Episode 52: Kate O’Brien On Vaccines & Social Justice

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Kate O'Brien, Swati Sudarsen, Nina Martin
Kate O’Brien, Swati Sudarsen, Nina Martin, IVAC

This week, Nina is joined by International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) Advocacy and Communications Specialist Swati Sudarsan as they interview Kate O’Brien, Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center. Did you know vaccines can address social justice? In this episode, Kate explains that the children around the world who have the least access to vaccines suffer the most from vaccine preventable diseases – but she aims to change that. First on her list is an evaluation of the full benefits of vaccines, in an analysis she calls the “full public health value of vaccines.” She explains that vaccines not only prevent disease in an immunized child, but it can protect the people around them, can help families avert the costs of hospitalization from disease, and can even reduce an emerging crisis – antibiotic resistance.

Kate is a sitting member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), which advises the World Health Organization on global vaccine policy, and serves on the Gavi Board representing the Technical and Research constituency. She is a senior advisor at the Center for American Indian Health, and of course, a beloved professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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A special thank you to Swati Sudarsan and Rose Weeks from IVAC for production help.

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Episode 51: Peter Hotez on Vaccine Hesitancy

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PeterHotez

Last time on PHU Podcast, we spoke about vaccine confidence with Heidi Larson and Pauline Paterson. On our latest podcast, Nina speaks with Dr. Peter Hotez on a related topic: vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine confidence and hesitancy are related but different issues. Think: opposite sides of the same coin. Vaccine hesitancy describes the idea that people are unsure about whether to get vaccinated (and they may be pro- or anti-vaccine). According to the WHO, vaccine hesitancy is caused by any of the 3 C’s: complacency, convenience and confidence. Note that this only refers to scenarios in which vaccines are readily available to the person.

Peter Hotez is well known for his science communication and advocacy efforts on vaccines–which have been motivated and inspired both by his daughter, who has autism, and his long research career in vaccine development for neglected tropical diseases.  Peter is has a long list of jobs including:

  • Founding dean  at the National School of Tropical Medicine
  • Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine
  • Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics
  • Director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development
  • Baker Institute Fellow in Disease and Poverty at Rice University.
  • Co-founder, Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases in 2006 as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.
  • Founding Editor-in-Chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • 2014-2016 United States Science Envoy

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Podcast 50: The Vaccine Confidence Project with Heidi Larson & Pauline Paterson

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Vaccine Confidence Project

We had a transatlantic, bi-coastal three way Skype podcast last month with researchers Drs. Heidi Larson and Pauline Paterson who co-direct the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Heidi LarsonPauline Paterson

Heidi and Pauline are globally respected and known for this unique, extensive, and broad research into understanding how we can boost the global community’s confidence in vaccines. A large piece of their work is profiling conversations from around the world and to pinpoint factors that lead to confidence or not. The other side of this coin is the term ‘vaccine hesitancy’ that describes why people do not feel confident in vaccines (a person can still vaccinate their child, but still be vaccine hesitant).

Please note: Most of this podcast has good audio quality, however, due to the Skype connection, had a few moments here and there of poor connectivity. The PHU wizards did their best to provide the best quality, please be patient as we continue to improve our Skype recording process.

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Podcast returning next week!

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We are pleased to let you know that the PHU podcast will be starting up again next week! I will be discussing vaccine hesitancy with Drs. Heidi Larson and Pauline Paterson who co-direct the Vaccine Confidence Project via London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (among many other cool things!).

Thesis Me Pic
Dr. Nina in the house!

It’s been a long time since the last podcast, but with good reason: on September 1st, I successfully defended my doctoral thesis in molecular microbiology & immunology. I also have completed two manuscripts for publication over the summer. Other great things I was up to:

