This week, PHU host Dr. Nina Martin speaks with Mary Carol Jennings, MD, Assistant Scientist at IVAC. Listen to the podcast here, or read below to learn more.
Who is Dr. Mary Carol Jennings?
Dr. Jennings is a physician-scientist who has seamlessly paired her training in obstetrics and gynecology, and preventive medicine, with her desire to affect positive change in the global health field. Before she became a physician, she worked as a community organizer internationally and here in the US. At IVAC, she directs the RAVIN project, a vaccine access accelerator program, and is the Center’s lead on developing new projects for the primary prevention of cervical cancer – i.e. through HPV vaccines.
What does it mean to accelerate vaccine access?
Dr. Jennings works to “understand the communities that are not getting access to really powerful prevention tools: vaccines.”
In this episode, Dr. Jennings speaks about her work on the Rotavirus Accelerated Vaccine Introduction Network (RAVIN) project, which aims to shrink the gaps in vaccine access between richer and poorer countries. RAVIN has a specific focus on rotavirus vaccine, which prevents a common yet severe infection that hospitalizes millions of children and kills over 200,000 every year.
Dr. Jennings also speaks about the new projects she is leading at IVAC. Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, yet it is vaccine preventable. Dr. Jennings explains how she hopes to expand vaccine access to hard-to-reach communities, such as out-of-school girls in selected communities in India, who are not typically targeted populations to receive these vaccines.
"Where are the communities that lack access to vaccines? Why are they not experiencing equal levels of access and what can be done about it?” Learn more in the Public Health United podcast interview with Dr. Jennings.
What is Public Health United?
Public Health United, Inc. (PHU) is a non-profit organization that improves science communication through podcasts, outreach, and public engagement training for scientists. Dr. Nina Martin is PHU’s Chief Executive and host of their weekly podcast, with each episode featuring a different public health science expert with stories and insights on science communication. At IVAC, Nina does research on adult vaccines on the Policy and Advocacy Communications Team.