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Tuesday, June 18, 2019  | Search

Although she frequently evokes fear in those who despise needles, her role in the wellness of our community is crucial. Learn more about Lori Gelinas, RN in this month's "Voice of" feature.  

Lori Gelinas, RN is the Infection Prevention and Employee Health Nurse at Helen Newberry Joy Hospital. Her job is to keep the community safe by ensuring HNJH employees and patients are up-to-date on their immunizations and recommending vaccines when necessary. 

Lori grew up in Louisiana and moved to Kalkaska, MI as a high school senior. She completed her education from Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, then went on to work in public health in Kalkaska for 15 years. Lori met her husband in Kalkaska and had four kids. The Gelinas family frequently visited their vacation home in the Upper Peninsula, which elicited the desire to move to the breath-taking UP. After years of dreaming about the up north life, they migrated to the Engadine area; several of the Gelinas children fell in love with Yoopers. 

Gelinas has nearly 30 years of experience as an RN. Her dreams of helping people began at a young age. Witnessing her grandfather fight cancer and watching her aunt assist him on a daily basis allowed Lori to decide that she wanted to become a nurse; she wanted to help people who desperately needed assistance. “As an RN, I have a flexible schedule and endless opportunities. There are so many amazing aspects of my job. I feel very lucky to learn 
something new, help patients and their families, and educate people about the importance 
of immunizations on a daily basis.” Lori is exceedingly knowledgeable and passionate about her occupation.

Lori has witnessed many healthy individuals be diagnosed with or pass away from various vaccine-preventable illnesses such as tetanus, pertussis, rabies, meningitis, hepatitis A, and influenza. As a mother of four, Gelinas always taught her children the importance of obtaining their immunizations to protect them from illness. More than 80,000 people died and over 900,000 hospitalizations occurred due to influenza in the United States in the 2017-2018 flu season. 1,616 hospitalizations and 2 pediatric deaths occurred from influenza-related complications in Michigan. A record high, 110 children, died from the flu last year. Various trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, World Health Organization, etc., recommend the influenza vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. Getting your flu shot and all other recommended immunizations protects you, your family, friends, and community from obtaining vaccine-preventable diseases. Flu shots are still available at all HNJH Clinic locations. 

Lori Gelinas, RN assists in saving lives every day. Her work is crucial to keeping HNJH employees, patients, and the community protected from terminating diseases. “It is never too late to get your vaccines,” says Gelinas. The pain from the prick of a needle is nowhere near as devastating as losing your life or the life of a loved one.