Amy Pisani is a distinguished expert in the field of vaccine advocacy and education, with a remarkable tenure dating back to 1996 when she joined Every Child By Two (now known as Vaccinate Your Family). As the Chief Executive Officer, she has played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of immunization accessibility in the United States. Amy’s tireless dedication has made her a driving force for immunization advocacy, working tirelessly to advance the health and well-being of communities across the nation. Throughout her career, Amy has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to realizing VYF’s mission, which is to safeguard individuals of all ages from vaccine-preventable diseases and bridge immunization disparities.
In alignment with VYF’s founding principles, Amy has spearheaded collaborative initiatives that unite elected officials, community leaders, and representatives from national and local organizations in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. She guides the team in legislative education, fosters partnerships with like-minded advocates, collaborates with the media to ensure evidence-based reporting on vaccines, and employs diverse communication channels to educate the public.
Amy has been at the helm through VYF’s remarkable growth in the organization’s social media, effectively reaching over four million individuals annually. Through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, VYF disseminates science-based information that underscores the importance of timely vaccinations and the safety of vaccines. In addition to this digital outreach, VYF’s website, available in both English and Spanish, attracts over one million visitors each year and has earned the prestigious Vaccine Safety Net seal of approval from the World Health Organization.
Amy’s dedication extended to the urgent need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. She played a pivotal role in various vital initiatives, including the Made to Save Collaborative, the HHS COVID Community Corps, and the White House Equity Panel. VYF continues to bring together partners who united in the fight against COVID-19 through the VYF-hosted Vaccination Collaborative. This platform facilitates the exchange of invaluable insights, research, and communication strategies, shaping evidence-based programs and policy efforts to ensure universal access to all vaccines.
Amy remains at the forefront of public health advocacy by actively engaging in conferences, hosting and presenting at congressional briefings, and vigilantly monitoring and responding to regulatory and policy changes that impact immunization delivery. The campaigns developed under her guidance have educated hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the field.
In addition to her work with VYF, Amy demonstrates her commitment to public health in various capacities. She proudly serves as the President of her local Rotary Club and has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow for her contributions. From 2011 to 2015, she served as a public member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Presently, she is a founding member of the 317 Coalition, ensuring stable congressional immunization funding, and sits on the steering committee of the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, the HPV Roundtable, and several other coalitions that share VYF’s mission.
Amy’s rich career history extends beyond pediatrics. She gained extensive healthcare advocacy experience during her roles as the Education Program Coordinator at the Optical Society of America, Senior Staff Specialist for the American Nurses Association, and Program Director for the American Nurses Foundation. Her early career was dedicated to advancing the deaf community. Amy holds a Master’s of Science degree from Gallaudet University for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., and a Baccalaureate Degree in Psychology from the Catholic University of America, also in Washington, D.C.
Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP joined The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) as a Senior Scholar-in-Residence in 2019. She is President and Professor Emerita of SUNY Upstate Medical University (UMU), Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and Associate Director of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a national program modelled after the Nova award winning program, the Harlem Hospital Injury Prevention program. Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, a board-certified pediatrician and child abuse subspecialist, has advanced maternal-child health in underserved and disenfranchised communities, holding multiple leadership positions regionally and nationally. Her current portfolio includes child rights, health disparities and health equity.
Dr. Laraque-Arena earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles where she also completed her medical studies with academic support as the Roy Markus Scholar (1977-1981). Her internship and residency were completed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow in General Academic Pediatrics (1984-86). Her fellowship research focused on lead poisoning and calcium status in black pre-schoolers. Driven to address the health needs of disadvantaged communities, she accepted her first academic position at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University and Harlem Hospital Center where she rose to the rank of Associate Professor (1986-2000). She then accepted a position as Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. During that period (2000-2010) she was promoted to the position of tenured Professor of Pediatrics and received the endowed chair as the Debra & Leon Black Professor of Pediatrics and became Vice-Chair for Public Policy and Advocacy. Subsequently, she accepted the position of Chair and Vice President of the Maimonides Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn—the first woman and first African-American to hold that position in the 100 year history of the hospital, and was Professor of Pediatrics (Investigator Track, 2010-2015) at Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY. She was appointed the seventh President of SUNY Upstate Medical University on September 10, 2015 and began her tenure in January 2016 and held the positions of tenured Professor of Pediatrics with additional appointments in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Public Health & Preventive Medicine. She completed her tenure at the university in 2019. She was the first woman and first African-American to hold the position of President at SUNY, UMU.
