USF Health research team launches immunization campaign

A team of USF Health researchers is celebrating World Immunization Week by kicking off a campaign that focuses on the connection between vaccines and prevention of infectious diseases.  The researchers join health advocates in 180 countries around the globe who unite to mark this occasion during the last week of April.

Sponsored by the World Health Organization, World Immunization Week promotes the message that vaccinations are one of the most effective public health interventions in modern history.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vaccines will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths in the United States.  Recent outbreaks across the United States and Europe of measles and whooping cough, which are vaccine-preventable, have been attributed to non-vaccination or under-vaccination.

The USF multidisciplinary research group, comprised of infectious diseases, health disparities, biology, and public health specialists, is partnering with local communities to bring high-quality vaccination information and services to adults in Hillsborough and Polk counties.  The project, called VaccineLink-Conexión de Salud, has three goals:

  • Create long-lasting partnerships with low-income and minority communities,
  • Provide  high-quality, accurate and sustainable information about vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases, and
  • Increase access to vaccines

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Dawood Sultan, PhD, and Jamie Morano, MD, MPH, are among the project leaders.

USF Health investigators leading the project include Jamie Morano, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine; Dawood Sultan, PhD, assistant professor of public health, Department of Health Policy and Management (HPM); Meghan Borysova, PhD, Health Equity Leadership Institute Scholar and research associate in HPM, and April Schenck, MBA, grant coordinator.The team is joined by trained public health professionals and Spanish language experts/translators Arturo Rebollon, MD, MPH, Viviana Delgado, and Veronica Estrella, MS.  Community member health liaisons and web-platform skilled technology experts are expected to join the project to help extend its outreach.

Those in Hillsborough and Polk counties interested in learning more about VaccineLink-Conexión de Salud can contact April Schenck at aschenck@health.usf.edu.

Campaign video:

Story by Drs. Meghan Borysova and Arturo Rebollon, USF College of Public Health 

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Pfizer awards $475,000 grant to Drs. David Sultan, Jamie Morano, and Meghan Borysova for vaccine uptake