Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

First Steps Phase I Initiative: Improving Immunizations for Children and Adolescents


This evalution report, authored by research staff at the USM Muskie School, assesses the change in immunization rates in participating pediatric and family practices that serve a high volume of children insured by MaineCare (Maine's Medicaid system). The authors also summarize lessons learned in implementing changes in practices and challenges in using the immunization measures at the practice-level to inform quality improvement.

Background: Through the Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) grant, Maine Quality Counts is leading the First STEPS (Strengthening Together Early Prevention Services) Learning Initiative to support Maine’s primary care practices in improving preventive and screening processes for children and building medical homes. The First STEPS Learning Initiative is being implemented in phases, with the first phase (September 2011 - August 2012) focusing on improving immunizations for children and adolescents. As part of the initiative, IHOC identified specific immunization measures to be improved. First STEPS provides wide-ranging and in-depth quality improvement, coaching, andata monitoring of standard quality measures, and educations support to pediatric and family medicine practices as they continue to enhance health outcomes for children. The goal of Phase I was to improve immunization rates in participating practices by at least 4 percentage points within one year of project initiation by implementing changes in office procedures advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures curriculum.

Suggested Citation: Fox K, Gray C. First STEPS Phase I Initiative: Improving Immunizations for Children and Adolescents. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; March, 2013. Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) Final Evaluation Report.

Publication Type: 
Publish Date: 
March 1, 2013

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Hartley Retires as Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center

David Hartley, PhD

David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014. David came to the University in 1994 and has directed the MRHRC since 2004. Andy Coburn, PhD, Research Professor of Public Health, will take over as the new MRHRC Director. Erika Ziller, PhD continues in her role as Deputy Director. David has had a distinguished career in rural health and rural health research, and has made lasting contributions to the field with his work on rural behavioral health, rural disparities and health, and rural active living.

A celebration will be scheduled in early fall to honor David and his many contributions to the field and the University.


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