Genesis Flu-Free QC Earns Kudos From IA Governor
Vaccinations help to make
The third-graders at Davenport’s
Eisenhower School raised their hands
high when asked if they had received
their flu shot.
After all, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was
watching. The sting of last fall’s shot was
about to reap its reward.
Not only were they proud to be flu-free,
but they had contributed to the
Governor’s effort to make Iowa the
healthiest state in the nation by 2016.
Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim
Reynolds visited Genesis Medical
Center, Davenport last Friday to
recognize the Genesis Flu-Free Quad
Cities initiative. In its fifth year, the
program gave nearly 9,500 free flu shots
in 80 elementary schools last fall. While
there, the state leaders sat down to a
healthy breakfast with the third-graders
from teacher Diane Stensrud’s class.
“We want to thank Genesis for its
leadership in health, and we appreciate
you students at Eisenhower for being so
committed to your own personal health
and well-being,” Gov. Branstad said.
“We think it’s great you’re starting early.
Eat nutritious food, get an adequate
amount of exercise and a good night’s
sleep, as well as vaccinations to protect
yourself against diseases.”
Reynolds added, “Turn that TV off, grab
the apple and go outside and play.”
Gov. Branstad gave an update on the
Healthiest State Initiative, a privatelyled,
publicly endorsed effort that is
engaging Iowa citizens to improve their
overall health. A centerpiece of the
effort is the Blue Zones Project, a
collaboration between Wellmark Blue
Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways.
The cities of Davenport, Clinton and
Muscatine are among 11 finalists to
becoming a Blue Zones demonstration
site. The project is based on Blue Zones
principles by author Dan Buettner that
employ evidence-based ways to help
people live longer, better lives.
Iowa now ranks as the 16th healthiest
state in the nation -- up from its earlier
ranking as the 19th, according to the
Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index.
“We’ve gone from 19th to 16th, but we
want to be No. 1 in five years,” Gov.
Branstad said. “I congratulate
Davenport for being one of the
communities competing to be a Blue
Zone. The only way we’re going to
solve the health crisis in America is to
get everyone to take ownership in their
own health first.”
Genesis also is playing a role in helping
Iowa become the healthiest state in the
nation, said Doug Cropper, President
and CEO of Genesis Health System.
“There are a number of things health
systems can do in collaboration with
other key partners to be able to
accomplish this,” he said.
“I know the Governor shares the Genesis
belief that routine, appropriate
vaccinations are a key part of what’s going
to keep our state healthy and moving
forward,” added Ken Croken, Vice
President of Corporate Communications
and Business Development.
Flu-Free Quad Cities is a massive
community effort and requires fundraising
each year by the Genesis Health Services
Michele Cullen, R.N., Community Health
Manager for Genesis VNA, has led the
Flu-Free Quad Cities initiative since it
began as a pilot program in 2007.
“It’s wonderful that the Governor has
come to recognize the program and the
good that it does,” Cullen said.
“Eisenhower School has always been very
supportive of our Flu-Free initiative, and
it’s great the kids could come and meet
In total, Genesis vaccinated nearly 35,000
people for seasonal influenza since last
This included: 2,087 vaccinations at public
flu clinics; 5,401 vaccinations provided by
Genesis Occupational Health to Quad
Cities employers and their employees;
10,645 patients at Genesis Health Group
offices; and, more than1,200 hospital
That’s in addition to the nearly 9,500
elementary school children through Flu-
“This year’s flu season has been very mild
up until a couple of weeks ago,” Cullen
said. “It was sporadic, and now we’ve
gone to low flu activity. We’re glad it
hasn’t been a big flu season. We hope our
Genesis Flu-Free program has had some
impact on that.”
Student Reid Gorham, 9, enjoyed meeting
the Governor, and has grown accustomed
to the annual shot. “The nurses do the
shot very nicely. You kind of forget it
hurts,” he said.
Reid and his Eisenhower classmates have
been studying Iowa and came prepared
with questions for the state leaders.
They wowed everyone by reciting the
Gettysburg Address, the Preamble to the
Constitution, the statement of rights of
the Declaration of Independence and the
Greek alphabet. They also invited the
Governor to a cowboy overnight and
rodeo at the school.
“I have plans to go out to dinner with my
wife tonight,” the Governor answered. “I
never miss an opportunity to go out with