Immunization Champion Award
The Immunization Champion Award is an annual award given jointly by the Association of Immunization Managers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This award recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution to promote immunizations in their communities.
Each state honors an Immunization Champion. In 2022, nominations were sent to the Department of Health, where a group of health professionals from around Washington state reviewed and selected the immunization champion for 2022.
The Department of Health recognizes the amazing immunization work done by so many people in this state. As such, this page shows the nominees and provides a brief description of their exemplary actions.
- Ahmed Ali
Owner of Othello Station Pharmacy
Dr. Ali is a trusted leader in the Somali community and has been the main face of the Somali Health Board. His Othello Station Pharmacy (OSP) staff serve a large, diverse population in King County. During the 2021-22 school year, Dr. Ali and OSP provided over 60 COVID and flu vaccination clinics for schools. The pharmacy improved the COVID-19 vaccination rates of school children in underserved populations. Dr. Ali invites nursing, pharmacy and medical students who need clinical placements to work with his team, helping many students of color gain diverse experiences in providing community care.
- Alison McDowell
Confluence Health Methow Valley Family Practice Clinic
In addition to being the primary vaccine coordinator at the Methow Valley clinic, Alison volunteered to do the same work at their satellite clinic in Brewster, which included additional work and travel time. She has ensured continued access to childhood vaccine at multiple clinics thanks to her efforts. She is always willing to lend a hand, and is motivated and passionate about making a difference in the community.
- Amelia Vader
Grant Writer and Health Specialist
Bellingham Public Schools
Amelia saw the need for immunization opportunities in the community and took the lead on organizing 20 different COVID-19 vaccine clinics for Bellingham Public Schools. She worked with community partners and health professionals to set up vaccine clinics. Amelia arranged the clinics so they would be welcoming environments for students, including quiet spaces for students with sensory needs, and live streaming kittens to help anxious students. Amelia also worked to reduce barriers for families, selecting clinic locations that prioritized communities with a lack of health care access. In addition to this, Amelia wrote and secured grants to continue this important work.
- Amy Carter
MD, Chief Medical Officer
Bellevue, WANo photo
As the Chief Medical Officer of Allegro Pediatrics, Dr. Carter oversaw Allegro Pediatrics’ mass pediatric drive-thru immunization clinics for flu and COVID-19 vaccines. These clinics immunized 5,000 to 10,000 patients a day. Dr. Carter used her strategic thinking and creative problem solving to identify the most effective vaccination strategies, and developed a training program and resources for staff. In addition, because of Dr. Carter’s leadership, Allegro Pediatrics is a clear leader in providing HPV vaccine. Her work with clinics has made recommending HPV vaccine at age 9 effective and sustainable.
- Anthony Maldonado
Health Screening Specialist
Educational Service District 105
Anthony worked to connect schools in his region to health clinics, helping to make vaccination accessible to all students and families. He held several vaccine clinics for childhood vaccines, and focused on supporting underrepresented communities by trying to eliminate a variety of immunization barriers. Anthony made sure materials were translated and distributed to meet the community’s needs, made sure people could physically register at a vaccine clinic in case they didn’t have access to technology, and offered education about vaccines. Anthony is a strong advocate for the needs of schools and families.
- Breana Wertman
Lead Certified Medical Assistant (MA-C)
Moses Lake, WA
Breana has been involved in the childhood immunization program for the Samaritan Healthcare Clinic for the last 7 years. She plays an important part She was instrumental in leading COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics. She developed clinic workflows, ordered vaccine and supplies.
- Carrie Jenner
Common Spirit – Virginia Mason Franciscan Health
Normandy Park, WA
Dr. Jenner is a lead pediatrician in her clinic. She works with the system immunization manager to create immunization trainings for 20+ clinics. In addition, she is the co-chair of the Pierce County Immunization Coalition. Dr. Jenner facilitates meetings, creates newsletters, and works with committee staff to put on “hot vaccine topic” webinars. Dr. Jenner puts pertinent immunization information into the hands of people who need to know it fast.
