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The Continued Legacy of Every Child By Two Co-Founder Betty Bumpers

October 13, 2017 Leave a comment

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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.

PD_0029 (2)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). 

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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.
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Every Child By Two Co-founders Rosalynn Carter (right) and Betty Bumpers (left).

Four decades later...

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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.

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ECBT co-founder Betty Bumpers pictured with Executive Director, Amy Pisani.

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.

 

“Vaccinate Your Family” Focuses On Vaccines Throughout the Life Span

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 11.18.56 AMToday, in anticipation of its 25-year anniversary, Every Child By Two (ECBT) announced the expansion of its original mission of ensuring timely vaccination of all children by the age of two, to now include the importance of ensuring timely vaccination of people of all ages.

Through successful collaborations with national, state and local immunization partners since the organization’s inception in 1991, ECBT has made enormous strides towards removing immunization delivery barriers; reducing ethnic and racial disparities; educating the public about the importance of timely immunizations and the safety of vaccines; and supporting the development of sound public health policies.

Every Child By Two Executive Director Amy Pisani explains,

“As the science evolved and evidence that young children can be further protected through vaccination of pregnant women, adolescents and adults, our Board of Directors recognized the need to expand the official mission of the organization. We simply could not reach our goal of protecting our nation’s young children unless we also focused on protecting their families, caregivers and other close contacts.”

PD_0006Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Every Child By Two’s Co-founder and President adds,

“As our 25-year anniversary approaches in 2016 it is the perfect time for our Board to assess the successes of the past and reassess where our goals should be focused in the coming years. We have achieved so much over the past 25 years, but until people of all ages are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, we cannot rest.

As part of its expanded mission, ECBT also announced that their popular Vaccinate Your Baby (VYB) website and Facebook page (which reaches nearly seven million followers annually), has been replaced with the new Vaccinate Your Family website and Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page

Changing the names will help in ECBT’s efforts to educate people of all ages about the importance of vaccinating  against a number of diseases that will impact them at different times throughout their lives.

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With the introduction of the new Vaccinate Your Family program, families can now go to ECBT’s social media platforms or the new website (VaccinateYourFamily.org) to obtain information about vaccines needed for pregnant women, children, adolescents and adults.

The new website, created specifically for the public, houses scientifically-accurate information on vaccines needed at each stage of life; details about the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases; answers to questions about the safety of vaccines; and personal stories from families who have been affected by deadly, but preventable infectious diseases.

Additionally, with the launch of this new initiative, ECBT is highlighting a number of new resources to promote the importance of vaccinating grandparents against influenza and whooping cough (also known as pertussis) in an effort to protect those too young to be fully vaccinated, and those who may be immune-compromised.Toolkit promo_Twitter-05

Rosalynn Carter explains the importance of the new initiative when she says,

“Vaccinating against these diseases will not only keep adults healthier, but will also help protect the whole family, including vulnerable newborns who are at higher risk of serious complications from these diseases. Since many grandparents have a personal connection to the vaccine-preventable diseases that used to gravely affect our society, they can also remind their adult children why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to vaccinate all family members.”

Amy Pisani adds,

“No one wants a loved one to be the victim of any illness, but it is especially heartbreaking to lose someone we love, or watch them suffer from a disease that could have been prevented through timely vaccination.  Every Child By Two strives every day to ensure that no more families suffer the loss of a loved one due to a preventable disease.  We take our mission very seriously.”

We hope you will visit the new Vaccinate Your Family website and let us know what you think.  You can also join the conversation on our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page.

 

What Makes an Immunization Champion?

This past weekend concluded National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), during which time various events have been held, both across the country and throughout the world, to educate people about the importance of immunizing children.   There was also a great effort to reach out directly to parents, to answer their immunization questions and provide vaccinations to those in need.

To mark the occasion, Every Child By Two Executive Director, Amy Pisani, was  invited to participate in an NBC interview to further spread the message about NIIW.  This interview, offered for national syndication through NBC local affiliates, was one small way we see vaccine advocates out on the front lines.

However, in recognition of NIIW and the continuing efforts we make each day to educate parents, we would like to applaud the many other vaccine advocates that we have come to know.  You won’t see them on a national broadcast.  We may never even know where they live or where they work.  But they are out there.  Over 18,000 supporters on our Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page.  And many on this very blog.  All working to dispel the dangerous anti-vaccine myths that scare parents into rejecting vaccinations.  Vaccinations that help ensure our public health and the health of our children.

Interestingly enough, since last Friday, we have received over  650 comments on this blog.  I can’t say they were all positive.  In fact, most were not.  However, this is why we applaud our supporters.

Despite a small group of people who have purposely tried to over-run this blog with anti-vaccine sentiment, our supporters have remained firm.  They have received a great deal of criticism, yet it is obvious that our supporters possess a great deal of knowledge and a critical appreciation for scientific reasoning.  They continue to persevere by pointing out the inconsistencies in information and the misrepresentation of the data that is presented by those who oppose vaccines.  They are not enraged with emotion and they do not play to parental fear.  Rather they have continued to challenge people to document reputable sources and cite sound scientific studies.

