting in July 2024. The achievements of the past ten months have laid a solid foundation for future growth and impact. We thank our volunteers, members, and supporters for their commitment and look forward to continuing our journey together.

Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to get involved as we work towards a brighter, healthier, and more connected community. Thank you for participating in the Allegheny County Immunization Coalition and contributing to our success.