- Chenelle Roberts
Founder, Medical Director
Docere Center for Natural Medicine
Dr. Roberts is a naturopathic family physician and retired midwife who owns a small family medicine clinic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Roberts became a voice promoting science-based education around COVID-19 vaccinations. Dr. Roberts and three other providers in her clinic administered 2,500 COVID-19 vaccinations, welcoming all families regardless of insurance or documentation. In addition, Dr. Roberts coordinated vaccination events at local public schools, helping to improve the area’s school COVID-19 vaccination rate to 50-70%.
- Chris Scaniffe
Nisqually Tribal Health & Wellness
Nisqually Tribal Health & Wellness brought Chris on during the COVID-19 pandemic. He jumped in as the point person for COVID-19 services. In 14 months, Christ personally administered over 2,000 shots – representing 44% of the total COVID-19 vaccinations administered by Nisqually Tribal Health & Wellness. He has lead every aspect of the vaccine efforts, including COVID-19 testing, nurse phone call services, and educating the community.
- Corinne Heinz
Vaccine Coordinator and Surgery Scheduler
The Doctors Clinic
Before Corinne was hired, The Doctors Clinic didn’t have a designated person for vaccines. Corinne completely reorganized the pediatric vaccine program and makes sure everyone is up-to-date on the latest vaccines. She handles vaccine ordering, reconciliation, and training for four different clinic locations. Corinne created specific COVID-19 vaccine carts for each age group, helping COVID-19 vaccine clinics run smoothly.
- Debra Grady
The University of Puget Sound
Debra Grady led University of Puget Sound efforts to be a fully COVID-19 vaccinated campus. She independently reviewed and verified over 2400 vaccine cards and counseled students as part of this process. In addition, she worked with the local health department to become a COVID-19 vaccine administration site for the wider community. The University of Puget Sound was the only college in Pierce County to do so, meaning they provided vaccination opportunities to University of Washington Tacoma, Pacific Lutheran University, and local community colleges.
- Justin Sisney
Pharmacist & Owner
Darrington Pharmacy and Gift
As part of a rural, isolated, and impoverished community located in the Cascade Mountains, Dr. Sisney was compelled to work with North Counties Family Services (NCFS) to develop a plan to share accurate COVID-19 information and improve vaccination rates. Dr. Sisney tailored communication messaging to meet the cultural and literacy needs of the community. In addition, he provided “door to door” outreach to individuals to answer questions about COVID-19 and to vaccinate people in their home environment. Dr. Sisney’s work helped NCFS secure a health literacy grant to continue work on COVID-19 education and vaccination.
- Earl “Andy” Plumlee
Earl “Andy” Plumlee
Director of Operations
Island/La Conner Drug Store
Oak Harbor, WA
Andy was one of the earliest advocates for COVID-19 vaccination on Whidbey Island. When the government shared vaccines to community partners, he called a staff meeting and challenged his team to vaccinate 36,000 people. To date his team has vaccinated nearly 100,000. Andy worked with local stakeholders and local health jurisdictions to vaccinate at-risk populations in the community, including in-home vaccinations.
- Jacob Scherf
Chief Executive Officer
Seattle Visiting Nurse Association
Jake has grown the Seattle Visiting Nurse Association from a small flu vaccine focused organization to a multi-faceted mass community immunizer by taking on the challenges of vaccinating patients in the COVID-19 pandemic. Jake manages a diverse workforce of 100 nursing professionals and has built public-private partnerships with Snohomish Health District, the City of Seattle, Boeing, and many school districts to fight against COVID-19. To address concerns about being vaccinated among large crowds, Jake led outdoor drive-through clinics. He also spearheaded a paperless vaccine registration process that includes contactless check-in. Jake listened to a variety of community members to address vaccine clinic concerns and came up with innovative solutions to make COVID-19 vaccination more comfortable for patients.
- Jacqueline Kremer
Kitsap General Surgery
Jacqueline was asked to develop a COVID-19 vaccination program in January of 2020. Thanks to her efforts, over 30,000 people have been vaccinated. Working from a small surgical practice, Jacqueline developed a paperless registration system and user-friendly registration website. This efficient system helped immunize hundreds of patients a day in a 3-doctor office. Jacqueline then expanded vaccination efforts through Kitsap County by developing vaccination sites at churches, schools, and community centers. As part of this process, Jacqueline developed an extensive network of volunteers to staff the clinics. She developed relationships with the Kitsap County Health Department and helped coordinate vaccine distribution for other health care providers.
