By: Nusheen Ameenuddin, MD, MPH, FAAP
To recognize National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), Speak Now for Kids will be sharing articles on kids and immunizations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. You can learn more about immunizations by visiting HealthyChildren.org.
“Most of you already know Dr. Nusheen, because she sees your kids” is how I was introduced on my home turf at the first of a series of talks with Minnesota’s Somali community. It was during our state’s worst measles outbreak to date.
By the week before Memorial Day this year, Minnesota had already reached 69 measles cases, more than all U.S. cases in the previous year. Because the outbreak primarily affected unvaccinated Somali children, our state health department, American Academy of Pediatrics chapter and others partnered with leaders in the Somali community to train and dispatch teams of imams (religious leaders) and physicians to engage and inform the community about this threat.