Summar Collage Pix

  • Got a job! Starting soon: associate at the International Vaccine Access Center on the Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Team! Learn more about IVAC on this podcast with my new boss Lois. Or listen to Bill “heartthrob” Moss here and here.
  • Fellow, New York Academy of Sciences Science Alliance Leadership Training – July 2017. Five days of leadership training at the Academy. Met so many great people and learned so much about myself, how I function in group settings, and things to work on to become a better leader (and group member).
  • Oral presentation, American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators – gave a ‘microbrew’ talk on my scicomm course. Fantastic conference in Denver, Colorado with fellow educators interested in improving science teaching methodologies. I can’t wait for next year already! July 26-August 1.
  • Completed Teaching As Research Fellowship: June 2017. Completed this yearlong fellowship that provided training and resources to research the effectiveness of my teaching methods in my course, “Communicating Science.” Presented on June 30 at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Awarded Gordis Teaching Fellowship: Johns Hopkins School of Public Health teaching fellowship to design and teach a course to public health studies undergraduates at Johns Hopkins. Taught self-designed course “Communicating Science: Skills to Analyze and Communicate Science News”. Awarded for three semesters: Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017.
  • Instructor, Introduction to Biomedical Sciences, August 2017. Taught three classes as part of Dr. Gundula Bosch’s intensive summer course for incoming JHSPH graduate students. Sessions taught: Science Communication, Molecular Biology, Musculoskeletal System, Cardiovascular System. This was my fourth year co-teaching this course and always meet so many fantastic new students.
  • Invited speaker, JHSPH Molecular Microbiology & Immunology Postdoc Forum. July 2017. Science Communication.
  • Invited speaker, Mississippi State University, September 2017. The anti-vaccine movement.
  • Completed Johns Hopkins Teaching Academy “Preparing Future Faculty” Certificate Program, Johns Hopkins University, September 2017. This certificate program provides training in teaching methods for Hopkins graduate students and postdocs. Check out here.
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New podcast! Episode 48: Laurie Garrett On Outbreaks and Science Journalism

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Laurie Garrett

Our latest podcast guest, Laurie Garrett, is an award winning science journalist (she has won all three major journalism awards: the Peabody, the Pulitzer, and the Polk) and  a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.  I first heard about Laurie back in 2000 when I read her book, “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance.” Among many accomplishments, she’s well known for chronicling the Ebola outbreak both in the 90’s and more recently.  In this episode, Laurie tells us some of her stories from the frontline of outbreak science journalism and some challenges she sees for the global community in preparing for the next pandemic.

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Episode 47: Monica Mungier On Talking Parasites

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Monica Mugnier

Our latest guest is also the latest faculty addition to the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Dr. Monica Mugnier (big news: Monica won an 2016 NIH Early Independence Award which allowed her to skip the tradtional postdoctoral fellowship and become faculty right after completing her PhD work). Monica studies a kind of parasite, called a tropanosome, that causes the disease African Sleeping Sickness. They are very difficult to control for a vaiety of reasons, one of them being the focus of her work (and some very cool science) on how they can rapidly change their coats to avoid detection by our immune system (aka antigenic variation). Monica finds these parasites so cool to study because they break all of the rules (read: they don’t follow any of the classic biology rules that she learned in class). Lots of mystery and discovery!

Monica and I have a great conversation on how to make a great science presentation (and how difficult it can be to strike the right amount of info, depending on your audience). We also discuss the challenges of conveying the importance of global health science research, especially when the illness primarily impacts people on a different continent.

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Episode 43: Modernizing Science Education with Emily Fisher and Arvin Saleh

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emily-fisher-arvin-saleh

On the latest episode, Nina teams up with her Communicating Science student Arvin Saleh and his advisor Dr. Emily Fisher to talk about the wave that’s been hitting undergraduate campuses with the aim of improving how we teach science. These new strategies, called active learning, are designed to put the learning in the hands of the student and engage in course material. We go into detail about what this is and examples in this podcast. Emily is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University. Arvin is a junior and double major in Public Health Studies and Cellular and Molecular Biology.

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Episode 42: Meghan Moran On Persuasive Communication

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meghan-moranOur latest guest, Dr. Meghan Moran, researches how the tobacco industry uses persuasive messaging on youths and teens–and how public health policy makers can use that knowledge to implement prevention campaigns. She also uses her expertise in persuasive communication to analyze why people are swayed by anti-vaccine messaging, and that it is not for the reasons we typically consider! Meghan is an Assistant Professor in Health, Behavior and Society Department at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

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Episode 40! Lois Privor-Dumm On Vaccine Policy & Advocacy Communication

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lois-privor-dumm

Nina gets to do her favorite thing on the latest episode: talk about vaccines! Nina is back over at the International Vaccine Access Center with Director of Policy and Advocacy Communications Lois Privor-Dumm. Lois has been working on vaccine advocacy for decades to bring life saving vaccines (like the one to prevent meningitis) to countries all over the world.

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Episode 39: Tom Quinn on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic and Global Health

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tom-quinn-me

Special #WorldAidsDay podcast! Our latest guest, Dr. Tom Quinn, was one of the first doctors working on HIV/AIDS here in the US in 1981 and still in the frontlines of combatting this global epidemic as Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, Associate Director for International Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and a consultant at a long list of places like The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), World Health Organization (WHO). Truly a champion for public health.

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Saving Lives With Better Science Communication