- Julie Wehmeyer
Employee Health/Infection Control Manager, RN MN
Family Health Centers
Julie is the primary leader for nearly all the vaccination efforts in our county. She developed and coordinated partnerships with critical access hospitals, schools, local EMS, churches and other community partners to make COVID-19 vaccination and education accessible to the community. Julie commonly traveled 150 miles a day to bring vaccinations to Washington’s largest county. She vaccinated a variety of groups, including school children, agricultural workers, long term care residents, and more. Julie is the primary vaccinator for 65% of the Okanogan County population.
- Kati Eckols
Licensed Practical Nurse
Pediatric Associates of Whidbey Island
Oak Harbor, WA
Kati was responsible for running flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinics. She came in on her days off and worked overtime to ensure pediatric patients were up to date on their vaccinations. She keeps the vaccine recall list up to date and ensures calls are going out to patients to get them scheduled for immunizations. She has trained staff to engage patients in conversations about vaccination.
- Kevy Wijaya
Stepping Stone Pediatrics
Under Kevy’s leadership, Stepping Stone Pediatrics became an instant safety net for families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kevy and staff offered free vaccination clinics for under- and uninsured children during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep children up to date on routine vaccinations. Additionally, Kevy and his team became one of the first providers to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the community. Kevy worked with a variety of partners to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at unconventional locations serving historically marginalized populations. Locations include low-income housing sites, Native American tribal locations, Pride events, and a salad factory.
- Martha Leen and Paul Kremer
Martha Leen and Paul Kremer
MDs and Owners
Achieve Eye and Laser Specialists
Martha Leen and Paul Kremer are both eye surgeons. Despite not working in primary care, Paul and Martha worked evenings, holidays, and weekends to give COVID-19 vaccinations to any eligible residents. They had to learn about these new vaccinations, how to store and manage them, and document administration in the state immunization information system. In addition, their leadership encouraged other medical providers to engage in COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Their “outside the box” work in this area at a critical time reverberated throughout the Kitsap medical community.
- Kristan Guenterberg
Doctor, General Surgeon
Kitsap General Surgery
Dr. Kristan Guenterberg ventured far beyond the borders of his usual clinical practice, setting up high throughput mass-vaccination centers early in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Among different locations, Dr. Guenterberg ran pop-up clinics from ferries, brew pubs, and schools. He vaccinated thousands of people in Kitsap County, playing an instrumental role in getting over 80% of Kitsap County residents vaccinated from COVID-19. He and his team worked with numerous partners to serve disadvantaged minority groups and people of color, schools, assisted living facilities, and those experiencing homelessness. He performed these actions in his free time between surgical procedures.
- Kristi Reddaway
Kaiser Permanente of Washington
Kristi handles all the vaccinations for pediatric patients at Rainier Valley Medical Center. She has played an important role for the community, keeping children up to date on their vaccination requirements for school. She regularly misses breaks, lunches and goes home late to make sure patients are taken care of. She always supports staff, and regularly brings vaccine updates to daily huddles to make sure the team has the most up-to-date information.
- Lisa Carpenter
Practice Manager, Licensed Practical Nurse
Family Care Network
Lisa has worked as an immunizations advocate for Family Care patients and staff for years. She was responsible for making sure 13 different clinics met or exceeded administration requirements for vaccination. Through this work, she ran regular meetings to keep staff updated on new information and best practices. Additionally, Lisa has collaborated with other departments to help troubleshoot and streamline processes with immunization documentation.
- Lori Kelley
Vice President Quality Assurance
Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic
Lori is dedicated to getting vaccines to the multiple communities she serves. She advocated for getting COVID-19 vaccines to farm workers as soon as possible at the Oregon state legislature. She worked to get donations for ultra-cold freezers so her clinics could be one of the first to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. She worked with numerous farms to provide COVID-19 vaccine and on-site testing, working with many H2 workers (nonimmigrant foreign agricultural workers). Lori has collaborated with state agencies, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), schools, medical facilities, and health departments in over 10 counties and across 2 states to get vaccines to communities. Through Lori’s leadership and advocacy, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic has given over 215,000 COVID vaccines.
