Group Health Foundation Programs
The Group Health Childhood Immunization Initiative
Vaccines are the most effective way to protect children against diseases. Group Health is working to raise immunization rates in Washington State with a two-part approach:
The Partnership for Innovation
- Building solutions for vaccine hesitancy - A growing number of parents question the safety of vaccines and some are choosing to opt out of immunizing their children - putting children and communities at risk. The Foundation provides tools and resources for parents and health care providers to educate parents about the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Providing vaccines for kids who fall through the cracks – Working with school districts and health departments, donors helped get nearly 17,000 kids immunized since the program began in 2008.
The Partnership seeks to enhance the quality of care, improve patient satisfaction and reduce costs. Grants support rigorous, scientific evaluations of pilot projects that hold the potential to answer some of the biggest challenges facing health care today. To date the program has funded 31 pilot projects throughout our medical centers.
Donor Designated Funds
Grateful patients contribute directly to care programs in departments such as Hospice, Oncology, Family Practice and many others. Donors often contribute to these programs through a variety of funds to say thank you for the compassion and expert care they or a loved one received at Group Health.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012 Washington state experienced a whooping cough epidemic. Nearly 5,000 cases were reported - compared to 800 in 2011. Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, affects the lungs and respiratory system and spreads very easily. While adults and teens typically experience milder symptoms, the illness is much more serious for infants and young children. Whooping cough can also lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.
In partnership with public health agencies, the Group Health Foundation responded to this public health crisis with free vaccine clinics. Our primary goal was to get the word out about the epidemic and encourage people to get vaccinated.
Although we're still unsure what 2013 will hold for new cases of whooping cough in our state, the need to raise awareness about this dangerous disease and how to prevent it remains. The Foundation, with the support of donors, will continue to raise awareness about whooping cough (and other vaccine-preventable diseases) and the need for vaccination so that we don't experience another epidemic like the one we had in 2012.