Published on October 01, 2017

Genesis Knocks Down Barriers For Students

When Davenport students faced the prospect of missing the start of classes because they hadn’t received the required vaccination for meningitis, Genesis stepped up quickly to help.

Barriers for the students and families included cost of the vaccine, cost for the visit to a primary care provider’s office and in some instances, transportation.

Genesis eliminated every barrier by setting up a vaccination clinic at Genesis Medical Center, West Central Park and providing the vaccinations at no cost to the student or family.  The Genesis Foundation paid for the vaccinations, which were administered by Genesis VNA nurses.

About 30 students who faced not being able to enroll at the start of the school year took advantage of the opportunity.

”Please accept our thanks and gratitude for the speedy response Genesis provided during our recent challenge to procure and administer meningococcal vaccine for many of our students,’’ wrote Davenport Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Arthur Tate in a letter to Genesis President and CEO Doug Cropper.  “Genesis came through in noble fashion.  Thank you for being such a great partner to the Davenport Community School District.’’

Beginning in January 2017, students enrolling 7th and 12th grades in Iowa were required to have the meningococcal vaccine. The change was fully implemented at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Ken Croken, chief marketing officer, Genesis Health System, quickly reached out to Genesis Foundation Executive Missy Gowey and Michele Cullen, Genesis community health manager, to organize the vaccination clinic.

“Any obstacles keeping children away from learning are a concern to us at Genesis,’’ said Croken. “Of even greater concern to me was the possible inability of these students to access school-based nutrition programs if they were denied enrollment for failing to meet the vaccination requirement.

“We were happy to be able to help the students meet this important requirement.’’

Meningococcal vaccine helps protect against the bacteria causing meningococcal disease. These infections don’t happen very often, but can be dangerous when they occur.  Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. The two most severe and common illnesses cause by these bacteria include infections of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). Even if they receive treatment, as many as 15 percent of people with meningococcal disease die.

Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person.  The bacteria causing this infection can spread when people have close or lengthy contact with someone’s saliva, for example through kissing or coughing, especially if they are living in the same place.  Teens and young adults are at elevated risk for meningococcal disease.

Employees often practice the Genesis Health System mission of providing compassionate, quality health services to all outside the scope of their positions. We are proud of their service.  

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