They are the true immunization champions! 

Unfortunately, for a few who had intended to over-run this blog, their tactics have created their own communication barriers.  Lengthy, duplicate and often repetitive comments received  in quick succession with far too many links, have systematically been identified as spam.  No moderation necessary there.

Please note that at Shot of Prevention, we have always welcomed commentary from all perspectives, as is clearly evident from past posts.  However, in light of the tone that has been demonstrated by a handful of recent commenters, we intend to adhere more strictly to our comment policy.

We appreciate your understanding and continued participation, and we look forward to more robust, yet respectful, conversations.

Washington Post on H1N1: Experts Say Pandemic Strain Could Reemerge

February 23, 2010 1 comment

By Amy Pisani

It seems like we’ve been hearing less about H1N1 recently, but it’s important to be mindful of the uncertainty of this virus, and to continue to protect ourselves through vaccination. Experts are not willing to close the book on H1N1 just yet. According to today’s Washington Post, “Influenza transmission waxes and wanes, and outbreaks of novel pandemic strains occur in particularly unpredictable waves that depend on such variables as human behavior, atmospheric conditions and even competition from other microbes. That places them among the bigger mysteries of epidemiology, the science of disease outbreaks.”

 The Posts David Brown explains that, The ‘Spanish flu’ of 1918 had four waves of greatly differing deadliness, spread over two years. The “Asian flu” of 1957, like the current H1N1 strain, had a late-spring and a fall wave — followed by a third in late winter of 1958. It then took a year off before peaking again in 1960. The ‘Hong Kong flu’ of 1968 had more than a year hiatus between its two waves, with the second infecting nearly as many people as the first.”

Read the full article, here.

Better Late Than Never

February 2, 2010 1 comment

By Amy Pisani

Tonight my small town in Eastern Connecticut will yet again host an immunization clinic at a local high school to provide H1N1 vaccine to the public. Special efforts have been made by our health district to reach out to young children who have not yet received their second dose of vaccine.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children nine and under need two doses in order to be fully protected against the virus.  I am somewhat mortified to admit that I have been remiss in getting my nine and a half year old that second dose.  My son’s story has been told by me on numerous occasions, he was hospitalized as an infant for complications from influenza, an experience I do not wish on my worst enemy. 

I am a consummate supporter of timely vaccination of children.  What is my excuse then?  It seems that work travel and after school activities took priority again and again as clinics were scheduled.  During a recent clinic, I traveled to D.C. to accompany Luke Duvall, Arkansas H1N1 survivor, as he spoke to the press and his Senator about his harrowing experience.  I’ve reiterated his story countless times in an effort to urge friends and neighbors to get vaccinated.  It’s nearly unconscionable that I would then allow this lapse in my own family.  My embarrassing point is that if I am remiss, how many others who do not live and breathe vaccines daily are simply blowing off the CDC’s and Health and Human Services pleas to the public?   I must assume that this number is in the millions based on the number of doses still available.  So tonight I am volunteering at the clinic and my husband and son will be vaccine recipients, come hell or high water!

H1N1 Survivor Urges College Kids To Get Vaccinated Against H1N1

January 28, 2010 3 comments

By Amy Pisani

Speaking with reporters from college newspapers across the country, ECBT spokesperson and H1N1 survivor Luke Duvall, continued his advocacy work by spreading the word about the importance of college students attaining the H1N1 vaccine in the coming month.  Luke was joined on the call by Jason Rzepka Vice President, MTV Public Affairs, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. Stephen Redd from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  MTV and their partner, College News Media partnered with HHS to host this important media call.

Secretary Sebelius, who met with Luke and his family during their advocacy tour in Washington, DC during National Influenza Vaccination Week reiterated the dangers and unpredictable nature of H1N1.  She stated that children between the ages of 18 to 24 have been six times more likely to be hospitalized due to H1N1 compared to all other age groups.  Teens and young adults are particularly vulnerable to the virus because they often live, work, and study in close proximity with other people and unlike older persons have not been exposed to influenza viruses similar to this one before. The Secretary reminded reporters that several years ago physicians became lax in recommending the vaccine following the holidays and the country was hit with a surge of hospitalizations in February and March (the typical peak period of seasonal flu activity).  By vaccinating the larger population more people will be protected she stated.

Luke told reporters that he has become a spokesperson for Every Child By Two to ensure that what happened to him does not happen to any other family.  At the time that Luke became ill, the vaccine was only available to people at high risk, which he wasn’t at the time.  He recalls, “I almost lost my life from not getting vaccinated.  The vaccine can save your life and I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.  My whole family, my county – the entire nation was devastated thanks to 60 Minutes (who aired Luke’s story in great detail)”.  “My teammates didn’t think I’d be alive for Christmas.”

