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Introduction

 

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After decades of focus on childhood immunization, public health officials are now challenged to improve adult immunization. However, unlike the extensive federal and state infrastructure support around childhood immunization, public health funding for adult vaccine purchase and programming initiatives is more limited. As a result, Immunization Programs face substantial challenges as they work to develop and implement strategies to strengthen adult immunization delivery in their states, cities and territories.

The AIM Adult Immunization Resource Guide characterizes a selection of the varied activities and strategies that Immunization Programs have employed to enhance and improve the delivery of immunizations to adults. These featured activities offer a menu of adult-focused strategies that Immunization Programs can adopt, adapt, or use as inspiration in planning or brainstorming exercises. Recognizing that Immunization Programs vary substantially in the resources available for adult immunization efforts and in their public health infrastructure, the Resource Guide offers activities at three levels:

GETTING STARTED activities are generally targeted to a narrow purpose, and require minimal immunization program staffing, funding, or infrastructure.

MOVING FORWARD activities are more expansive in their purpose and scope, often leverage relationships with partner organizations, and require some staffing support and/or dedicated funds.

TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL activities have greater complexity, build on earlier efforts and/or leverage existing infrastructure, often include multiple partners, and require considerable staffing and funding.

Beyond offering a plethora of ideas to consider, the activities featured in this Resource Guide also reflect lessons in leadership — the approaches used by Immunization Program Managers to move from the shaping of ideas and opportunities to tangible action. For many of the featured activities, the leadership of the Immunization Program Managers created a climate and programmatic perspective that allowed ideas and partnerships to flourish. Key aspects of program leadership include the following:

CHARTING THE COURSE – Prioritizing adult immunization to reach new providers, understanding different systems and policies, and establishing new partnerships. The magnitude  of the task can feel overwhelming. Leadership is essential to help program staff recognize internal strengths and resources, and begin a long-term process of planning, implementing, and refining a series of adult immunization strategies.

IDENTIFYING INITIATORS – Opportunities to expand adult immunization activities arise in many forms: a policy change related to insurance coverage for immunization, funding announcements that could support a new idea or a motivated provider interested in promoting immunization among peers. Leadership recognizes initiators and begins the discussion of how best to take advantage of new opportunities.

KEEPING SIMPLE THINGS SIMPLE
– Several featured strategies emanated from program staff identifying repeated requests for clarification and information. Transforming technical information into simple, clear and accurate communication tools allows programs to meet the needs of providers in an efficient manner.

DRAWING ON PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS – Many of the featured strategies were derived from personal connections, both within government and through partner organizations. Leadership encourages Immunization Program staff to develop personal relationships within and outside the program, and to draw upon those relationships to support adult immunization activities.

FINDING THE WIN-WIN – By encouraging and prioritizing the development of strategies to facilitate provider compliance with concurrent initiatives such as Meaningful Use requirements and HEDIS quality measures, Immunization Program leadership creates “win-win” opportunities for providers to benefit from their expanded involvement in adult immunization.

SUPPORTING THE EFFORTS OF PARTNERS
– Working with partners can present challenges related to differing priorities, messages and expertise. Leadership bridges those gaps through consistent opportunities for communication between program staff and partners, and sufficient technical support from the program for partner activities.

BEING REALISTIC – Planning, implementing and evaluating new activities can be daunting. Leadership facilitates this process by encouraging staff to work through imperfect conditions, establishing realistic goals for participation or impact, and debriefing with staff to expand successes and mitigate weaknesses.


In alignment with the AIM Leadership Institute, AIM offers this Resource Guide as a way for Immunization Programs to learn and grow from their collective experiences while utilizing leadership principles as they promote adult immunization.

                                                                                                                           

 

"The collection of strategies documented in this resource guide shows that where there is a will, there is a way. We hope this guide will increase programmatic activity even higher to raise adult immunization coverage rates and reduce preventable disease in adults.”

- Claire Hannan, AIM Executive Director   

                                                                                                                                       

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