Press Releases


Federal CDC Recognize Norwalk Hospital Nurse As Connecticut Childhood Immunization Champion

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week are recognizing the contributions of Clinical Educator and Perinatal Safety Nurse Heidi Steller for her outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in Connecticut.  Steller has been named CDC’s Connecticut Childhood Immunization Champion as part of National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW).  Steller will be honored at an event May 1, 2019 at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, CT.


This week marks the 25th anniversary of NIIW, observed annually April 27th through May 4th to highlight the importance of protecting infants from the 14 vaccine-preventable diseases and to acknowledge the achievements of immunization programs throughout the U.S. The Childhood Immunization Champion awards are given to one individual in every state who has made a substantial positive impact towards improving immunization rates in their state.


“Heidi Steller is a tremendous example of someone in the medical field who makes a real difference every day as a nurse and an educator to make sure every infant cared for in her hospital gets the maximum protection against very harmful diseases through immunization,” said DPH Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell. “Vaccinations – especially during infancy and childhood – are critical for healthy child development and avoiding crippling diseases.  They should continue though adulthood.  With rising rates of measles cases being seen nationwide, DPH and our immunization and healthcare partners remain dedicated to increasing all vaccination rates for Connecticut residents. Full vaccination remains the best way to protect your health from any vaccine-preventable disease.”


Nurse Heidi Steller is recognized for her leadership by promoting immunizations and the health of newborns at Norwalk Hospital. As a mentor, Ms. Steller educates the nursing staff about maternal and infant immunizations with strong conviction in light of vocal anti-vaccine campaigns.  Steller worked with hospital administration to initiate a Hepatitis B vaccine birth dose policy to ensure that newborns receive the first dose of the vaccine within 12 hours of birth, providing a protective safety net from Hepatitis B transmission. This policy has led to significant increases in the hospital's Hepatitis B birth dose rates.


For more information about DPH’s Immunization Program click here

From Left to Right: Pam Bates (Norwalk Hospital Immunization Program), Norwalk Hospital President Peter Cordeau, Nurse Heidi Steller (Awardee), Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Nancy Sharova (DPH Immunization Program)