A well deserved appointment:
Posted on Fri, Jun. 11, 2004
Pediatric nurse named to U.S. panel
Stinchfield to work on immunization policy
BY LENORA CHU
A St. Paul children's practitioner has become the first nurse ever appointed to a committee of disease experts who guide U.S. immunization policy.
Patsy Stinchfield, 46, was appointed Thursday to the 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.
A pediatric nurse with Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minneapolis and St. Paul since 1987, Stinchfield said she'll bring hands-on immunization experience to the committee, which is mostly comprised of researchers.
"My experience is more on the operational and practical vaccine delivery side," Stinchfield said during a phone interview Thursday.
"The voice I hope to bring is how, when we make a vaccine policy, is this going to impact the community clinics in America," she said.
As director of infectious disease and immunology at Children's, Stinchfield oversees the Children's Immunization Project, a community collaborative she spearheaded after a 1990 outbreak of measles in the Twin Cities killed three children and infected hundreds more.
Since then, her efforts to improve immunization rates have included helping to bring on-time immunization rates among Minnesota 2-year-olds up from 57 percent in 1988 to 82 percent in 2002.
"Patsy has demonstrated time and time again that she possesses a blend of exceptional capability and heartfelt commitment to improving children's health," said Julie Morath, chief operating officer of Children's.
Stinchfield will serve a four-year term on the committee, which answers to Thompson and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The committee meets for a two-day session three times a year in Atlanta, where the CDC is located.
Stinchfield was nominated several years ago for the position by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, for whom she once served as Minnesota chapter president.
She said the association and other nursing organizations have lobbied "pretty hard and had people write letters on my behalf" to get a nurse appointed to the committee.
Stinchfield chairs the Minnesota Department of Health Immunization Practices Advisory Committee and serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.
She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Moorhead State University and her master's degree in nursing from the University of Utah.