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 2023, nominations were sent to the Department of Health, where a group of health professionals from around Washington state reviewed and selected this year's immunization champion.
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.
2023 Immunization Champion - Mehr Grewal
Founder and Executive Director
Worth A Shot Initiative
Mehr Grewal is a Bellevue High School student who founded the “Worth A Shot” initiative, focused on education and advocacy for COVID-19 vaccines. As a response to vaccine messaging not resonating with members in her community, Mehr and her organization partnered with hospitals, local public health, school districts, and community organizations to host town hall conversations and community vaccination events. Leaning into her existing community relationships and built in trust, Mehr used her voice to advocate to other youth and their families about the importance of vaccination and create educational campaigns to combat vaccine misinformation and build vaccine confidence. Mehr’s efforts to inspire other youth to provide them with the skills to advocate for COVID-19 vaccination in their communities led to increased vaccine confidence across the county and immeasurable positive impacts in the community.
- Alison Boettcher
Providence Mill Creek Pediatrics
Alison is the Practice Manager of the Providence Medical Group North Puget Sound region, where she spearheaded vaccine improvement efforts by training staff with up-to-date practices, collaborating with the Snohomish County Health Department to better understand the pediatric population served and create impactful change to address barriers to vaccination, and implementing workflow improvements to ensure better continuity of care for her patients. Alison works diligently to ensure that her practice is performing to the best of its ability and exemplifies a strong commitment to her staff, providers, and patients.
- Dr. Megan Beaumont
Dr. Megan Beaumont
The Everett Clinic
Dr. Megan Beaumont is a pediatric provider at the Everett Clinic in Snohomish, where she has helped to alleviate fears in vaccination and increase vaccination coverage in her patient population. She advocates and promotes vaccination by having open conversations led with empathy and care to build confidence in her patients and their families. Her work as a pediatrician and beyond have shown her critical efforts in mitigating vaccine preventable diseases and dedication to her pediatric patient population.
- Carrie Lang
School Nurse Supervisor
Bellevue School District
Carrie is the School Nurse Supervisor at Bellevue School District, where she has been instrumental in spearheading vaccinating efforts and single-handedly organized 22 school-based vaccination clinics to provide more than 10,450 doses to students, staff, and volunteers. She partnered with providers and pharmacies to provide COVID-19 immunization clinics in school buildings, utilized non-nursing staff members to help vaccination efforts, created systematic changes to allow low-income families and essential workers priority to sign up for COVID-19 immunizations, and utilized data to identify and tailor approaches to providing support to student populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Carrie has also led MMR vaccination efforts in response to the mumps and measles outbreaks in Washington, increasing MMR vaccine compliance to 75%. Carrie is a data driven advocate while advocating for those disproportionately impacted by vaccine preventable diseases and promoting equitable changes to increase vaccination rates.
- Dr. Tanya Wilke
Dr. Tanya Wilke
Enumclaw Family Medicine
Dr. Tanya Wilke is a provider at Enumclaw Family Medicine and exemplifies strong leadership, innovation, and advocacy while promoting immunizations in a rural community across the lifespan. Dr. Wilke addresses barriers to vaccination faced by rural communities through fostering patient provider relationships to provide patient education and incorporate evidence-based practices. She is a partner in the WCAAP HPV Vax at 9 in Rural Washington project and has increased HPV vaccination rates in her community by emphasizing the importance of promoting HPV vaccination starting at age 9. Dr. Wilke strongly cares about the patients in her community and strongly believes in building a strong, loving, and safe rapport with her patients to build their confidence in vaccination.
- Todd Holloway
Senior Independent Living Advocate
Center for Independence
Todd is a senior advisor at the Center for Independence, a nonprofit community-based organization serving people with disabilities. Upon the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Todd was one of the first volunteers at the Pierce County testing site helping people get tested for COVID-19. He pushes for equitable access for everyone that comes in for a COVID-19 vaccine. Due to his efforts, all participants were able to have their questions and concerns addressed to foster confidence in COVID-19 vaccination.
- Laura Widdice
Health Services Director
Renton School District
Laura is the director of Health Services for the Renton School District, where she leads 20 nurses. With routine immunizations low after the pandemic, she partnered with several health care clinics to set up free immunizations at schools. She staffed these clinics and provided outreach in multiple languages and incentives for families to get vaccinated. Her valiant efforts increased vaccination rates in the school district and continue to do so. She has dedicated her career to whole family and community centered care and advocates for increased access to all routine immunizations.
