ASPPH/CDC Public Health Fellow Working in Childhood Vaccination Assessment
Devon Dramann, MPH is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and is a Public Health Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She is currently in the second year of her placement with the Assessment Branch of the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) where she works with a team of epidemiologists and data analysts to assess national immunization coverage and exemption data among kindergarten students.
The Assessment Branch plays a pivotal role in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of lifetime vaccination coverage data and exemption numbers. Teams within this branch have time–honored relationships with state and local health departments, and work together to survey communities and improve protection from vaccine–preventable diseases. This research is used to inform surveillance systems and health policy, as well as to evaluate immunization programs for funding.
Childhood vaccination requirements for school entry are a key strategy for increasing national vaccination rates and protecting against vaccine–preventable diseases. Measles, pertussis, and polio are just a few potentially deadly infectious diseases that have been drastically reduced or eliminated in the United States thanks to vaccines. As a fellow, Devon has learned that we are experiencing a nationwide decrease in vaccination coverage among kindergarteners, and that coverage has still not recovered from disruptions caused by the COVID–19 pandemic. This is important because low vaccination coverage in communities puts people at risk for outbreaks of preventable diseases.
As a fellow, Devon has been a key player in her team’s annual vaccination surveillance process from start to finish, contributing to the cleaning, manipulation, SAS code updating, assessment, and visualization of large nationwide datasets. By generating individualized progress reports throughout the process for all states and territories, she ensured that data is interpreted correctly, and that states and territories have agency over improving their vaccination programs.
The ASSPH fellowship has provided Ms. Dramann with the opportunity to become a member of the American School Health Association (ASHA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA), connecting her with other public health professionals through her involvement in their member sections. Most recently, Devon attended the annual CDC Fellows Collective Conference, as well as a rigorous one–week bootcamp in R programming offered by the CDC.
Devon is currently in the final stages of preparing a manuscript for the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and is most proud of her contributions to the figures and tables in the publication. Ms. Dramann looks forward to applying her skills in programming packages to further automate data processing for her team.