Posts Tagged ‘Betty Bumpers’

Every Child By Two Co-founder and President Rosalynn Carter Celebrates 90th Birthday

August 18, 2017 1 comment

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

Every Child By Two’s beloved co-founder and President, Rosalynn Carter, is celebrating her 90th birthday today.  

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Mrs. Carter continues to inspire all who know her through her persistent commitment to the health and well-being of people throughout the world. Her compassion for those in need is the motivating force that drives the Every Child By Two (ECBT) staff to ensure that everyone, at every age, is protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Many of our fellow advocates have had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Carter over the past forty years as she traveled to every state in our great nation alongside her good friend and fellow Every Child By Two Co-founder Betty Bumpers.

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In each town they visited, she and Mrs. Bumpers met with public health and community leaders.Together they discussed immunization challenges and helped to build immunization coalitions across the nation.  Many of these coalitions still exist today and continue the important work of ensuring that the public and healthcare providers are educated about infectious diseases and the vaccines that prevent them.

Through her work at the Carter Center and the Rosalynn Carter Institute For Caregiving, she continues to advocate for mental health, caregiving, global health, human rights, and conflict resolution.

Over the past twenty-six years, Mrs. Carter has unfailingly supported the staff and board in our efforts to fulfill the critical mission of Every Child By Two and the Vaccinate Your Family program.  

Thank you Mrs. Carter for all that you have done, and continue to do, to help people throughout the world.

You mean the world to all of us!


If you would like to join Every Child By Two in our efforts to ensure that all children and their families receive timely immunizations consider

A Tribute to Senator Dale Bumpers; Staunch Advocate for Public Health

January 5, 2016 8 comments
By Amy Pisani, Executive Director of Every Child By Two


Dale Bumpers passed away on New Year’s Day, 2016.  He will be remembered by many as a staunch advocate for civil rights, a defender of the constitution and one of the greatest orators in the history of the Senate.  But for those of us who dedicate our lives to public health, he will be best known for the role he played in helping to save the lives of millions of children throughout the world.

For most parents in America today, having our children vaccinated has become a rite of passage.  Nearly all insurance companies cover vaccines at no cost to families.  For the economically disadvantaged, underinsured and uninsured, vaccines are free of charge, and finding a delivery site and/or provider is fairly simple.

In 1925, the birth year of Former Senator Dale Bumpers, this was hardly the case.  Instead, families suffered the devastating effects of diseases including polio, measles, rubella and diphtheria, which regularly killed or maimed children. In the small town of Charleston, Arkansas, where Dale Bumpers was raised, childhood illnesses were the rite of passage and while vaccines would be licensed decades later, healthcare delivery remained fragmented until he and others took the lead years later.

PD_0030 (2)While deadly diseases were fairly commonplace in the pre-vaccine era, a strategic battle to defeat them was brewing.  This battle would have many heroes including the incredible scientists who develop vaccines and the dedicated public health workers who travel to the far corners of the earth delivering vaccines.  Yet, there are two public servants whose names may not be as well-known as that of Jonas Salk, but who deserve a great deal of credit in the fight against communicable diseases.  In a rural town of Charleston, Arkansas in 1949 a small town lawyer named Dale Bumpers married his high school sweetheart, Betty Flanagan Bumpers.  This ‘dynamic duo’ would soon take reign and become public health heroes.

Back in the 1960s, as polio and measles vaccines were becoming available, the demand was high for a medicine that had the potential to save children from lifelong disability and death.   As each new vaccine was developed and licensed, campaigns were established to vaccinate the children of the U.S., yet there was little to no organized method to ensure that all children were being offered protection from diseases that were devastating families in every town throughout America.

Betty Bumpers often reminisced about her childhood in Arkansas where she saw family after family lose loved ones to diseases including diphtheria.  She credited her mother with her family’s good health.  She understood the importance of good hygiene to stave off illnesses and insisted on hand washing.  She also taught Betty the method of pouring boiled water over the dishes after they were cleaned.  Later, as an art teacher in her public school system, Betty sadly recalled how many of her students fell ill from polio and diphtheria and how it had influenced her to make vaccinations her life’s work.