- Patricia Atwater
Health Center Manager
Planned Parenthood of Greater Northwest, Hawai’I, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky (PPGNHAIK)
Patricia has trained staff to use the Washington State Immunization Information System (IIS) to support patients getting the HPV and Hepatitis B vaccine series. Patricia actively looks through patients’ immunization records before check-in so she can discuss the importance of starting or finishing a specific vaccine series. Since Patricia started this practice, patients’ vaccination rates have gone from 21% in 2021 to 35% in 2022. Patricia centers patient autonomy and prosperity in such a manner that advocates for patients’ health.
- Ponciano Bautista
Pharmacist in Charge
Swedish Medical Group
Mr. Bautista was instrumental in establishing mobile COVID-19 vaccinations for Swedish Medical Group. He has assisted in all efforts for routine and COVID-19 vaccination, providing materials, education and information to all physicians within Swedish. Mr. Bautista coordinates vaccination across 28 primary care clinics and has developed all the tools clinics use to train staff on immunization procedures. Additionally, he led the process of conducting financial audits to ensure Swedish had appropriate charge and billing practices in place, collaborating with the business and financial departments.
- Quiana Daniels
Childress Nursing Services
Quiana developed the company’s COVID-19 vaccine provider program. The mobile vaccine program worked to provide vaccination to children and adults in BIPOC communities, lower socioeconomic status households, those experiencing homelessness, special needs individuals, elderly, and homebound individuals in the greater Seattle metro area. Quiana led the Childress Nursing Services & Pacific Islander Health Board partnership to address specific vaccine needs for the Pacific Islander community. Additionally, Quiana developed a maternity vaccination program to address the specific immunization Aneeds of pregnant individuals. Because of Quiana’s commitment to equitable vaccine access, Childress Nursing Services is one of the main COVID-19 mobile vaccine providers in King County.
- Shelly Willis
Family Education and Support Services
Shelly has worked to create culturally relevant COVID-19 vaccination strategies for a variety of BIPOC communities, as well as in rural, low income, farmworker, migrant, and refugee populations. Shelly worked to create partnerships with Tribal Nations, which led to regular vaccination events with the Skokomish Tribe. Due to Shelly’s work with a variety of businesses, community partners, and health workers, she contributed to getting more than 5,000 individuals vaccinated from COVID-19.
- Sherri Zorn
Medical Doctor, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Sherri Zorn (two nominations) has been a tireless advocate of immunizations for children in the state of Washington. As the medical leader of the WCAAP Rapid COVID Communications Project, Sherry has worked directly with 16 pediatric and family medicine practices to improve their ability to offer COVID-19 vaccination. A key component of this work was training staff how to talk about COVID-19 vaccine and address vaccine hesitancy with families. In addition to Sherri’s COVID-19 work, she has been a strong advocate for HPV vaccination at ages 9 & 10. She has created training for other pediatric practices to help improve HPV vaccination rates and created videos and other resources to communicate the importance of HPV vaccination. Sherri has worked with many coalitions and medical groups across state lines to advocate for HPV vaccination and its standardization.
- Sherry Whitley
Peninsula Community Health Services
Sherry is the vaccine program coordinator for PCHS and runs the Vaccines For Children program across all clinics. She is often a resource to providers and clinic staff regarding immunization schedules and vaccine presentations. Sherry was integral to PCHS’s COVID-19 vaccine mass vaccination clinics. She helped get sites running early in the pandemic and helped organize the vaccination of the majority of first responders in the region. Sherry’s exceptional organizational skills, love for the community, and passion for vaccines have helped PCHS provide 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines. Due to Sherry’s advocacy, PCHS expanded to offer HepA, HPV, MMR and Varicella vaccines to support the needs of disparate populations in the community. Because of her knowledge, Sherry is known as the “Vaccine Queen,” and regularly gets phone calls from the community who have questions about vaccines.