Childhood immunizations have been described as one of the most important public health interventions in history. All children and adolescents need immunizations, and in fact childhood immunization levels are at an all-time high in the US for many vaccines. However some major problems and research questions remain, including:
- Raise influenza vaccination rates (only half of all US children are vaccinated)
- Optimize adolescent (particularly HPV) immunization rates
- Adequately finance childhood immunizations
- Eliminate disparities in immunization rates
- Understand the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases
- Sustaining an efficient immunization delivery system
- Assess the burden of diseases potentially preventable by future vaccines
- Assess the impact of immunizations
Our team is working on all of these issues.
How We Perform Research
We have formed research clusters focused on projects that address one of the problems described above. A faculty member leads each project, assisted by co-investigators and team members.
Impact of Some of our Research
Our research has helped lead to the following advances in immunization delivery:
- Influenza vaccination: U.S. recommendations for universal vaccination of all children and adolescents
- New vaccines: U.S. recommendations for rotavirus vaccine, adolescent vaccinations, and active work on norovirus, RSV, and parainfluenza vaccines
- Recommendations: US Guidelines for Community Preventive Services on immunizations, adolescent immunization delivery guidelines, many updates and guidelines by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- Evidence base: Cochrane and other evidence-based guidelines for interventions to improve childhood and adolescent immunization rates
- Health Care Delivery: Shift in delivery of childhood immunizations from an uncoordinated system largely dependent on public health to the primary care delivery system, with collaboration by public health.
- Informatics: Development and implementation of immunization registries and EMR-based prompts
- Education: Training child health providers
We have received funding from local, state and national sources. Major funders include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), as well as SAHM and NIH.
We will continue to address the major public health problems described above using a combination of research, implementation of programs, dissemination across the U.S., education, and public policy.