When Dale Bumpers became the Governor of Arkansas in 1970, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approached First Lady Betty Bumpers to request her participation in childhood immunization efforts.  As a board member of the Arkansas Visiting Nurse association, Betty had a real understanding of the unmet needs of her community.  She created a coalition of leaders from every organization and government entity that dealt with children’s health and wellbeing in Arkansas and made incredible strides raising the immunization rates of her home state.

During his four years in office, Governor Bumpers made significant strides in improving healthcare throughout Arkansas.  He expanded enrollment in the state medical school, created loan-forgiveness programs for medical students who spent five years practicing in rural towns, established regional residency programs to distribute young doctors across underserved parts of the state and expanded prescription writing privileges to osteopaths statewide, all in an effort to ensure that healthcare was accessible to the entire state.

Following his 1975 election, Dale was elected to the U.S. Senate, and upon arriving in Washington made childhood immunization policies a priority throughout his 24 year career in Congress. Learning how to
Freed_7947_0110galvanize political leaders and gaining insight into the inner workings of public and private healthcare at the state level had helped prepare the Bumpers for the national battle against preventable diseases and both Dale and Betty Bumpers were instrumental in shaping and fortifying the infrastructure of today’s national immunization program.

Thankfully, the U.S. no longer has a fragmented, underfunded system of vaccinating children. However, in 1976 the budget for immunization had been cut to $4.96 million from $6.2 million and the country was in the midst of a major measles outbreak.  It was Dale Bumpers who took the reins and during the two decades he spent as a member of Congress and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he helped his colleagues understand the impact that congressional funding cuts had on disease prevention.



It was early in the Carter Administration when Betty Bumpers forged what would become a lifelong partnership with First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Read more…

Betty Bumpers Inducted into Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame

September 1, 2015 2 comments

Arkansas Women's Hall of Fame 082715No15Most of us go through life trying our best to do the right thing.  It’s one thing to dream about making a big impact on this world, or even to advocate for issues we’re passionate about.  It’s quite another to dedicate half a decade towards saving lives.

Every Child By Two co-founder Betty Bumpers has dedicated her life to children’s health and world peace.  She has spent a lifetime inspiring others in her state, our nation and throughout the world.

That’s why we’re so proud that she has been inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame  for dedicating her life to issues affecting children’s health, empowering women, and the cause of world peace.  Betty was surrounded by her family and friends last week at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas where she received her award.

As a former art teacher, educated at Iowa State, the University of Arkansas, and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, Betty is also a mother of three and the grandmother of seven. But what people admire about Betty is that when she sees a need for something to be done, she commits herself to fulfilling it.

Shortly after she became the First Lady of Arkansas, Betty grew concerned that the state of Arkansas had one of the lowest immunization rates in the nation.

Betty Bumpers attended the induction ceremony surrounded by her children, grandchildren, cousins and friends.

Betty Bumpers attended the induction ceremony surrounded by her children, grandchildren, cousins and friends.

To help address the problem she 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 stop there.

With the progress made in Arkansas, Betty 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. That’s when Betty joined forces with Rosalynn Carter to lead the first federal initiative in comprehensive childhood immunization.

Read more…

Betty Bumpers: A Lifetime of Service and Volunteerism

September 13, 2012 53 comments

Earlier this week the stories and images of September 11, 2001 not only reminded me of how fragile life can be, but also how resilient people are in the face of adversity.    These impressions reinforced my lifelong desire to always try my best to help others.  As I continue to identify admirable causes and spend my time volunteering within my community, I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed with all my commitments.  These are the moments when I gain reassurance from the many women who have shown me the way.  Those women that I consider to be important mentors and role models.

Betty Bumpers (second from left) campaigned with First Lady Rosalynn Carter (second from right) to change state immunization laws.

