KEYNOTE AND PLENARY SPEAKERS
Lori Anderson, MD
Amistad Community Health Center
Bio to Come
Julie Boom, MD
Texas Children's Hospital
Director, Immunization Project
Dr. Julie Boom is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and the Director of Infant and Childhood Immunization for the Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research and the Director of the Immunization Project at Texas Children's Hospital. From 2002-2005, Dr. Boom served as the principal investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) grant “Raising Immunizations Thru Education” (RITE), which analyzed the impact of an in-office, peer-based education program to improve immunization behaviors and immunization coverage levels. Dr. Boom led the development, implementation and expansion of the Houston-Harris County Immunization Registry from 2001-2008. In addition, she has led projects examining the time costs associated with obtaining immunization registry consent and the financial effects of an immunization reminder/recall initiative on the general pediatric practice. Dr. Boom has six years of experience at Texas Children’s Hospital leading a gastroenteritis surveillance program funded by the CDC New Vaccine Surveillance Program (NVSN) that has evaluated the effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine and has recently expanded surveillance activities to include dengue, chikungunya, and West Nile virus. In collaboration with Dr. Carol Baker and Rachel Cunningham, Dr. Boom co-authored the booklet, “Vaccine Preventable Diseases: The Forgotten Story.” To date, over 125,000 copies have been distributed. Dr. Boom is currently collaborating on other projects examining vaccine hesitancy in the greater Houston area.
Chas DeBolt, RN, MPH
Washington State Department of Health
Sr. Epidemiologist for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Chas DeBolt RN, MPH is employed as a Senior Epidemiologist by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) after 13 years of experience in communicable disease epidemiology in the local public health setting (Seattle/King County). She moved to DOH in 2005 to oversee Vaccine Preventable Disease (VPD) surveillance activities for the Department. A VPD-specific epidemiology position had not previously existed at DOH, and the duties position include activities related to both the state immunization program and the communicable disease surveillance section. She is also the designated Vaccine Safety Coordinator for pandemic influenza for the state of Washington. She is a graduate of Bryan Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Her professional experience includes nine years of Cardiac and Medical-Surgical Intensive Care nursing.
Kathleen Gore, MPH
The Immunization Partnership
Coalition and Education Program Manager
Katy Gore is a Coalition and Education Program Manager with The Immunization Partnership. Ms. Gore received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from American University in Washington D.C. and her Master in Public Health from The University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston. She started her career in public health as Community HealthCorps Member with AmeriCorps working with teens on health and reproductive education. She then joined the National Association of County and City Health Officials in Washington DC to work with local health departments on raising HPV vaccination rates by guiding coalitions through a process of creating a mission and vision statement, partnership building, and the development of an action plan. She also worked closely with local health departments to build strategic partnerships with the goal of creating a Community Health Improvement Plan for Accreditation of their local health department. Since moving back to Houston in 2017 to work at The Immunization Partnership, she has dedicated herself to providing immunization-centered educational programming and providing technical assistance to Immunization Coalitions across the state.
C. Mary Healy, MD
Baylor College of Medicine and Maternal Immunization at the Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research of Texas Children's Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases Section at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas
Dr. C. Mary Healy is a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Texas Children's Hospital and associate professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She received her medical degree from the National University of Ireland in 1991 and membership in the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (UK) in 1997. In 2000, she moved to Houston where she completed fellowships in pediatric infectious diseases and vaccinology and vaccine-preventable diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, and has been a faculty member since 2005. She is past chair of the Committee of Infection Diseases of Texas Medical Association and also serves on working groups for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Dr. Healy's research interests are focused on preventing infections in mothers and infants through maternal immunization and on improving vaccination rates in all age groups. Her work has been published and presented both nationally and internationally. She was one of the first healthcare professionals in the United States to establish a pertussis cocooning program in 2008, and this nationally recognized program has adapted in line with changing vaccine recommendations and served as a model for other pertussis prevention efforts. Her current research involves assessing the acceptability, uptake, immunogenicity and effectiveness of maternal immunization with Tdap in preventing infant pertussis. She is also the site principal investigator for three grants exploring methods to improve HPV vaccine uptake. Additional research interests include assessing the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy among parents and exploring methods that providers may utilize to overcome it.
John Hellerstedt, MD
Texas Department of State Health Services
Dr. Hellerstedt took on the role of Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in January 2016. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Pittsburgh and completed his General Pediatrics Residency at the University of Texas-San Antonio Health Science Center. He moved to Austin in 1981 and spent 18 years working as a pediatrician at the Austin Regional Clinic. Dr. Hellerstedt first entered public service as the Medical Director of the Bureau of Medicaid Managed Care and CHIP at the Texas Department of Health in 2000 and became the Medical Director for the Medicaid CHIP Division of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in 2001. After seven years with state government, he accepted a position as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. He became the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Seton Family of Hospitals in 2009 and the Chief Medical Officer in 2013.
