January 20, 2018
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Dr. Amy Belisle Named a Childhood Immunization Champion by Centers for Disease Control

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(L-R) Tonya Philbrick of the Maine Immunization Program presents award to Dr. Amy Belisle

Maine Quality Counts is very pleased to announce that Amy Belisle, MD, FAAP, has been named by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as Maine’s winner of the 2014 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award. Dr. Belisle is the Director of Child Health Quality Improvement at Maine Quality Counts.

The annual award is given jointly by the CDC Foundation and CDC to recognize individuals who make a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization. Each year, up to one CDC Immunization Champion from each of the 50 states, 8 U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia is honored.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all of our partners at both the practice and state level who have worked so hard together to raise immunization rates and improve children’s health in the state of Maine,” said Dr. Belisle.

Childhood immunization has been a challenge in Maine. During the last 10 years, Maine has had increasingly more vaccine hesitancy, refusals, and delays, coupled with outbreaks of pertussis and flu-related illnesses. The need for an innovative approach was clear. Dr. Amy Belisle, a quality improvement expert, developed a new initiative and charted a course for Maine to move the state’s immunization rates in the right direction.

Dr. Belisle led the development and implementation of the First Strengthening Together Early Preventive Services (First STEPS) learning collaborative, a federally funded demonstration project. The initial phase of First STEPS supported health care professionals in 24 primary care practices in their efforts to improve their childhood immunization rates. As part of this project, Dr. Belisle encouraged a focus on practice transformation, which led to improved use of best practices such as staff training, recall and reminder procedures, and the use of registries.

The First STEPS program led to significant improvements in the immunization rates of 12- and 15-month-olds at participating practices. Based on the lessons learned in First STEPS, Dr. Belisle championed the creation of a childhood immunization toolkit that all health care professionals can use to ensure they are following best practices for immunization.

Throughout her work, Dr. Belisle has acted as a tireless advocate for immunization and made every effort to ensure that health care professionals have what they need to be successful.
For her efforts to increase immunization rates through quality improvement, Dr. Belisle is Maine’s CDC Childhood Immunization Champion.

Maine Quality Counts is an independent non-profit regional health improvement collaborative based in Manchester that has been working since 2003 to bring together the people who give care, get care and pay for care to improve health care quality throughout Maine. We do this by leading, collaborating and aligning improvement efforts.