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Virginia Cooperative Extension EXCITE Team Recognized with National Immunization Excellence Award!

Congratulations to the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) EXCITE team for receiving the National Immunization Excellence Award for "Immunization Neighborhood Champion" at the National Adult Immunization Summit! This award acknowledges their outstanding efforts in fostering collaboration and communication among immunization stakeholders within their community. They exemplify Extension's role as a partner in immunization education and public health.

The Virginia EXCITE team was nominated for this award by their partner at the Virginia Health Department, who saw firsthand how Extension's reach into rural and underserved Virginia communities helped to facilitate access to vaccine education and vaccines. Kathy Hosig from Virginia Tech accepted the award at the conference in Atlanta and she said, it was "a very exciting opportunity to highlight the role of Extension in this work and the information I shared about Extension at the luncheon panel presentation seemed to be very well-received."

Through EXCITE, VCE agents and specialists from Virginia Tech (VT) and Virginia State University (VSU) address vaccine-related health disparities in rural and underserved communities. They collaborate with various organizations, such as county government, health departments, emergency medical services, United Way, and local pharmacies, to provide culturally tailored vaccine education at festivals and community events. Additionally, they host vaccine clinics in partnership with local health departments and pharmacies, increasing access to vaccinations in high-need areas.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, VCE partnered with state and local offices of the Virginia Department of Health to serve as trusted messengers in local communities. They worked with emergency medical services, local hospitals, school systems, and parks and recreation to establish weekly vaccination clinics for 13 weeks. VCE interns also assisted with call-in registrations and contacted eligible residents.

A job well done, VCE EXCITE Team!
pictured: Julie Zajac, CDC, Kathy Hosig, Virginia Tech, Alexi Piasecki, CDC.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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