News release: Diane Peterson receives Childhood Immunization Champion Award from CDC

News Release
April 23, 2012
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Diane Peterson receives Childhood Immunization Champion Award from CDC

Minnesota resident joins winners from other states in inaugural year of recognition

Diane Peterson of Shoreview has been named the Minnesota recipient of the first CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award.

The award recognizes up to one individual in each state and the District of Columbia annually who makes a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization. The award is given jointly by CDC and the CDC Foundation. Award recipients for the inaugural year were announced Monday as part of National Infant Immunization Week April 21-28.

“All of us in the immunization program are grateful to Diane for her contributions to immunization over the years. Her work is greatly appreciated and utilized both locally and nationally,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Diane Peterson’s career in immunization, spanning nearly 40 years, has been devoted to increasing the number of children in Minnesota and nationally who are immunized and to improving the safety and effectiveness with which vaccines are delivered to them. She is currently Associate Director for Immunization Projects with the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), based in Minnesota.

She began her career in immunizations when she joined the immunization section at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in 1974. She led major projects, including developing policies to equitably distribute vaccine resources to children statewide, working with legislators to ensure passage of laws that increase immunization rates in childcare facilities and schools, helping initiate Minnesota’s immunization registry, creating the initial plan for Minnesota’s implementation of the federal Vaccines for Children program, developing innovative education materials for health care professionals and the public and promoting immunization to the media, parents and others through her role as MDH spokesperson.

Peterson’s tireless commitment to protecting children continues today in her work at the IAC, where she develops immunization education materials for health care providers and parents and helps formulate sound state and national immunization policy. She has been with the IAC since 2001.
A selection committee of six Minnesota immunization professionals was convened to help select an awardee. The selection committee consisted of two MDH staff and four individuals from various roles such as local public health, a pediatrician, and tribal health. Peterson was selected from among eight other candidates for nomination to CDC. CDC reviewed and confirmed all state’s selected awardees.

More information about the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award can be found at

For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications

Andrea Ahneman
Immunizations, TB and Int’l. Health