April 27, 2006

Contact: Lauren Cruse (505) 272-3690

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(UNM, Albuquerque) - On Friday, April 28, the University of New Mexico College of Nursing (UNM CON) Faculty Practice Nurse Clinic (FPNC) will be recognized at a New Mexico Immunization Coalition awards dinner for achieving an immunization rate above 90 percent.

The awards dinner is part of New Mexico's events commemorating National Infant Immunization Week, Vaccination Week in the Americas and Childhood Immunization Awareness Month in New Mexico.

Located in Albuquerque's North Valley at the Los Griegos Community Center, the FPNC is completely managed by CON faculty and is a teaching site for CON students. The clinic is a general family practice center that sees all ages with 60 percent being infants and pediatric patients.

Family Nurse Practitioner and day-to-day manager of the FPNC, Jim Stapleton, MSN, FNP, said the clinic faces some challenges in getting children vaccinated, but felt that most of the families that visit do a good job of keeping their children updated.

"Most of the population that comes to our clinic makes sure to keep their children updated on vaccinations," said Stapleton. "Our providers also make a direct effort to update children every time they come in for regular appointments."

To also help bolster the immunization rate, the FPNC offers a free immunization clinic twice a year. In its last free clinic on April 1, the FPNC saw at least 73 children and gave out over 200 immunizations. The next free clinic is expected to be held in late September or October.

The 90 percent rate for immunization is a state and national goal. Stapleton said the Department of Health's yearly audits is a big help to keeping the clinic on track toward the goal as it shows which vaccinations need to increase its numbers.

The FPNC is the only advanced practice nurse clinic in a medically designated underserved area in the greater Albuquerque area. The free immunization clinics held twice a year are primarily coordinated by undergraduate nursing students in their senior years and mostly staffed by CON students. Stapleton views immunization awareness as a big part of a nurses training.

"As nurse practitioners, the key to our training is to prevent health problems," said Stapleton. "With these immunizations we're talking less illness, less disease and less death. Immunization is a definite key part to early childhood health."

The New Mexico Immunization Coalition (NMIC) is a statewide public/private partnership committed to improving New Mexico's immunization rates. The goal of the NMIC is to achieve on-time age-appropriate immunization of 90 percent of all people living in New Mexico by the year 2010.