Dalton Nurse Receives Federal Recognition for Contributions to Childhood Immunization

May 2, 2016

Joy Bernice Whaley, MSN, APRN-WHNP (retired), a volunteer for the Whitfield County Health Department Children’s Access Clinic in Dalton, Georgia, has been named the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Childhood Immunization Champion for her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in Whitfield County.

Whaley is recognized for more than 40 years of devotion as a public health nurse, working primarily in women’s health and prenatal care. Even after retiring in 1999, Whaley began volunteering for the Whitfield County Health Department and is currently assisting in the department’s Children’s Access Clinic, reviewing immunization records and contacting families whose children are behind on vaccines.

“I am very humbled and honored to have won this award because I know I didn’t get there by myself,” said Whaley. “I’ve been assisted by a wonderful team at the health department who help me with the job I need to do. It’s just a joy every day I’m here!”

Each year during National Infant Immunization Week, CDC and the CDC Foundation honor health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of those individuals who strive to ensure that children in their communities are fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases before the age of 2.

“Ensuring that every child is vaccinated on schedule is critical to protecting our children, schools and communities from outbreaks of serious diseases,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, a pediatrician at CDC and the executive secretary of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. “We could not achieve our goal of protecting children without those committed individuals who promote immunizations at the state and local levels.” 

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. 

“Through the Childhood Immunization Champion awards, CDC and Georgia proudly acknowledge Bernice’s passion, hard work, and commitment to children’s health,” said Marie Smith, RN, BSN, Immunization and Child Health Coordinator for the North Georgia Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Gayle Brannon, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager of the Whitfield County Health Department, said, “Mrs. Whaley is deserving of this recognition. Everyone at the Whitfield County Health Department appreciates her assistance in our work to promote the health of our community.”

For profiles of other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/champions


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