Mary Petraco, DNP, PNP-BC, CPNP

Dr. Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco is coordinator for child health at Suffolk County Department of Health Service in New York, a primary care provider and preceptor for graduate and undergraduate students, and an assistant professor at Long Island University Post in Greenvale, New York. She is a nationally known expert in immunization practice and is an advisor for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and served on the Advisory Board of the Immunization Action Coalition and National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Dr. Koslap-Petraco has advised local and state health departments on immunization public policies using her expertise as a public health nurse to influence system level changes. Dr. Koslap was a dedicated long-time member of the Board of Directors of Vaccinate Your Family and is now the Chair of the Committee of Scientific and Medical Advisors.

Dr. Koslap-Petraco has provided written, audio, and video commentary for three widely read parent education web sites: pkids.org, shotofprevention.org, and vaccinateyourbaby.org. She led the development of the staff influenza immunization program for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. This project realized a sustained staff immunization rate over 90% for over five years. Her personal passion and enthusiasm for quality healthcare for children and families has been recognized through numerous recognition awards from both consumer groups and professional societies. Dr. Koslap-Petraco has collaborated on several evidence-based projects to improve the health care outcomes for high risk infants, toddlers, and adolescent mothers. In addition, she has championed her individual work to reduce the incidence of obesity in the pediatric population. Dr. Koslap-Petraco has been an invited speaker at multiple international, national, state, and local conferences. In recognition of her work in clinical practice and public policy she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Dr. Koslap-Petraco is widely published, and has authored chapters on immunizations in two textbooks. She received the Doctor of Nursing Practice and an MS in child health and pediatric nursing from Stony Brook University where her doctoral project centered on the prevention of overweight in Latino preschoolers. Dr. Koslap-Petraco received a BSN from Excelsior College in Albany, New York and earned a diploma from the Bellevue School of Nursing in New York City.

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Melody Butler, RN

Melody Anne Butler is a mother of four and a Registered Nurse who works on Long Island, New York as an Infection Preventionist with previous pediatric nursing experience at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center since 2007. In 2011, she founded Nurses Who Vaccinate, a not-for-profit organization that provides nurses, healthcare professionals, and vaccine advocates with current evidence-based information on immunizations, current recommendations, and benefits of immunizing. Members are immunization advocates in the workplace, community, and on social media websites. They are encouraged to be vaccine champions among colleagues, patients, and the public.

Melody’s work with Nurses Who Vaccinate has given her opportunities to participate on advisory roles within national public health organizations such as Voices for Vaccines, Every Child By Two, and Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation Campaign. Melody is dedicated to helping children and patients everywhere lead happy and healthy lives.

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Heather Findletar Hines, DNP, CNM, FACNM

Dr. Heather Findletar Hines has a joint appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor in both the School of Nursing and the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SUNY Stony Brook. She earned her Master’s Degree in Midwifery in 2001 and went on to obtain her DNP in 2009 from Stony Brook’s School of Nursing.

In 2016, with the impending launch of the school’s iPad innovative, she became certified as an Apple Teacher. In 2017, she was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator and became the SUNY Stony Brook Midwifery Program Director. Her passion is helping midwifery students in the clinical setting with the development of their “midwifery” peripheral brain. She continues to interweave technology into basic and lifesaving midwifery skills.

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Paul Offit, MD

Paul A. Offit, MD is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, Dr. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School, the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America, and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Offit has published more than 160 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. He is also the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, recommended for universal use in infants by the CDC. For this achievement Dr. Offit received the Luigi Mastroianni and William Osler Awards from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the Charles Mérieux Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases; and was honored by Bill and Melinda Gates during the launch of their Foundation’s Living Proof Project for global health.

