SNIHC News

Apr 30, 2014

Las Vegas’ Dr. Rutu Ezhuthachan Receives CDC Recognition for Contributions to Childhood Immunization

Dr Ezhuthachan croppedThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC Foundation Recognize Ezhuthachan with Childhood Immunization Champion Award.

Dr. Rutu Ezhuthachan, local pediatrician and Medical Director for United Healthcare, has been named CDC Childhood Immunization Champion for her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in Southern Nevada. She will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the Southern Nevada Health District at 9:30a.m. on Saturday, May 3rd.

Dr. Ezhuthachan is recognized for her work as Chair of the Southern Nevada Immunization & Health Coalition (SNIHC). During her involvement with the coalition, Nevada has moved from the worst ranking in the nation to 39th place for childhood immunization rates. “Despite this improvement, Dr. E. remains passionate and cautions against complacency”, said Stacey Gross, MPH, SNIHC’s Manager. “She leads the charge to protect our community through improved immunization rates and encourages the coalition’s 200+ members to follow her lead”.

In 2013, after practicing as a pediatrician for more than 10 years in the Las Vegas community, Dr. Ezhuthachan was provided the opportunity to work as Medical Director for UnitedHealthcare. “This position allows me to share my clinical experiences and lessons learned in working with families with other physicians and their clinics. Although I miss providing one-on-one patient care, I’m now able to impact immunization rates and protect Nevada’s children on a more systemic level.”

During SNIHC's National Infant Immunization Week activities, Dr. E. will collaborate with coalition partners to offer her unique style of 'edu-tainment', this time targeting licensed childcare providers with a presentation entitled, Combating Dr. Google & Communicating with Parents.  “This is just one of many innovative strategies which demonstrate that Dr. E. is not only an authority on immunizations, but that she has the ability to translate the science and value of vaccines in a meaningful way to a variety of audiences across Nevada”, declared Gross.

Each year, during National Infant Immunization Week, CDC Foundation and CDC honor health professionals and community leaders around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge exemplary individuals who go above and beyond to promote immunization among children in their communities.

 “CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases is committed to protecting infants and young children from vaccine-preventable diseases. We work with and rely on many dedicated individuals at the state and local levels to ensure that children are fully protected from 14 serious and sometimes deadly diseases before their second birthday by vaccinating them,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General for the United States Public Health Service and Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “The Childhood Immunization Champion award is a way for CDC to recognize and honor the work immunization leaders for their tremendous efforts surrounding childhood immunizations and what better time  to show appreciation for their outstanding commitment to children’s health than National Infant Immunization Week.”

CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of healthcare professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. State Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and notified CDC of their recommendations. One winner was selected in each of the 30 participating states and one from the District of Columbia.  For more information about other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/champions.