Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Can Healthcare Providers Stop the "Invisible Threat?"

In an effort to draw attention to the national launch of the Invisible Threat movement on May 1st,  Nurses Who Vaccinate is participating in a Blog Relay. Each day a different blogger will be discussing their personal perspective of the film as part of our 10-day countdown to a kick-off event with national legislators at the Capitol Visitors’ Center in Washington, DC.  Visit the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page for links to each blog post and visit the Every Child By Two website to find out how you can join us this movement, arrange for a local screening, and continue our fight against infectious diseases.

Along with diagnosing and treating patients, healthcare providers have an additional role- educating. When you're a public health advocate, your patient will not always be the sick child in the waiting room or an elderly gentleman admitted to the telemetry floor- your patient will include the general public and will involve people diffused throughout the spectrum of health. From teenagers to teachers, from parents to politicians, public health professionals need to work hard to educate all members of their communities about the current health topics, safety issues and prevention. 

One population frequently overlooked are politicians. We cannot assume that the ones responsible for legislation of health and safety initiatives are up-to-date with the current medical information that we healthcare providers have. It is obvious that legislation is responsible for shaping the healthcare policies in this country. Seatbelt laws, smoking age restrictions and the Affordable Care Act are among the many examples of politicians playing a role in public healthcare. It's our responsibility as healthcare professionals to make sure that we are focusing efforts to keep our legislators accurately informed about important health issues.

Take the topic of immunizations. Like the public, politicians can fall victim to vaccine misinformation and vote accordingly and negatively influence the public. We need to step in and educate before these mishaps occur. 
According to Sheila Abood, PhD, RN:
"Nurses are in a unique position to share their expertise and knowledge when meeting with power players to educate them, to urge them to action, and to hold them accountable when their positions and voting records don’t match their rhetoric. Nurses, as providers and consumers of healthcare services, have professional and personal experiences regarding the problems and possible solutions to share with policy decision makers. It is expert power that allows nurses to bring their knowledge of nursing, healthcare, and patient safety to bear directly on the promotion and achievement of their policy goals."

How can we educate politicians effectively and efficiently? By bringing the information to them. Health organizations such as Every Child By Two and Voices for Vaccines, have taken an active role in educating our legislators. An important upcoming event involving the documentary Invisible Threat is a great example of public health advocates taking a pro-active approach to spreading the word about the importance of vaccinating. ECBT personally invited Members of Congress to the national launch of the Invisible Threat movement on May 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Following the film, they will host a panel discussion with leading experts in the field of immunizations to discuss how the resurgence of deadly vaccine-preventable diseases can affect communities and how to help combat the spread of dangerous misinformation about vaccines. 

What is Invisible Threat? ECBT explains, "The Invisible Threat film focuses on understanding the science of vaccination and the misperceptions leading parents to delay or decline life-saving immunizations. This 40-minute independent documentary, produced by award-winning high school student filmmakers, has earned praise from more than 50 organizations, including the CDC, AAP, Texas Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins." You can view the trailer here.

Healthcare professionals such as Doctor Paul Offit from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania has publicly endorsed and encouraged the public to view the documentary. Medical organizations all over the nation are wowed by this powerful, student driven documentary and they want EVERYONE to see it.

The efforts don't stop with ECBT and the organizations supporting the national screening. The next step falls to you, the healthcare professional. We need you to take a moment to contact your key legislators (Phone numbers and email addresses for Members of Congresson the invitation list to ask them and their staff to attend the Invisible Threat film screening and expert panel on May 1st at 10 a.m. Let them know that this event is important to you because deadly vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, meningitis, pertussis and influenza continue to threaten your community

How else can you make a difference? 

  • Hospitals (general or children’s)
  • Elementary, middle and high schools (a sample curriculum is available at
  • Elementary schools
  • School nurses
  • Colleges and universities
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) chapters
  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) chapters
  • Immunization coalitions (search
  • Film interest clubs
  • Parenting groups, such as Mommy and Me or Gymboree classes
  • Pediatrician Offices
  • OB-GYN Offices
  • Prenatal classes

3. Get involved with the Invisible Threat Community via social media!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Follow and catch up with the organizations supporting Invisible Threat Blog Relay

By working together and educating each other, healthcare professionals and politicians can team up to protect children from vaccine-preventable disease and win the fight against deadly misinformation.

***Join us for an Invisible Threat Twitter Chat, Wednesday, 4/30 from 7-8pm ET.***

With The Invisible Threat student documentary officially launching date on May 1 at the Capitol Visitor Center, you can show your support for the students by joining the Invisible Threat Twitter Chat, Wednesday, 4/30 from 7-8 pm ET.  

Not only will you have the opportunity to ask the filmmakers questions about the project but we encourage you to also share your favorite resources that address vaccine hesitancy.

Just follow #InvisibleThreat and please share with your networks.

***Follow along with TwitterChat!***


Abood, S. (January 31, 2007). "Influencing Health Care in the Legislative Arena". OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 12 No. 1, Manuscript 2.

Additional information and materials can be found here.

Please send your support to these students and for Invisible Threat! Read, personalize, and send this email to the the student filmmakers.


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