Vaccine Speaker Series
Join local and national experts on COVID-19, vaccines, and the immune system for a deep-dive panel discussion on vaccine science and safety, community health, and what’s next for public health. After a talk by our guest speakers, the evening is dedicated to a moderated Q&A.
What’s Next for Public Health?
Thurs., July 1 at 7 pm | FREE Webinar
As public health moves forward, explore the lessons learned from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting Secretary of Health, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Alison Beam is currently the Acting Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Ms. Beam has experience advising and supporting key health care priorities, such as stabilizing and sustaining the health insurance markets, increasing access to health care for all Pennsylvanians, and ensuring the high caliber of health care delivered in the commonwealth continues.
Ms. Beam most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Wolf, where she coordinated policy development, fiscal and legal management, legislative initiatives, and communications and stakeholder engagement across Pennsylvania’s departments of Health, Human Services, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Aging and Insurance. Prior to transitioning to the Governor’s Office, Alison served as the Chief of Staff to the Insurance Commissioner.
She also previously served as the Director of Public Policy and Associate Counsel for Independence Health Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she guided interactions with regulators, legislators and national trade associations and developed and implemented internal response strategies.
Alison graduated from Drexel University School of Law in 2013. Before embarking on law school, she was a Senior Consultant at McBee Associates, a health care consulting firm in Manhattan, New York. Alison holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Policy and Administration from the Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Debra Bogen, MD
Director, Allegheny County Health Department
Dr. Debra L. Bogen is the Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. She assumed her leadership role in March 2020, nearly two months in advance of her scheduled start date, to address the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since taking the helm of the Health Department, Dr. Bogen has guided our county through the numerous and unpredictable challenges of a global pandemic. Most recently, she prioritized an equitable and universal distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. Even while facing a pandemic, she and her ACHD team also advanced significant regulatory improvements for environmental health during her first year, including overhauling plumbing and air quality regulations. In response to need, she launched the COVID-19 Field Response Team in July 2020 to visit area food establishments and conduct education and compliance assistance with state and local COVID-19 health orders.
Dr. Bogen is absolutely committed to improving community and family health using public health data to drive policy and practice. She has proven a strong partner for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community organizations and is committed to working with groups that share a passion for the mission of public health.
Prior to her appointment as ACHD Director, Dr. Bogen was a member of the Pittsburgh region medical and research community for more than two decades. She held a primary academic appointment as Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, and secondary appointments in psychiatry and clinical and translational sciences. She served as the Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Pediatrics at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Bogen earned her medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and completed both her pediatric residency and General Academic Pediatrics fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is one of the founders of the Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank and serves as the organization’s Volunteer Medical Director. She and her family live in Regent Square.
Dr. Ariangela Kozik, PhD
Research Investigator, University of Michigan; Co-founder and Vice President, Black Microbiologists Association
Dr. Kozik is a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor-Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, where she studies microbial-immune relationships in adult asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Her work on the microbiome is currently focused on the contribution of the respiratory microbiome to adult asthma phenotype and treatment response. She is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the Black Microbiologists Association, and a member of the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group. Dr. Kozik has been engaged in outreach efforts to various groups throughout the pandemic to address topics including pathogenesis, mitigation strategies, and vaccination.
Dr. Anuradha Ray, PhD
Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Ray is a basic/translational scientist with a long-standing research interest in molecular mechanisms of inflammation and tolerance to understand the role of immune dysfunction in the pathogenesis of lung diseases like asthma. She is also interested in mucosal defense mechanisms against respiratory pathogens. Dr. Ray’s early research identified a central mechanism for the anti-inflammatory actions of corticosteroids and defined GATA-3 as the master regulator of Th2 cells, which promote asthma and allergic diseases. GATA-3 was subsequently successfully targeted in allergen-provoked mild asthma in humans with relief of symptoms. In ongoing research, she and her colleagues are investigating immune dysfunction in severe asthma that unlike milder asthma is refractory to corticosteroid treatment. In recently published work, she and her colleagues have identified two clusters of severe asthma patients with very similar clinical presentations but with strikingly distinct immune profiles and associated biological pathways. These findings would pave the way for novel therapeutics for steroid-resistant asthma for which 28 billion dollars are spent annually in healthcare costs in the US.
Submit your questions!
Have a question for one of the panelists? Submit them here to be asked during the moderated Q&A!
Vaccine Science & Safety
Vaccines are among the most significant achievements of public health. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, vaccinations have prevented more than 100+ million cases of serious disease since 1924.
Credit Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Damani Arnold Piggott, MD, PhD
Assistant Dean for Graduate Biomedical Education and Graduate Student Diversity; Associate Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
Credit Abbie Tyler Photography
Dr. Anthony Cillo, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Tara Vijayan, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine, UCLA
Credit Dr. Imran Qadeer
Dr. Imran Qadeer
Chief Medical Officer, Allegheny General Hospital
Focusing on the physical and mental well-being of a group in a specific region, community health includes initiatives to help community members maintain and improve their health and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Dr. Paul Duprex, PhD
Director, University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research
Dr. Amesh Adalja, MD
Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security
Obinna Nnedu, MD
Infectious Diseases Physician, Ochsner Health in New Orleans, Louisiana
About vaccine hesitancy
Approximately 25% of unvaccinated adults do not currently plan on getting one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine hesitancy at this rate will make long-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic longer, if not impossible. According to the US Census Bureau , vaccine hesitancy reactions are broken down to the following:
- Concern about side effects (51%)
- Other people need the vaccine more (28%)
- Unsure if vaccine works (21%)
- Don’t trust vaccine (20%)
- Don’t trust government (18%)
- They don’t believe they need a vaccine (12%)
About the Vaccine Speaker Series
As a trusted voice of science in the Pittsburgh region and beyond, Carnegie Science Center’s Vaccine Speaker Series invites local and national experts on COVID-19, vaccines, and the immune system to address the many aspects of vaccination – vaccine science and safety, community health, and what’s next for public health. The events are free to attend, but preregistration is required to receive the Webinar link. Carnegie Science Center would like to continue to offer programs like Vaccine Speaker Series, Café Sci, Women in STEM, and others. Please consider making a donation when you register. Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to enter the event. Have a question for any of the panelists? Submit them here to be asked during the moderated Q&A!