Next, Luke talked about the experience of waking up from his coma. “I can remember the first time I woke up and saw myself in the mirror in rehab.  I was devastated. I thought something was wrong with the mirror.  I lost so much weight and muscle mass that I had worked so hard to gain.  I was angry because I knew there was a virus that I could have gotten vaccinated against but couldn’t get.  It really made me angry.  I wish I’d had the opportunity to get the vaccine.”

It is amazing to meet a young person with so much compassion for others. “My whole family is pro vaccine… it’s not just for yourself…it’s for everyone else.  It’s for the people that you don’t know – it’s for the pregnant women and other children that you don’t know but you could affect their life by not getting the vaccine and not even know it.”  Luke and his family suffered greatly, they witnessed the death of several children from the virus during Luke’s hospitalization and are committed to assuring that others do not suffer needlessly.

Check out this video to see Luke speak about his advocacy efforts during National Influenza Vaccination Week which took place January 10-16.

Small Change Can Make a Big Difference in Haiti

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

By Amy Pisani

I, like the rest of you, have been in disbelief over the devastation in Haiti.  I think the only positive thing to come out of this ordeal is the overwhelming wave of support our country has been able to offer in the midst of this tragedy. It’s truly incredible that more than $300 million has been raised in such a short window of time –  much of it via text messages and phone calls.  Unfortunately though, the relief effort does not yet have the funds to tend to the majority of people in Haiti.  I came across this article on MTV.com that actually spells out some of the tangible items that donations such as yours could be offering the people of Haiti. Even if you don’t think you have much to offer in terms of dollar amount, it’s important to realize that even the smallest amount of money goes a long way. 

This one in particular struck me (for obvious reasons) as impressive: according to UNICEF, $10 will pay for a cold-box vaccine carrier that will help ensure that vaccines reach children in remote areas to protect them from communicable disease, including the many who are stuck in temporary camps.

As you can see, every dollar makes a tangible difference in these victims’ lives. There are so many organizations out there doing great things. I hope you will take a moment to check out some of them, and hopefully support them in any way you can. The New York Times has provided a list which you can check out here.

 Below are some more impressive statistics that your donation can provide, according to the Red Cross:

 » $5 provides a water container to store clean drinking water.

» $10 provides a blanket that is appropriate to the climate and culture of the disaster-affected area.

» $25 provides a family of five with a kitchen set, giving them the ability to cook and serve food (a disaster can destroy even the most basic family possessions and restoring family’s self-sufficiency is essential). This includes two cooking pots, a frying pan, bowls, plates, cups, and utensils.

» $30 provides essential hygiene materials to five people for one month (ensuring adequate hygiene after a disaster is essential in promoting the health of those affected). This includes items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, body soap, laundry soap, toilet paper, sanitary pads, a razor and a towel.

» $60 provides tools for a family of five to build a temporary shelter: two tarps, a rope, hoe, machete, tin snips, handsaw, roofing nails, shovel, long nails, tie wire, claw hammer.

» $100 provides a cooking set, hygiene pack, blankets, and water containers for one family of five following a disaster.

» $500 provides a family tent for a family of five.

 And from UNICEF:

» Tent: For a little over $200, this tent can be used to provide life-saving shelter or to support a clinic or a school in time of crisis.

» School-in-a-Box ($200): UNICEF’s innovative “School-in-a-Box” sets up a temporary school for at least 40 children during times of emergency. Kits provide the chance for children to continue their education during the most extreme crises.

» Vaccine carrier ($10): Cold-box vaccine carriers help ensure that vaccines reach children in remote areas who need them.

» Collapsible water containers ($2 per container): Each container holds 10 liters amount of water and is especially useful for kids carrying water for long distances to ensure that all their water doesn’t spill en route from their water supply. It is also very useful for storing clean, safe water for everyday use.

» Water purification tablets (60 cents for 50 tablets): Each tablet is able to turn 4-5 liters of dirty water into water suitable for drinking. Every day, 4,000 children worldwide die because they do not have access to clean water, according to UNICEF.

» High energy/protein biscuits ($1 per pack): These contain minerals and vitamins and have been developed for malnourished children during emergencies.

» Therapeutic Nut Spread: $77.63 feeds 10 children for one month — therapeutic nut spread is a high protein, peanut-based paste, supplied in a ready-to-use packet. No water is needed for mixing, which means that help can be provided to malnourished children in any situation.

» Therapeutic Milk ($24.75/ 12 liters): A milk-based powder for treatment of severe child malnutrition, this successful formula includes added vegetable fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and boosts the chances of child survival.

» Blanket ($3): Blankets protection from the elements and provide comfort in the more dire of circumstances.

» Oral rehydration salts (7 cents for one package): This solution, containing sugar and salt, treats children suffering from dehydration caused by diarrhea. Approximately 3,500 children die each day from dehydration caused by acute diarrhea, according to UNICEF.

» Soccer ball ($5): Play brings children together and helps restore a sense of normalcy in times of crisis or emergency.