Dedication, passion, attention to detail – those are the words that describe Carolee Besteman’s unending support of Community Health Center immunization programs.
As Michigan Primary Care Association’s Clinical Consultant, Carolee serves as a resource for Community Health Centers on everything immunization. She educates immunization coordinators and nurses practicing in Michigan Community Health Centers via on-site visits and online tools, and she assesses each Health Center’s immunization programs and then tailors technical assistance to help them continually improve. Since the world of immunizations and recommendations surrounding them is constantly changing, her guidance is invaluable.
“There is something new every day when working with immunizations and special populations. It’s such a great team to work with — staff from the Health Centers, Local Health Departments, the Divison of Immunizations at the Michigan Department of Community Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Carolee.
In addition to all that she does on a daily basis, Carolee has been a special advocate for the migrant farmworker community by addressing, not only in Michigan but on a national level, the needs of this special and very mobile population. She believes so strongly in providing protection against preventable diseases that she even dedicated a summer to administering polio vaccine to local residents of small villages in Bangladesh.
“Carolee has dedicated herself to the process of disease prevention by not only providing immunizations but almost more importantly for making sure that others are very well versed in this process as well,” said Ann Avery, MSN, CPNP, FNP-BC, Medical Services Director of Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc., a Migrant Health Center in northwest Michigan. “She keeps us all aware of new vaccines, what to do during shortages, what vaccine preparations are available in other countries, and how to make the Michigan Care Improvement Registry work for us as well. Without her ongoing expertise and willingness to assist, I know my organization would not be as successful as we are in ensuring that our clients are protected against preventable diseases.”
For her outstanding achievement in immunizing Michigan residents, Carolee is being honored by the Alliance for Immunization in Michigan (AIM). AIM is a coalition of organizations that focuses on improving all facets of immunization services in Michigan. Founded in 1994 in response to Michigan’s immunization rates being lowest in the nation, AIM’s mission is to promote immunizations across the lifespan through a coalition of health care professionals and agencies. Tops on its list is raising the age appropriate immunization levels of all Michigan children to at least 90%; raising awareness among health care providers and the public of the importance of immunization across the lifespan; promoting participation in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry by all health care providers; and expanding AIM coalition education and development.
“Michigan Primary Care Association applauds AIM for recognizing Carolee’s outstanding achievement in immunizing Michigan residents. We are thankful for Carolee’s dedication to improving the health of individuals and communities as a valued member of the MPCA team, assisting all of Michigan’s Community Health Centers in providing quality, comprehensive primary and preventive health care.” said Rebecca Cienki, MPH, MPCA’s Director of Policy and Planning.