KU Health System receives grant award for improving adolescent immunization rates

Dr. Belinda Vail and her team at the University of Kansas Health System have received a grant award for improving adolescent immunization rates. (Submitted photo)

The University of Kansas Health System received a grant award recently for improving adolescent immunization rates.

Immunize Kansas Coalition honored four organizations recently with the grant awards.

The KU Health System, Department of Family Medicine, received the outstanding residency program award.

The grant award was developed in 2015 to support innovative, collaborative and sustainable methods to increase age-appropriate immunization rates for Kansas adolescents.

Immunize Kansas Coalition identified human papillomavirus (HPV) and meningococcal vaccines as specific targets for improvement in 2015 as rates of immunizations for adolescents in Kansas were among the lowest in the nation.

In 2017, Kansas adolescent immunization rates, while improved from 2015, were below the national rate for both HPV-initiation (52.4 vs 65.5 percent) and meningococcal (72.1 vs 85.1 percent). In this award cycle IKC asked providers to include Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) immunizations in their rate improvement efforts in response to the identification of bundling – or offering all of the recommended adolescent immunizations together – as a best practice approach to adolescent immunization rate improvement.

The University of Kansas Health System Department of Family Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas, under the leadership of Dr. Belinda Vail, implemented several methods of patient contact and follow-up with the aim of improving adolescent immunization rates. Dr. Vail and her team found that telephone follow-up resulted in the highest rate of completed immunization. From this success, Dr. Vail and team intend to continue to use clinic staff to make follow-up, personal contacts with patients when they are due for immunizations, according to a spokesman.

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