April 29, 2019
Southwest Minnesota nurse honored with CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award
Gloria Tobias from Countryside Public Health recognized as part of National Infant Immunization Week
Gloria Tobias, RN, PHN, of Madison, Minn. has been named a 2019 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion for her dedication to promoting childhood immunization in Minnesota.
As the disease prevention and control coordinator for Countryside Public Health, Tobias has been a trusted immunization resource for clinic staff, hospitals, child care facilities, school nurses and parents for more than 30 years.
In her role, Tobias works with her team to identify pockets of low childhood immunization rates and implement strategies to raise rates. In 2017, she led an effort to identify children who did not have at least one dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine documented in the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC). She reached out to these families to provide education and resources about MMR vaccine as other areas of the state experienced a measles outbreak.
“Gloria embodies what an immunization champion is supposed to be, from her perseverance to her intelligence to her compassion,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of the MDH Infectious Disease Division. “We know what an asset she is at the local level in helping to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases, so it is great to see her receiving this national recognition.”
Tobias’ dedication has helped the five southwestern Minnesota counties served by Countryside Public Health to maintain high immunization rates for the primary childhood immunization series that protects children from 14 serious diseases by age 2. She consistently makes sure staff are up to date on the latest immunization recommendations and best practices.
Along with her day-to-day work, Tobias is also a long-time member of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Minnesota Immunization Practices Advisory Committee. She and other members of the committee offer feedback to the MDH Immunization Program so they can collectively work to protect all Minnesotans from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases stems from a personal connection for Tobias. Her husband’s sister died from polio in the 1950s at 10 years old. Tobias said that when she talks to others about the importance of immunization, she shares that she never got to meet her sister-in-law, so they understand the true impact these diseases can have.
“Gloria is dedicated and committed to the health of the entire state in her immunization and disease prevention work,”said Elizabeth Auch, administrator, Countryside Public Health. “We are so proud to have her on our team.”
Each year during National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation honor health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Awards [link expired]. These awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of people who strive to ensure that children in their communities are fully immunized.
CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates and other immunization leaders. State immunization programs coordinated the nomination process and submitted nominees to CDC. One winner was selected in each of the participating states and the District of Columbia.