PROVIDENCE - Rhode Island professor and infectious disease specialist Penelope Dennehy, M.D. has been selected as the state's 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion.
CDC launched this annual award program to honor immunization champions in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia during National Infant Immunization Week.
Dr. Dennehy was nominated from a pool of healthcare professionals and other immunization leaders, all of whom have made significant contributions to childhood immunization in Rhode Island. Dr. Dennehy is the director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Hasbro Children's Hospital and a professor of Pediatrics at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School.
"I am honored to be named Rhode Island's CDC Childhood Immunization Champion. We owe the success that we have had in immunizing infants and children in Rhode Island to thousands of committed, dedicated healthcare professionals in our state," said Dr. Dennehy. "We will continue to work together to make sure that all Rhode Island children are fully immunized against every vaccine-preventable disease."
Dr. Dennehy sits on numerous boards and panels that aim to improve immunization rates in Rhode Island, including the Rhode Island Department of Health's Vaccine Advisory Committee, the Rhode Island Hospital Immunization Task Force, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Additionally, she is renowned for her research in the epidemiology and etiology of viral gastroenteritis and viral respiratory disease, rotavirus disease and prevention, and the testing of vaccines and immunobiologics for prevention of rotavirus, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus.
"Through her lifelong passion for childhood immunization, Dr. Dennehy is an inspiration to her colleagues in healthcare," said Michael Fine, M.D., director of HEALTH. "Her work as a researcher and on the front lines at Hasbro Children's Hospital is protecting children and saving lives."
National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition to launching a social media campaign for National Infant Immunization Week, HEALTH partnered with students at the Rhode Island Nurses Institute Middle College Charter School to develop a children's book about the importance of immunization. Copies of the book, "A Gift for Lily," are available for order at http://www.health.ri.gov/forms/onlineordering/
A complete list of the 2013 Childhood Immunization Champions can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/champions/profiles.html