Over the past 3 decades, Dr. Laraque-Arena’s scholarly work has focused on adolescent health behaviors, injury prevention, especially related to penetrating trauma, mental health integration in primary care settings, global child health, and medical education resulting in over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, multiple chapters and media resource and educational materials. She was continuously funded for 30 years through foundation, state and federal grants. Most recently she has edited the book Principles of Global Child Health: Education and Research (2019) and is senior editor of the book, Leadership, Gender & Race in Healthcare and Medicine: A Case Study Approach (2021). She has mentored hundreds of students and faculty and trained dozens of fellows in general academic pediatrics and child abuse pediatrics. She is the Past President of Academic Pediatric Association (2009-2010), former member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Board of Directors (2012-2016). She was elected as a Fellow of NYAM (2000) and the American Pediatric Society (2005), served on the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Committee on Integrating Primary Care and Public Health (2011) and Co-Chaired the NYS Governor’s Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes (2018-2019). She currently serves on the board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse America and the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation.
Debbie has served as Director for The Arizona Partnership for Immunization, better known as TAPI, since February 1996. She developed her knowledge of the community and her skills in coalition development as an active community member and as an elected official serving in the Arizona Legislature. First elected at the age of 27 in 1978 Debbie served a total of 30 years, (with an 8 year break) in both the House of Representatives and the Arizona State Senate.
She served in legislative leadership as Minority Whip and worked as a member Governor’s Working Group to establish the framework for the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Her key areas of interest were education, health, insurance and consumer issues.
In her local community Debbie worked with many organizations and served on multiple task forces to improve the health status of women and children in Arizona. Her reputation for being a knowledgeable advocate for maternal and child health issues has allowed her to build critical relationships with key partners on these issues. In 2012 she was recognized for her advocacy by the Children’s Action Alliance in Phoenix and Every Child By Two (now VYF) in Washington DC.
She volunteers her time as a member of the planning committee of the National Conference on Immunization and Health Coalitions and has partnered with Vaccinate Your Family for nearly 30 years.
Debbie is married to Glenn Davis, a retired Superior Court Judge. They have a blended family of five adult children and three grandchildren. Both love to travel and learn about history, art and culture around the world.
Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from Arizona State University, 1975.
Craig Kennedy serves as the CEO of Medicaid Health Plans of America, a position he began in December of 2019 after more than two decades in non-profit association management and in leadership positions on Capitol Hill. He has management responsibility for all aspects of the Association and reports to the MHPA Board of Directors. MHPA represents the interests of the Medicaid managed care industry through advocacy and research to support innovative policy solutions that enhance the delivery of comprehensive, cost-effective, and quality health care for Medicaid enrollees.
Prior to joining MHPA, Craig was the Executive Director for the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU). He led ACU to record growth over his six-year tenure and helped secure new federal grant funding for the organization. He also helped establish their advocacy infrastructure, which grew to include thousands of active participants across the country. Craig previously served as the top lobbyist for the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) for more than a decade, which included negotiating the 2008 reauthorization of the Health Centers and National Health Service Corps programs, the 2009 Stimulus package, and the 2010 Affordable Care Act. He began his tenure at NACHC working to double the Health Centers program (the REACH Initiative) and subsequently drafted the ACCESS for All America plan for the organization. During his thirteen-year tenure at NACHC, the Health Centers program grew from $875 million in annual funding to over $5 billion.
Craig has also worked on Capitol Hill and in the Oregon State Legislature. His work on Capitol Hill included a stint in the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over all health, tax and trade issues. He also served as the Senior Legislative Assistant for a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and later as the Legislative Director for a member of the House Rules Committee.
He received his Masters in Public Health from the George Washington University School of Public Health in Washington, DC, and has a Bachelor’s of Science from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Craig currently serves on the Board of Directors for First Focus Campaign for Children and as a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Primary Care Leadership program.
Claire Wardle is considered one of the world’s leading experts on misinformation. She is a Professor at the School of Public Health at Brown University. She also leads First Draft, a non-profit she co-founded in 2015. In 2009 she left her academic position at Cardiff University to develop an organization wide training program for the BBC on social media, verification and misinformation and has been obsessed with the topic ever since. In 2017 she co-authored the foundational report, Information Disorder: An interdisciplinary Framework for Research and Policy for the Council of Europe. Over the past decade she has been a Fellow at TED, the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and head of social media for the United Nations Refugee Agency. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania.
Karen is a Partner at Isaacson, Miller. She has made her mark as a senior leader in fundraising, securing extraordinary gifts and grants at the national level for some of the most prominent organizations in the country. She served as Senior Director at the PBS Foundation, and Director of Foundation Relations of the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to that, she served as an Assistant Dean, Senior Admissions Officer and Assistant Dean of Freshmen at Harvard College.
