Sioux Center Community Hospital building

Joint effort helps immunize students

The Sioux Center and Hull Medical Clinics have partnered with Community Health Partners to ensure more students receive their immunizations.

Each year, local student athletes undergo an athletic physical. Clinic physicians and nurse practitioners visit area schools to conduct these athletic physicals. Because of the large number of students that come through for physicals, Medical Clinic staff and Community Health Partners decided this would be a great time to catch students up on their recommended immunizations.

These area schools include Sioux Center Community Schools, Boyden-Hull, Hull Christian, and Western Christian. The three recommended immunizations given were the TDAP (tetnus/diphtheria/acellular pertussis), MCV4 (meningococcal), and Varicella (chickenpox).

"Quite often these vaccines are missed because kids between grades 6 and 12 don't routinely visit the clinic for well child exams," said Sarah Te Grotenhuis, RN, nurse manager at the Sioux Center Medical Clinic. "Offering vaccines during the athletic physical ensures that more students receive these important immunizations."

With the goal of increasing these recommended immunizations in this patient population, Sioux Center Medical Clinic staff set about determining ways in which they could make it convenient for the student and their parents. The athletic physical sessions came to mind as just the right opportunity to accomplish both for the student and the parents.

The Sioux Center Medical Clinic and Community Health Partners have worked collaboratively before to offer vaccinations to students of local school districts. Sioux Center Medical Clinic provides the vaccinations for students with health insurance coverage and Community Health Partners provides vaccinations for those individuals without adequate health insurance. Thus all students have the opportunity to update their vaccinations in a timely and convenient manner.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has expressed interest in the joint efforts of the two health organizations.

"We are pleased by the interest of the state in our efforts," Sarah stated. "We feel that combining our efforts is in the best interest of everyone. In this case, adding immunizations to athletic physicals required a lot of additional preparation, and sharing the work load was essential. This joint effort means that students receive the health care that they need at a time that is very convenient."