In 2009, Dr. Offit received the President’s Certificate for Outstanding Service from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2011, Dr. Offit received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Biologics Industry Organization (BIO), the Distinguished Medical Achievement Award from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the David E. Rogers Award from the American Association of Medical Colleges, the Odyssey Award from the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2012, Dr. Offit received the Distinguished Medical Achievement Award from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Drexel Medicine Prize in Translational Medicine fro the Drexel University College of Medicine. In 2013, Dr. Offit received the Maxwell Finland award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the Distinguished Alumnus award from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Innovators in Health Award from the Group Health Foundation. In 2015, Dr. Offit won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, Dr. Offit won the Franklin Founder Award from the city of Philadelphia, The Porter Prize from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and the Jonathan E. Rhoads Medal for Distinguished Service to Medicine from the American Philosophical Society.

Dr. Offit was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is a founding advisory board member of the Autism Science Foundation and the Foundation for Vaccine Research. He is also the author of eight medical narratives: The Cutter Incident: How America’s First Polio Vaccine Led to Today’s Growing Vaccine Crisis (Yale University Press, 2005), Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases (HarperCollins, 2007), for which he won an award from the American Medical Writers Association, Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Columbia University Press, 2008), Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Basic Books, 2011), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews and Booklist as one of the best non-fiction books of the year, Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013), which won the Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking from the Center for Skeptical Inquiry and was selected by National Public Radio as one of the best books of 2013, Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine (Basic Books, 2015), which was selected by the New York Times Book Review as an “Editor’s Choice” book in April 2015, Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong (National Geographic Press/Random House, April 2017), which was nominated for Best Science and Technology book of 2017 by Goodreads, and Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information (Columbia University Press, June 2018).

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Walt Orenstein, MD

Walter A. Orenstein, MD, is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Pediatrics, as well as Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and Director of the Emory Program on Vaccine Policy and Development having returned to Emory University in October 2011.  From 2008 through 2011, Dr. Orenstein was Deputy Director for Immunization Programs in the Vaccine Delivery department of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His primary focus at the foundation had been on polio eradication, measles control, and improving routine immunization programs.   Between 2004 and 2008, he held the same positions as his current Emory appointments as well as other responsibilities.  Prior to 2004, Dr. Orenstein worked for 26 years in the Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  From 1988-2004, he was the Director of the United States Immunization Program.  He is a former Assistant Surgeon General of the USPHS. Dr. Orenstein successfully developed, promoted, facilitated and expanded new vaccination strategies to enhance disease prevention.

Dr. Orenstein has authored and co-authored numerous books, journals and reviews. Along with Stanley Plotkin, MD, Paul Offit, MD, and Kathryn Edwards, MD, Dr. Orenstein co-edited Plotkin’s Vaccines, 7th edition in 2018 – the leading textbook in the field. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. In 2006, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine (as of July 1, 2016, now called the National Academy of Medicine).  He is a past Chair of the WHO’s Poliomyelitis Technical Consultative Group.  He served as the Chair of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) under the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2011 to 2016.  He is also currently a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization Polio Working Group as well as Measles and Rubella Working Group. On July 1, 2016, Dr. Orenstein became the President of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) for two years.  In February 2018, he will be inducted as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Orenstein received his Bachelor of Science at The City College of New York in 1968, and his degree in Medicine from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1972. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, followed by a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Southern California Medical School. Dr. Orenstein also completed a residency in preventive medicine at the CDC.  In 2006, he received an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Wake Forest University.

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Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS

Jessica Malaty Rivera is an infectious disease epidemiologist and science communicator. She earned her MS in Emerging Infectious Diseases from the Georgetown School of Medicine and has dedicated the last 15 years of her career to disease surveillance research, public health policy, and vaccine advocacy. Her specialty is in translating complex scientific concepts into impactful, judgment-free, and accessible information for a diverse audience. She is currently the Science Communication Lead for The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, a researcher with the COVID-19 Dispersed Volunteer Research Network, a research affiliate at Boston Children’s Hospital Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator, and an expert contributor for NBC Bay Area and CNN. Jessica  was recently named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine for her work on COVID-19 research and data communication. Between her day jobs and being a full-time mother to two little kids, she also dedicates several hours a week to promoting science literacy and debunking misinformation on social media.

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