A recent national survey in Nigeria revealed that only 33% of children received all three doses of the pentavalent vaccine (which includes vaccines for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, H. influenza and Hepatitis B)—well below the global World Health Organization goal of 90%; for comparison, the global average for children who have received all three doses is 85%. Kyla Hayford, PhD, is an Assistant Scientist at the Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center who works on improving surveillance of the effectiveness of vaccines and how to improve coverage rates in countries like Nigeria. In this podcast, we talk about better tests for estimating the effectiveness of vaccination (i.e. serological surveillance), the causes of lower coverage rates in Nigeria, and how to translate research into interpretable and useable material for policymakers.
Who’s doing a great job of collecting health data and translating it into engaging public health multimedia? For many in global health, the clear leader is the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Indeed, on my first day at work at IVAC, everyone was throwing around the IHME acronym around like it was PBnJ and definitely a lol moment if you didn’t know what it stood for. I quickly found out why and had to speak to someone in the center of creation and engagement. Our latest podcast features Bill Heisel, Director of Global Engagement at IHME (which is much, much bigger that I had originally thought) and a must know for all public health lovers.
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
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!).
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:
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, 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.
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.
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.
Our latest guest, Dean Mike Klag, has served at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for the past decade and has worked to keep the School at the forefront of both international and community health. Dean Klag describes the roots of our school, the largest and oldest school of public health and how, owing to its biomedical roots, it is unique in that it hosts three basic science departments as well as more classic public health fields like international health, epidemiology, policy, biotstats, and mental health.
We also learn about how he got into public health and his major goals and accomplishments as dean. Dean Klag will be stepping down in June 2017.
From his earliest days, Dr. Rush Holt has been interested in “how the world works (that’s science) and how people get along (that’s politics).” There are few who want to do both. Rush is one of the rare scientists who has served in Congress and has integrated ‘science and society’ into everything he’s done. Hear about what it was like to be a scientist in Congress and how scientists should be communicating. Rush is currently the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) & was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12 congressional district from 1999 to 2015.
Ellis Rubinstein always knew that he wanted to combine his seemingly distinct passions for reporting news and science. Before stepping into his current role as New York Academy of Sciences’ President, he served as Editor of Science Magazine, the scientific journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In our latest podcast, he discusses how important it is for young scientists to be involved in AAAS and NYAS, and to not limit membership and activism to just those in their later careers as some other scientific societies due. Under his watch, the NYAS has the highest number of young scientists (including graduate and more junior students), thanks to the tremendous amount of work Ellis has done to promote career development, networking, and mentoring opportunities.
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.