the norton sound region Children's Coalition
Nonprofit Organization - Association - Public/Private Partnership Award
The Norton Sound Region comprises of a very remote area of Alaska. Accessible mostly by small airplanes where traditional healthcare is difficult to accomplish, Norton Sound Health Corporation provides services to Nome and 15 surrounding village communities that make up the Norton Sound Region.
With the first pharmacist-driven collaborative agreement in 2012, pharmacists started vaccinating adult patients with influenza, pneumococcal, and zoster vaccines. Moving forward to August of 2017, the healthcare team agreed that pharmacists should not be limited to vaccinating only adult patients with three vaccines. Pharmacists were approved to vaccinate all patients regardless of age with any vaccine that was indicated.
With physician buy-in, innovation in reducing healthcare barriers, and advocacy for necessary childhood vaccines, a team – comprised of a physician, 2 pharmacists, a nurse, and community health aides - increased completed vaccination series from 24% to 47%, saw more than70 children and administered 212 vaccinations in the village community of Shishmaref.
The success of this trip created The Norton Sound Region Children's Coalition lead by two physicians, Dr. Kyle Pohl and Dr. Jay Flynn, and two clinical pharmacists, Dr. R. Kylea Goff and Dr. Heather Lefebvre. The focus of the coalition is to not only see pediatric patients for well-child visits and immunizations but also to provide education for parents and communities on the importance of children’s wellness. A Facebook education page for the region was created, a detailed report identifying our children’s healthcare needs was developed, and pharmacists/pharmacy students have provided presentations about wellness and vaccines within the local school system.
The pediatric team has visited 14 villages with more than 77 days of clinic and have completed over 1300 well-child visits. From January 1, 2018 through July 15, 2019, the pharmacists of the team administered close to 8,000 immunizations. To show the significance for this data: this past September, the pediatric team traveled to the village community of Brevig Mission and over a 3-day span, the 366 vaccinations were administered, and 55 well-child exams were completed; raising the completion rate in Brevig from 22% to 74.39%. In October of 2017, our region was at 60% (female) & 49% (male) for completed HPV series. In October of 2018, we are at 88% and 86%, respectively!
Our pharmacists continue to find additional opportunities to decrease barriers and provide immunizations throughout the region decreasing the risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. Without the support of the physicians and the value of pharmacists, this coalition would not have been so successful.