How have you contributed to one of CDC’s priorities through your ASPPH/CDC Fellowship assignment? Explain what you have done that has “made a difference” at CDC and benefitted public health in the United States.
My time working on the Response with the Vaccine Task Force in supporting the logistics of getting vaccines distributed has helped with stopping the spread of pandemic contagions. Additionally, I led the All–Awardee Meeting wherein I curated education topics to be presented to awardees of the COVID–19 vaccines (predominate state/local health departments and immunization programs within the jurisdictions) to improve efficiencies in distribution, overcome vaccine hesitancy issues, and help improve technical capacity of America’s public health workforce.
After the Response, I have been working to promote the Immunization Resources for Undergraduate Nursing (IRUN) project. These resources were created to improve the immunization knowledge of prelicensure nurses as they progress through nursing school. With high rates of vaccine hesitancy and no dedicated coursework within nursing school, these resources can help improve immunization knowledge, improve the public health workforce within the USA, and decrease vaccine hesitancy. These three things can go a long way to help reduce vaccine preventable diseases within the United States.
I work the rotation for the NIPINFO functional mailbox which provides front–line support in answering immunization questions coming from the general public and healthcare providers. This type of work has taught me a lot about vaccines, vaccine policy, and the work that goes into building schedules/intervals for vaccines. Additionally, I am providing direct vaccine education to help increase vaccination rates and lower the prevalence of vaccine preventable disease around the United States.
I am currently finalizing a project determination to kick off an evaluation project around NIPINFO that hopefully leads to the creation of a database and dashboard that helps modernize this data source. This is an untapped resource that’s inaccessible due to how the dataset exists currently, so modernizing this can help unlock access and fits with CDC’s capacity goals for data modernization.
How will your fellowship experience shape your career?
The Fellowship has given me real–world, public–health experience as well as exposure to how the federal government operates. It’s helped solidify my education foundations by exposing me to the different relationships that comes with CDC and public health in the United States.
I am constantly learning how best to navigate stakeholder relationships, form partnerships for success, and how to grow and learn through trial and error. So far, this Fellowship has shown me the importance of good data and good understanding of data but has also given me the time and space to learn proper techniques to help grow my career.
Describe specifically some of the relationships/partnerships you have built through the fellowship and how those relationships have helped/will help you in your career.
My Fellowship has had a mixture of making relationships within my Branch / focus (immunizations) as well as across the agency. On the Response, I was introduced and made relationships with SMEs across the agency. It took me beyond just working with Public Health Advisors, Analysts, or Educators, so I began to understand the full response/breadth of public health. I worked daily with logistics experts and scientists to plan and distribute COVID– 19 vaccines. In this, I began to fully grasp the full gambit that is public health.
In my day–to–day role, I work closely with various teams across the agency which has helped me understand the organization and nature of the CDC. In collaborating with these groups, I understand more now what goes into doing all the tasks required of the agency and how to be successful in navigating relationships and partnerships. My mentor and team lead continue to introduce me to new contacts that manage different aspects of the CDC and the CDC’s mission. It’s been really great to see and better understand the operationalized side of the Agency and how that goes towards completing the Agency’s mission.