LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Dr. José Romero has been named CDC Childhood Immunization Champion for his outstanding efforts to promote childhood immunization in Arkansas. Dr. Romero is recognized for his critical analysis of vaccine data that has helped lead Arkansas through a number of influenza, pertussis, mumps and measles outbreaks.

Dr. Romero is chief of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Section at Arkansas Children’s. He is a professor of Pediatrics in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, and holds the Horace C. Cabe Endowed Chair in Infectious Diseases at Arkansas Children’s. He also serves as director of Clinical Trials Research at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute.

“I am extremely honored for being nominated for and having received the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award out of all the extremely worthy candidates in our state,” Dr. Romero said.

Since medical school, Dr. Romero said, “I have believed that vaccination for the prevention of infectious diseases is the single most important medical intervention that has led improved quality of life and longevity. The opportunity to work closely with the Arkansas Department of Health, vaccine advocacy organizations, and healthcare providers around the state to promote vaccine uptake is one of most gratifying aspects of what I do.”

A frequent consultant for the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) on vaccine issues, Dr. Romero also takes daily calls from physicians state-wide regarding indications, side effects and policy. In nominating him for the award, Hilda Dupwe, ADH immunization program manager, wrote “most impressive is his ability to rally forces to execute ideas once he formulates a clear need for the community.”

“Dr. Romero sets the standard for his peers by documenting immunization records on every patient who is seen in the Infectious Disease clinic on every appointment to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations,” Dupwe said. “Because he sees patients with immune compromising conditions, he promotes additional indicated immunizations in high risk groups and educates medical students and residents thereby establishing himself as the primary instructor and resource for the state.”

It was a lecture on the poliovirus during medical school that led Dr. Romero to becoming a passionate

champion for childhood immunization. He said, “To see what a scourge it was and the impact the vaccine had on the lives of children made me realize the importance of polio vaccine in maintaining the health of children.”

“One of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in pediatrics is because pediatricians make such an impact on the longevity and quality of life of their patients,” Dr. Romero said. “Vaccines are key to that. They prevent early death and lifelong sequelae. As I tell the trainees ‘no other medical intervention has such a profound and long lasting effect as vaccination’.”

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Romero has received the Childhood Immunization Champion award for Arkansas, said Jennifer Dillaha, MD, ADH medical director for immunizations. “He is passionate about the health of our children, and he has worked tirelessly to make sure that vaccines are safe and effective and available to every child in our state.”

This week is National Infant Immunization Week. Each year, CDC and the CDC Foundation use this week as an opportunity to honor health professionals and community leaders from around the country with the CDC Childhood Immunization Champion awards. These awards acknowledge their outstanding efforts to ensure that children in their communities are fully immunized against 14 preventable diseases before the age of two.

“The tremendous success of CDC's immunization programs to protect the nation’s children from vaccine-preventable diseases is a direct result of the efforts of childhood immunization champions,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We cannot overstate the value of the dedication our Champions have shown, which ultimately protects our children, schools, and communities from serious diseases.”

CDC Childhood Immunization Champions were selected from a pool of health professionals, coalition members, community advocates, and other immunization leaders. State Immunization Programs coordinated the nomination process and submitted nominees to CDC. One winner was selected in each of the participating states and the District of Columbia.

For profiles of other CDC Childhood Immunization Champion award winners, please visit

About National Infant Immunization Week

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States. Each year, during NIIW, communities across the U.S. celebrate the CDC Childhood Immunization Champions. These award recipients are being recognized for the important contributions they have made to public health through their work in childhood immunization.

About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children’s, Inc. is the only health care system in the state solely dedicated to caring for children, which allows the organization to uniquely shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas. The system includes a 336-bed hospital in Little Rock with the state’s only pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center, burn center, Level 4 neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care, and research institute as well as a nationally-recognized transport service. It is one of the 25 largest children’s hospitals in the United States and is nationally ranked by U.S. News World & Report in cardiology/heart surgery, neurology/neurosurgery, nephrology and pulmonology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale includes 233,613 square feet of inpatient beds, emergency care, clinic rooms and diagnostic services. Arkansas Children’s also blankets the state with outreach programs that include telemedicine, mobile health and school-based health solutions. A private nonprofit, Arkansas Children’s boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research and is committed to providing every child with access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. Founded as an orphanage, Arkansas Children’s has championed children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow for more than 100 years. For more info, visit