The Continued Legacy of Every Child By Two Co-Founder Betty Bumpers
Oct 13, 2017
Every Child By Two co-founder Betty Bumpers has dedicated her life to advocating for children’s health and has inspired others in her state and throughout the nation to continue her legacy.
Today, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) celebrated 40 years of working to improve the lives of Arkansas children and families. In doing so, they honored a very special co-founder; Betty Bumpers.
As a prominent Arkansan who co-founded the AACF back in 1977, Betty Bumpers served along other notable co-founders, to include the late Dr. Bettye Caldwell, The Honorable Hillary Clinton, Mary Sue Jacobs, Pat Lile, the late Dr. Betty Lowe, Jim Miles, the late Sharon Pallone, Dorothy Nayles, and Judge Olly Neal. Each of these individuals saw the need for an independent force to provide information and education to parents and citizens about Arkansas state’s health policies toward children and families.
To help address problems she saw in Arkansas, Mrs. Bumpers also spearhead a statewide immunization program for childhood vaccinations that brought together the Arkansas League for Nursing, the State Health Department, the Arkansas National Guard, the State Nurses Association, the State Medical Society, the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Arkansas, faith-based organizations, and other volunteers. Her leadership and initiative helped make this project model so successful that eventually the state achieved one of the highest immunization rates in the country, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began using her model for immunization programs across America.
But Betty didn’t just set her sights on improving children’s health in Arkansas.
With the progress made in Arkansas, Mrs. Bumpers decided it was time to work on other states throughout the nation. So, when Jimmy Carter became President, Mrs. Bumpers reached out to First Lady Rosalynn Carter (a fellow former governor’s spouse) who helped articulate to the President the deficits in the country’s immunization program, urging him to work to improve the situation. At that time, only 17 states in the country required immunizations by school age and Betty realized there was a need for a federal initiative in comprehensive childhood immunization.
That’s when, in 1991, this Former First Lady of Arkansas joined forces with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and together the two formed a national non-profit named Every Child By Two (ECBT).
Since then, ECBT has made great strides in addressing a multi-faceted mission which includes:
- protecting families and individuals from vaccine-preventable diseases by raising awareness of the critical need for timely immunizations for people of all ages,
- increasing the public’s understanding of the benefits of vaccines,
- increasing confidence in the safety of vaccines,
- ensuring that all families have access to life-saving vaccines,
- and advocating for policies that support timely vaccination.
Four decades later...
The mission in Arkansas and across the nation hasn’t changed much. Today, both the AACF and ECBT still work to ensure that children and families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives. That’s why Every Child By Two Executive Director, Amy Pisani, traveled to the Arkansas Immunization Action Coalition Conference this week to help inform partners about resources that can help to improve immunization rates in Arkansas.
As Every Child By Two continues to work towards our mission of timely vaccinations for all children, speaking engagements such as this help to honor and preserve the great accomplishments of our co-founder Betty Bumpers.
At Every Child By Two, we will continue to work towards our mission of timely vaccinations for all children through our Vaccinate Your Family program so that we may preserve the great accomplishments of our co-founder Betty Bumpers. Her leadership and achievements continue to serve as an inspiration to us each and every day.
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