July 31, 2014

Family Medicine Residency Program awarded senior immunization grant

Family medicine residents to use $10,000 grant to improve influenza and pneumococcal vaccine rates in patients age 65 and older

Five Rivers Family Health CenterThe Five Rivers Health Centers Family Health Center

DAYTON, Ohio—The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program was one of 16 family medicine residency programs nationwide to receive a Senior Immunization Grant Award from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation in June. 

The $10,000 grant will be used to improve influenza and pneumococcal vaccine rates in patients age 65 and older during the 2014-15 flu season, which is October 2014 through March 2015. In addition to the grant, the school received a $1,200 travel scholarship to allow one or more residents to present their findings at the AAFP’s 2015 National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, Aug. 7-9.

During the flu season about 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in people age 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu vaccine protects against influenza viruses. Vaccination also is the best way for those age 65 and older to protect themselves against pneumococcal disease. Most pneumococcal deaths in the United States are in adults, according to the CDC.

The residency’s clinical office, Five Rivers Health Centers Family Health Center, as part of a Federally Qualified Health Center, serves a medically underserved area. The grant will be used to improve immunization rates among patients and fund educational outreach to the surrounding community.

The resident physician team that successfully applied for the grant includes Drs. Pradeep Raju, Achint Choksy, Peter Baldwin, Leslee McElrath, Matthew Nyholm, Clifton Nowell and Omar Siddiqi. WSU Master of Public Health students Kara Yutzy and Linda Lopez also will be involved. Lisa Collier Kellar, M.D., associate professor of family medicine, is working with the resident team to implement improvements in identifying seniors eligible for vaccinations and simplify vaccine administration. In addition, the residents will work with faith-based and community-based organizations, particularly in the African-American community, to inform and educate them about the benefits of vaccinations.

The resident team is partnering with Kate Cauley, Ph.D., director of the WSU Boonshoft School of Medicine Center for Healthy Communities, and the Center for Healthy Communities Community Advisory Board to plan its outreach efforts.

“Most of the money will fund outreach programs in local community centers and churches,” Kellar said. “We want to spread the word that all adults need immunizations, but particularly those with chronic diseases. We treat many adults who have diabetes and chronic lung disease. Immunization will help them prevent pneumonia and influenza and the resulting complications.”