University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Echezona Ezeanolue, M.D., awarded grant to develop hospital-based immunization system

Initiative looks to ensure timeliness in providing child vaccinations

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Vaccines are among modern medicine's most successful and cost–effective public health tools for the prevention of disease. Immunizations are one of the most important ways to protect children from serious illnesses. Nevada has one of the lowest immunization rates in the U.S., leaving many children susceptible to diseases that can be prevented with vaccinations.

In an effort to reverse this trend, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services awarded an $87,000 grant in 2008 to Echezona Ezeanolue, M.D. MPH, assistant professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, to evaluate the impact of implementing a hospital-based immunization information system.

The pilot program focused on newborns delivered at University Medical Center who received the hepatitis B immunization, commonly administered at birth. This initial vaccination was used to create a record in the state's immunizations registry, called WebIZ, which looks to link all elementary schools throughout Nevada.

This initiative looks to ensure timeliness in providing vaccinations to children. Parents are urged to enroll their children in the registry. Creating the initial records has been identified by Ezeanolue and his research team as a major barrier for physicians updating immunization records.

The initial goal was to increase entries by five percent; in the first year, however, the pilot program increased entries by 44 percent.

With the successful implementation of the registry program at University Medical Center in 2008, Ezeanolue and his research team were awarded a $70,000 grant to implement the program this year at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas.

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The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.