Jackie Medland: Vaccinating Your Kids – and Yourself – Plays A Vital Role in Preserving Your Family’s and Our Community’s Health

By Jackie Medland
President/CNO, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital

Crayola markers, glue sticks, and perhaps a new backpack or lunchbox are all essential elements for our kids as they prepare to go back to school. One thing you won’t find on any teacher’s supply list even though it’s absolutely essential for your child’s health and well-being is being up to date on their vaccinations. Though infant and child immunizations have been a controversial topic for some time, all scientific evidence states clearly that vaccinations have minimal risks when compared to the very significant protection they provide.

Our own family medicine physician, Dr. Robyn Restrepo, will be hosting Highlands-Cashiers Hospital’s next Evening With the Docs program on Thursday, August 16th at 5:30pm in the Jane Woodruff Clinic, Suite 103. That evening’s program is entitled Healthy Kids: The Power of Immunizations [1], and promises to be both helpful and educational. Parents will learn about the importance of vaccinations for their children’s health, and the appropriate ages for children to receive various immunization series. Dr. Restrepo, whose passions are women’s and children’s health, will decode what all the vaccination acronyms actually mean – from DTaP and MMR, to HPV. This program is free and open to the public.

Dr. Restrepo looks forward to having the chance to have an interactive dialogue with the community this important health and wellness topic. “Since families are the core of my practice, I often field questions about vaccinations; I’m looking forward to our Evening With the Docs program because it will be a great opportunity to reassure parents about the safety of vaccines, and encourage people of all ages to get and stay current with recommended vaccinations.”

Adults likewise shouldn’t be forgotten when it comes to vaccinations. Often by the time we reach middle age, booster shots are needed. Older adults, for example, should receive a range of preventive vaccines including the shingles vaccine, and every year without fail, a flu shot. As we age, our immune systems weaken. The more protection community members in this age group can get from these diseases, the less chance they will have of experiencing serious complications because of them.

While it seems like an obvious choice for many, some people still struggle with the decision to vaccinate. From a public health perspective, it’s important to remember that an individual decision affects not only your child and family, but their friends and the larger community beyond. It’s hard to overstate the role that vaccinations play in the health of our community, so whether you have your fun on the playground or the golf course, our Evenings With the Docs will help sort out the fact from fiction.

I guarantee you’ll learn something from attending, especially about the simple step you can take to make your family, friends and our larger community stronger and healthier.


Jacqueline Medland, PhD, RN, is the President/Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. Jackie has enjoyed a career as a healthcare leader for over 30 years, including positions in direct patient care, advanced practice nursing, nursing management and hospital administration. Jackie received her MSN from the University of Illinois, College of Nursing, and her PhD in Organization Development from Benedictine University. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Organization of Nurses Executives, the Illinois Organization of Nursing Leaders and Sigma Theta Tau. Jackie’s unique leadership and mentorship was recognized by the University of Illinois, College of Nursing with the Sage Award.

To learn more about Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, visit hchospital.org [2].