News release: Judy Jerde receives Childhood Immunizations Champion Award from CDC

News Release
April 25, 2013

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Judy Jerde receives Childhood Immunizations Champion Award from CDC

Minnesota resident recognized for efforts in promoting childhood immunizations

Judy Jerde of White Bear Lake has been named a Childhood Immunization Champion in recognition of her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization.

Each year, in connection with National Infant Immunization Week, the CDC Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) honor health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge exemplary individuals who go above and beyond to promote or foster immunizations among children 0-2 years old in their communities.

“We’re extremely pleased to present this award to Judy,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for the Minnesota Department of Health. “Her commitment and dedication to improving the lives of children and our communities through immunizations is evident in all she does for HealthPartners and all that she’s accomplished throughout her career.”

Jerde is currently a senior nursing project coordinator with HealthPartners. She began her nursing career with United Hospital in 1974. She earned her bachelors degree from Winona State University and her master’s degree from St. Mary’s College, Winona. She has held a variety of positions in private practice, community health and now HealthPartners.

During her 15 years with HealthPartners, Jerde has worn many hats, but her primary responsibility has always been to make sure clinic teams have the tools and support they need to ensure that children coming in for care are getting the necessary vaccinations. Jerde has often collaborated with others to increase pediatric immunization rates in the community. In 2011, she co-led a quality improvement project focused on decreasing health disparities. Her team focused on increasing pediatric immunization rates among East African patients. After gathering information regarding which vaccines were being declined, reasons for parental refusal, and whether a nurse referral for a follow-up immunization appointment was ordered, the team developed a series of creative and innovative strategies to implement changes to meet the unique challenges of the East African community. According to HealthPartners, Jerde’s work has helped move the rate of children 18-23 months who are up to date on their vaccinations after a clinic visit from around 80 percent before 2012 to 84.7 percent at the end of 2012.

Jerde says she’s motivated in her work by a desire not only to help children but to improve the health of the community. “The great thing about vaccines is that they go beyond protecting the individual who gets the shot; they protect the people around that person as well,” Jerde said. Jerde is well aware of how serious vaccine preventable disease can be. In addition to seeing cases of severe disease in her work, she recalls how her own son became very ill from chicken pox, before a vaccine was an option. That experience reminds her how important high immunization rates are for everyone.

CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health care professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. State and Territorial Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and notified CDC of their recommendations. No more than one winner was selected in each state or territory.

For more information about other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, please visit


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications

Annelise M. Searle
HealthPartners Communications