Long active in the not-for-profit organization community, Karen has served on numerous boards including ACT for Alexandria–A Community Foundation Board of Directors (current Vice Chairperson), Wolf Trap Associates Board of Directors, Harvard Club of Washington, DC, and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center Board of Directors (former Chairperson). Her many professional affiliations include the Council on Foundations, Grantmakers for Education Arts Impact Group, and the Smithsonian Leadership Development Program. She was also a contributing author for Real Women, Real Leaders
Linn Bumpers, granddaughter of Vaccinate Your Family Co-Founder BettyBumpers, practices environmental law at Baker Botts in the firm’s Washington, D.C. Environmental, Safety and Incident Response group. Her experience includes addressing air quality, water quality, enforcement, and emerging contaminates – including per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Linn graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Senior Editor for the Georgetown Environmental Law Review and served as Vice President of the Environmental Law Society. She earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with distinction. During law school, Linn clerked for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General in the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is an award-winning digital expert, health and behavior change communicator and researcher, author, and keynote speaker. With nearly 20 years of experience creating innovative and impactful interventions that move people to action, she is a leader in the digital communication and behavior change sector. She has worked with renowned organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDCFoundation, the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Pfizer, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Cadbury Confections, GEICO Insurance, Danone North America, The Institute of Technology at Carlow (Ireland), The Australian Market & Social Research Society, and The University of Aalborg(Denmark). With both domestic and international work experience, Dr. Burke-Garcia is an influencer amongst public health professionals, communication experts, business leaders, and entrepreneurs globally. She offers keen insight into the areas of health communication, behavior change and persuasion, digital and social media, and measuring impact.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Burke-Garcia has spearheaded some of the most innovative digital communication initiatives on a variety of topics. Examples include investigating perspectives and motivations of non-vaccinating online influencers, designing a targeted social media intervention with mommy bloggers to help social media users lower their risk for breast cancer, leveragingMeetUpgroups and the Waze mobile application to support flu vaccination and HIV testing, respectively, and running GEICO’s first-ever brand awareness campaign working with YouTube influencers. Currently, Dr. Burke-Garcia is a program area director at NORC at the University of Chicago where she has been working under CDC’s COVID-19 response to build and direct the award-winning How RightNow/QueHacerAhoracampaign, which is aimed at increasing people’s ability to cope and be resilient amidst the pandemic. Earlier roles have included acting as director for CDC’s National Influenza Vaccination campaign and co-Principal Investigator on a study that aimed to understand messages and motivations of vaccine-hesitant or refusing social media influencers. Dr. Burke-Garcia is based in the United States and has international experience working with partners in Europe, the UK, Australia, and South America.
Dr. Tamera Coyne-Beasley is the Derrol Dawkins, MD Endowed Chair in Adolescent Medicine, Division Director for Adolescent Medicine, Vice Chair of Pediatrics for Community Engagement, and Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the University of Alabama Birmingham and Children’s of Alabama. Her areas of expertise and training include adolescent medicine, preventive medicine, health services research, epidemiology, and public health. Her research, academic, community engagement, and policy and program development focus on adolescent health and well-being, sexual and reproductive health, risk behaviors and resiliency, immunizations, global health, and health inequities.
Dr. Coyne-Beasley has been the Principal Investigator on several projects on adolescent sexual health with a focus on HIV and HPV prevention. As a vaccine expert, Dr. Coyne-Beasley was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). She continues to contribute toward the review of scientific immunization evidence and the development of ACIP vaccine recommendations as a member of multiple workgroups. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Dr. Coyne-Beasley is also a Past President of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine.
Jeffrey Ekoma serves as the Senior Director of Government Affairs at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. In this role, he advocates for the interests of public health agencies across the United States, U.S. territories, freely associated states, and the District of Columbia. With a deep commitment to public health, Jeffrey collaborates with more than 100,000 public health professionals employed by these agencies.
His expertise lies in providing strategic guidance on legislative matters pertaining to various aspects of public health. These include health equity, data modernization, environmental health, food safety, tobacco control, substance abuse, obesity, physical activity, social determinants of health, opioids, improving vaccination rates, and suicide prevention. Through his efforts, Jeffrey actively contributes to advancing the overall well-being of the public.
Jeffrey’s academic accomplishments include a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in health care management from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. He also holds a master’s degree in health science with a focus on community health from Towson University. At the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, he achieved a bachelor’s degree in biology with honors.
With his extensive education and multifaceted experience, Jeffrey continues to be an engaged advocate in shaping policies and initiatives that have a positive impact on public health and the well-being of communities across the nation.