Amy Parker Fiebelkorn, MSN, MPH
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Senior Epidemiologist, Immunization Services Division; Program Deputy, Influenza Vaccine Task Force
Amy Parker Fiebelkorn is a senior epidemiologist in the Immunization Services Division and is the PandemicInfluenza Vaccine Response Program Deputy for the Vaccine Task Force at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is the lead of the Influenza Working Group for the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit and is a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service. She is the technical lead of several multi-million dollar contracts and cooperative agreements focused on improving adult immunization and decreasing disparities. Prior to joining the Immunization Services Division in 2015, she worked in CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases for 10 years as a subject matter expert in measles, mumps, and rubella. She joined CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in 2005. She obtained her master degrees in nursing and public health from Emory University.
Stephen Pont, MD, MPH
Texas Department of State Health Services
Medical Director, Office of Science and Population Health
Since returning to Texas a decade ago, Dr. Stephen Pont has worked to improve the health of children, families,and communities with a focus on underserved and Spanish speaking populations. Through working in Federally Qualified Health Centers in East Austin and as the medical director for Austin Independent School District, he recognized the need for clinical childhood obesity programs and co-founded and served as the medical director for Dell Children’s Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity. Nationally, Dr. Pont co-founded and served as the inaugural chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Obesity and was the lead author on the AAP Policy Statement Stigma Experienced by Children and Adolescents with Obesity. Additionally, he has been an investigator or center director on more than $20 million of Medicaid, philanthropic, and NIH and CDC research grants. Dr. Pont is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics with the UT Austin Dell Medical School, Clinical Associate Professor with the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and serves on the Texas Department of State Health Services executive team and as the Medical Director for the Office of Science and Population Health. The office works collaboratively to develop and advance public health priorities for Texas, serves as a focal point to provide medical and epidemiologic expertise across the department, and identifies opportunities to more effectively utilize DSHS data to monitor and drive improvement in health and wellness across Texas.
The Jamie Group
On November 13th 2008, Jamie Schanbaum was rushed to Seton Hospital in Austin, TX thinking she was having an asthma attack and flu-like symptoms. Two days later, Jamie and her family learned she had contracted a rare disease. Meningococcal septicemia is similar to meningitis. Instead of infiltrating the brain and spinal cord, the bacteria infects the blood. Meningococcal septicemia has a higher fatality rate than typical meningitis. The state health department informed us that one in 10 people is a carrier of this particular bacteria which resides in the nose or throat. You can have it and not be affected by it, but something as simple as a cold or a stomach virus can cause this bacteria to work its way into your blood system, which is what happened to Ms. Schanbaum. She survived, though sadly she lost her legs and fingers. They had to be amputated as a direct result of her infection. Ms. Schanbaum’s plight inspired her to educate the public about Meningitis. Her goal is to prevent others from needlessly suffering from this vaccine preventable disease.
Kristen Holland Shear
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Director, Digital and Social Media
With a background in journalism, online content management, and social media, Ms. Holland Shear functions as both a visionary and long-term strategist for UT Southwestern’s digital communications efforts. She is responsible for shepherding the institution’s social media and digital communications efforts to ensure that all aspects of UT Southwestern’s brand identity and messaging are presented consistently and effectively across all digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and our various websites. Over the past year, her team has refined their strategy to better align with the institution’s goals, resulting in double-digit growth in followers/fans across UT Southwestern’s social entities. Ms. Holland Shear holds a master’s degree in emerging media and communications from the University of Texas at Dallas and a bachelors in editorial journalism from Southern Methodist University.
Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at CDC
Director, Immunization Services Division
Dr. Melinda Wharton currently serves as the Director, Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI, and her infectious diseases fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Dr. Wharton joined CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in 1986 and was assigned to the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment in Nashville, TN. In 1989 she began work as a medical epidemiologist in the Epidemiology Program Office, CDC. She joined CDC's immunization program in 1992, and since that time has held a variety of positions. From 2006 to 2013 she served as Deputy Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. In December 2013 she became the Director, Immunization Services Division, NCIRD. She has worked extensively on issues related to vaccine policy, vaccine safety science, and public health response. Dr. Wharton has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific journal articles, book chapters, and CDC publications.
JoEllen Wolicki, BSN, RN
CDC, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases,
Communication and Education Branch
JoEllen Wolicki is a Nurse Educator with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Communication and Education Branch. Before joining CDC in 2010, she served for 14 years as a Nurse Consultant with the immunization program of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. At the Michigan immunization program, she worked with multiple programs. At CDC, JoEllen serves as a committee member of several work groups for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), contributes to the Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases textbook (the Pink Book), and works on many immunization training and educational materials and programs. She travels throughout the United States to educate healthcare providers on immunization. Ms. Wolicki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Detroit/Mercy.