- Patricia Moore
Western Washington Medical Group
Patricia is a clinic supervisor for Western Washington Medical Group, where she works to train clinical staff on all routine vaccinations and educates physicians on best practices. She serves as spokesperson for her clinic in statewide task forces including the HPV taskforce, collaborates and supports other clinic sites, and inspires her staff to think about the why in their immunization work. She is a lending hand and listening ear to not only those in her organization but has been a monumental help to the Health Department staff in her county. Patricia has an ability to apply a quality lens while also leading with empathy when creating solutions to best supervise clinics and administer vaccines.
- Rebecca Crandell
Rebecca is a clinical trainer, mentor, and educator for HealthPoint’s vaccine program. Rebecca has helped multiple clinics get set up with Vaccines for Children (VFC) programs as well as adult vaccine programs. She creates workflows and collaborates with schools in the area to host vaccination events to ensure community members stay up to date with vaccinations. Rebecca is a point person for any questions related to immunizations and makes sure clinics run smoothly and efficiently.
- Rianne Masuda
Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate
WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Rianne is a Doctor of Pharmacy candidate at Washington State University and serves as the Student National Pharmacy Association Operation Immunization Co-Chair. She has built support for and increased immunization rates in both adult and child populations by helping to facilitate 16 vaccination events for COVID-19 and routine adult and childhood vaccines. She also took ownership of staffing a vaccine clinic for Spokane Regional Health District’s syringe exchange program to increase vaccine access to this population. Rianne is dedicated to addressing health disparities in underserved communities, demonstrated excellent leadership to other pharmacy students, nursing students, and volunteers, and is a valued partner in increasing vaccination rates in the community.
- Tammy York, Emmeline Ong, Anthony Pamintuan, and Deanna Dudley – Seattle Children's Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
Director of Seattle Ambulatory Clinics
COVID-19 Program Manager
The Seattle Children’s Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic was one of the largest COVID-19 vaccine clinics that served over 84,369 community members 6 months and older, expanding its reach beyond its typical patients and into the community. The clinic increased vaccine access to patients with developmental needs with help of a Child Life Specialist and hosted many various school-based clinics in areas with low vaccination rates. The clinic also hosted mobile vaccine clinics to increase vaccine access and expand their community outreach. The dedication of the clinic leaders, including operating the clinic 6 days per week, staffing the clinic utilizing multiple health care professionals, and providing patient education, was crucial to getting community members up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.
- Shelley Dorfman
North Olympic Healthcare Network
Port Angeles, WA
Shelley is an Immunization Coordinator with the North Olympic Healthcare Network, where she created systems to eliminate vaccine waste and vaccine administration errors. She also helped run vaccine reports and created appointments for children to catch up on missed routine immunizations. Through her work, Shelley exemplifies her passion for vaccinations and is an excellent teacher and champion to Medical Assistants on how to best get a patient vaccinated and be equipped with the most up to date vaccine information.
- Ivan Tudela
Social Services Program Specialist 3
Pierce County Human Services – Aging & Disability Resources
Ivan served as the Access and Functional Needs (AFN) Coordinator for Pierce County Emergency Management, where he went above and beyond to ensure that vaccination programs in Pierce County were equitable and carried out with empathy for people with disabilities, those experiencing homelessness, and homebound populations. Ivan coordinated and promoted a successful program called the Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST) to help identify people with access and functional needs and increase vaccine access to this population including providing homebound vaccination visits. Ivan takes on a holistic approach when serving community members and connects people to other services to continue their care beyond vaccinations.
- Vijay Kaza
Fred Meyer Pharmacy
As a passionate pharmacist, Vijay promoted immunization in his community by taking on the roles of being a spokesperson, mentor, trainer, and educator by dispelling common myths about COVID-19 vaccines and using evidence-based strategies to address these concerns and encourage people to get vaccinated. He has established and strengthened partnerships with local health departments, community organizations, and healthcare providers to promote vaccinations and develop innovate immunization programs, such as mobile immunization clinics that reached underserved populations. He has used creative and innovative strategies to address the challenges of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation such as using social media to disseminate accurate information about vaccines and engaging with patients through telehealth visits. He has participated in public health campaigns by advocating for the importance of vaccines and educating policymakers on the benefits of immunization. Through his passion for immunization and dedication to promoting vaccine awareness and increasing vaccine access, Vijay has helped to protect countless individuals from vaccine preventable diseases.
- Deborah Witmer
Resilience & Mitigation Manager
Washington State Department of Commerce
Deborah is a Resilience and Mitigation Manager for the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Energy Resilience and Emergency Management Office, where she collaborated with partners serving people with disabilities to develop an accessible COVID-19 testing plan and take lessons learned from this plan to provide accessible vaccinations through pop-up vaccination clinics serving deaf and blind people. Deborah has helped to increase vaccine access to people with disabilities and prevent health disparities experienced by this population.
Previous Immunization Award Champions
2022 Immunization Champion
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.