Health Professional News

New documentary details history of St. Paul-based Immunization Action Coalition

As the world waits for a COVID-19 vaccine, there are already safe and effective vaccines that work to protect children and communities against preventable diseases. A new documentary addresses the importance of vaccines by exploring the 30-year history of St. Paul-based Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and its founder and executive director, Dr. Deborah Wexler.

“Protecting Health: Saving Lives” will be distributed and broadcast on PBS stations throughout the United States, and is now available to watch on the IAC website.

Dr. Wexler founded IAC in 1990 with a mission to increase immunization rates by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance the delivery of safe and effective immunization services. She was a long-time member of the professional staff at Children’s Minnesota until retiring in 2019.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Patsy Stinchfield is among Dr. Wexler’s colleagues interviewed for the documentary, which also includes footage filmed at a measles Grand Rounds and in the Children’s Minnesota St. Paul Pediatrics clinic in February, before the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Minnesota.

Deborah Wexler founder of Immunizations Action Coalition
Patsy Stinchfield and Dr. Deborah Wexler at Visionaries documentary filing Children's Minnesota St. Paul campus

“I’m inspired by Dr. Wexler’s vision and mission to show vaccines are safe, effective and save lives,” said Patsy. “It was an honor for me and the staff at the Children’s Minnesota St. Paul clinic to participate in the making of this personal and educational documentary.”

“Protecting Health: Saving Lives” is part of season 24 of the Visionaries documentary series for public television. Hosted by actor Sam Waterston, the series highlights the rarely told stories about nonprofit organizations that are working to make a positive difference in their community.

Nick Petersen