Thomas Stenvig, PhD, MPH, RN, CNAA-BC, has a long and distinguished career in immunization and public health. And now, he has a new achievement in national immunization policy leadership to add to that career.
Earlier this year, Stenvig was appointed to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC), a national group that advises the federal government on vaccine policy, planning, and safety. He is only the second nurse to be appointed to this important post. NVAC has key responsibilities in ensuring vaccine availability and safety — it was the principle investigator of vaccine safety of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic vaccine. ANA nominated Stenvig to NVAC, seeing it as a key committee for nursing involvement. Since nurses are often the front-line providers of immunization administration and education, with profound insight on access to and attitudes towards immunization in diverse populations, it is only fitting that a nurse like Stenvig be at the table.
“Nurses and other health care providers aren’t aware of the infrastructure and partnerships supporting the availability of safe and affordable vaccines for protection of the public,” he said. “One of my priorities is to help raise awareness of the importance of vaccination as a public health resource.”
Stenvig has a background in immunization access, policy, and research. Stenvig studied behaviors of nurses who immunize children in earning his PhD, and has worked for decades in providing services and educating nursing and health science students in diverse communities, including rural areas and Native American communities. He has participated in projects with the United States Public Health Service, and the Indian Health Service. Stenvig was project consultant for INNPOWER, a collaborative effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote immunizations to nurses. The project helped lay the groundwork for ANA’s current immunization project, Bringing Immunity to Every Community.
Stenvig has experience with creating immunization and other health policy as a longtime member of ANA, the South Dakota Nurses Association, and the American Public Health Association. He has held leadership positions on advocacy groups Every Child by Two, the Immunization Action Coalition, the National Network for Immunization Information, and the National Network of Immunization Nurses and Associates. In 2010, Stenvig was presented with the ANA Distinguished Membership Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership, participation, and contributions in connection with ANA’s goals.
Stenvig’s term runs until 2015. NVAC next meets June 14-15, 2011, in Washington, DC. Information about NVAC, including its recommendations, reports, and meeting information, is at www.hhs.gov/nvpo/nvac.