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Detroit Community Health Connection Receives “Most Improved Immunization Rates” Award

Thursday, November 20, 2014  
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At the October 23, 2014, Regional Immunization Conference hosted by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in Dearborn, Michigan, MDCH’s Division of Immunization recognized Detroit Community Health Connection’s Healthy Teens Community Care Center with the “Most Improved Immunization Rates” award.


Through participation in MDCH’s Adolescent Immunization Reminder/Recall Project, DCHC’s Healthy Teens Community Care Center increased its adolescent immunization rates by 100% for 1-dose Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis vaccine (Tdap); 1-dose Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV); and 3-dose Human Papillomavirus Vaccines (HPV) in 13-17 year-old patients between 2012 and 2014.


The Michigan Adolescent Immunization Reminder/Recall Project launched in 2012 when MDCH received Prevention and Public Health Funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase immunizations among adolescents in Southeast Michigan by helping health care providers improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of their immunization practices. Despite the abundance of vaccines available today to help protect people throughout their lifetime from vaccine-preventable diseases, Southeast Michigan had had historically low vaccination rates, especially among its adolescent population.


Adolescents might not be fully protected against vaccine-preventable diseases for many reasons. They may not have received a complete immunization series. They may have received vaccines without meeting minimum intervals, causing doses to be invalid. They may not have been immunized with all recommended vaccines because new vaccines were added since the first immunization, or the adolescent immunization schedule wasn’t followed.


At the project’s completion in September 2014, 94 health care providers from southeast Michigan had enrolled including Detroit Community Health Connection’s six sites. One of Michigan’s 39 Health Center organizations, Detroit Community Health Connection is a non-profit community-based provider of primary and preventive care serving residents of Detroit.


Over the two-year project period, a total of 235,000 recall notices were mailed to adolescents residing in southeast Michigan who were overdue for vaccines. Eighty feedback sessions took place to evaluate the progress of the enrolled providers in increasing immunization rates, identify critical areas for improvement, and develop facility action plans for implementing strategies to achieve improvement goals.


DCHC implemented multiple strategies as part of its facility action plan, including distributing reminder magnets (electronic magnets that blink when it is time for the next immunization dose), following up with those who did not present for a scheduled appointment, calling those who were sent recall letters in order to schedule appointments, implementing standing orders, and posting educational materials throughout its six participating sites.


Detroit Community Health Connection increased its 1-dose HPV rate from 50% to 76% and its 3-dose HPV rate from 18% to 31% in a little over a year. Overall, the project’s enrolled provider practices collectively increased the HPV 1-dose rate by 37.9% and HPV 3-dose rate by 51.1%.


“MDCH is proud of Detroit Community Health Connection and appreciates their hard work and efforts towards keeping Michigan’s adolescents healthy and protected,” said Cassandra McNulty, MPH, the Adolescent Immunization Project Lead. “It was a pleasure working with such an innovative and energetic group of people. You can tell that they care about their patients and community. I believe their commitment and dedication to meeting adolescent immunization challenges will continue to improve their services.”

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