This summer, I was privileged to hear one of these women inspire a room full of immunization advocates.  After just a few moments of listening to Betty Bumpers, it became obvious that her success was determined by her compassion and  committment to others.  This is why it comes as no surprise that at the age of 87 she has been selected for a lifetime achievement award based on her service and volunteerism. Back in April, Betty Bumpers was honored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Community Service and Non-profit Support with the Billie Ann Myers Paragon Award for her promotion of volunteerism and childhood vaccinations.Sherry Middleton, the DCSNS director, presented the award during a Summit conference in Little Rock and explained,

“Betty Bumpers embodies what the Paragon Award stands for.  Through her volunteerism and leadership, she has caused significant improvement in the quality of life for all Arkansans.”

While this award recognized her service in the state of Arkansas, Betty has helped improve the quality of lives all across this country.  In an interview published in Arkansas Business, Betty details how she became involved with childhood immunization issues.  She explains how, as a governor’s wife, she was asked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help educate people about vaccines.  While she agreed to the challenge, she admits that she was left  “figuring out how we could do it”. Read more…

Celebrating 20 Years of Saving Lives Through Immunization

October 20, 2011 9 comments

Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Every Child By Two

It’s not often enough that we recognize the many important accomplishments made in regards to childhood immunizations over recent decades.   Just last week, colleagues traveled from far and wide to join together at the majestic Smithsonian Portrait Gallery and American Art museum to honor the  successes of vaccines, and the ongoing collaborations between dedicated individuals that make the field of vaccines such an incredible place to work.

Every Child By Two (ECBT) hosted the celebration to commemorate their 20th Anniversary and to honor the countless individuals who strive every day to ensure the health of children worldwide.  ECBT’s Executive Director, Amy Pisani, welcomed guests and explained why she believes that the people who work in the field of vaccines remain active in the field for a lifetime.

“I believe it is due to the truly collaborative spirit that defines our field.  The vaccine community does not compete like many other fields.  Instead there is an unfailing willingness to work together as a powerful force to ensure that needed programs are developed and shared with one another for the good of public’s health.”  She concluded her comments by stating, “Without your willingness to collaborate with one another and ECBT on the mission to ensure the timely vaccination of all children, we would not be celebrating the incredible strides made in vaccines over the past several decades.”

Dr. Richard Besser as Master of Ceremonies

Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, of ABC News, was an extraordinary master of ceremonies for the evening.  It was intriguing to hear how Dr. Besser’s expansive career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has contributed to his perspective on immunizations and how his work culminated with his appointment as Acting CDC Director.  Now, in his position within the media, he is able to affirm the struggles that we face in attempting to “make news” out of the positive benefits of timely vaccinations.  Though as Dr. Besser admitted, it may not always be easy to make the pitch, Dr. Besser’s persistent coverage of vaccine-related news stories are stellar examples of how he has been able to educate viewers regarding the science of vaccines and turn stories of disease prevention into actionable news. Read more…

I Am Only One, But Still I Am One

August 9, 2011 2 comments

Shot of Prevention will be highlighting various vaccine advocates in guest posts this week.  We would like to thank Frankie Milley, Founder and National Executive Director of Meningitis Angels, for submitting this post in honor of National Immunization Month.

Meningitis survivor Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

August is National Immunization Month in America and I am once again drawn back to a time when my fellow elementary classmates were lined up in the school gym or cafeteria and given our shots or our sugar cube with the polio vaccine. I think back to a time before there were ACIP recommendations and/or mandates for middle school entry for adolescents for varicella, Tdap, meningitis, HPV and other life saving vaccines.

Mostly, I am drawn back to a time when my only child Ryan died from meningococcal meningitis long before these recommendations. Thus began my life long advocacy work to make sure all are protected from as many deadly, debilitating diseases as possible.

We have made great strides in protecting our children from deadly vaccine preventable diseases. The dedicated men and women of ACIP have worked hard to protect our kids. As organizations like Meningitis Angels, Every Child by Two, PKIDS, the Immunization Action Coalition, public heath departments and various others partner to ensure people are educated on, and protected from, deadly diseases, we find our work must not only continue, but strengthen. Read more…