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Meet CareMessage's Vaccine Advisory Board


In response to the development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine the CareMessage team sought out guidance from a group of experts in working with underserved populations, epidemiology, vaccinology, and public health in order to provide recommended vaccination messaging to safety net organizations across the country. We are proud to formally announce our Vaccine Advisory Board, consisting of six experts who oversee our vaccine messaging content and help our team strategize culturally appropriate vaccine education for underserved populations. 

In collaboration with our Vaccine Advisory Board, we leverage each person’s expertise to help us take into consideration the historical challenges and barriers for underserved populations receiving vaccinations and design our content to reflect these understandings. Our team drafts content and each template is reviewed and evaluated by the board. The Vaccine Advisory Board gives our team feedback on the content’s wording and provides improvements to ensure every single component of our content is intentional, educational or prompts a behavior. For example, some of our initial vaccine messages included "the vaccine is safe" but the board suggested we use "very safe" ensuring no ambiguity exists for patients.  

These vaccine message templates uphold our content values of addressing health literacy and cultural competence in order to reduce potential communication barriers for underserved patients. This empowers our users to conduct thoughtful, culturally relevant outreach to their underserved patients in order to address vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccinations.

Screen Shot 2021-03-01 at 12.19.36 PMCommunication Strategy

The content developed with our Vaccine Advisory Board can be used by any organization, regardless of if they use the CareMessage or CMLight platform. We developed messages addressing topics like vaccine safety concerns, eligibility, cost and immigration status help to reduce patient hesitancy. 

The Vaccine Advisory Board helped guide our development of various text message templates on topics such as: 

  • Directing people to COVID-19 vaccine sources: Action-oriented vaccine messaging providing vaccine availability, clinic locations etc., which could be combined with other health outreaches.
  • Dispelling myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine: Educational messaging to directly and respectfully address myths and misunderstandings, such as facts about the COVID-19 vaccine and its efficacy and reinforcing the importance of getting vaccinated.
  • Ensuring adherence with vaccine regimens: Targeted interventions focused on ensuring that patients return for a second vaccine dose and/or subsequent boosters (as needed).

In addition to creating messaging content, CareMessage offers messaging workflow recommendations in our COVID-19 Vaccine Messaging Strategies Playbook to help teams reach patients with relevant vaccine information, including safety concerns, eligibility and scheduling dose appointments. The strategies in the playbook include:

  • How to segment your patient population by current vaccine distribution eligibility to increase scheduled appointments.
  • How to increase efficiency and reduce staff time in scheduling vaccine appointments and sending reminders via text message.
  • Strategies in sharing public health guidance, health center updates, and education on COVID-19 vaccines.

In the coming weeks and months, CareMessage and the Vaccine Advisory Board will continue to develop messaging to address topics such as vaccine access for underserved populations, additional patient eligibility messages throughout each rollout phase, and ongoing patient education.

Meet the Vaccine Advisory Board

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Top Row (from left to right): Dr. Rosa Mendoza, Dr. Emily K. Brunson, Dr. Daniel Salmon
Bottom Row (from left to right): Lois Privor-Dumm, Dr. Rafael Lantigua, Dr. Rose Kakoza

Dr. Rosa Mendoza
, Doctor of Family Medicine at New Jersey Hackensack Meridian JFK Medical Center

Dr. Mendoza attended the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed her Family Medicine Residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with a track in Obstetrics. She then went on to complete a Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health at Columbia University where she obtained a master’s degree in epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Aside from seeing her own patients and teaching JFK Family Medicine residents, Dr. Mendoza is the Family Medicine Clerkship Director for the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. 

Dr. Mendoza greatly enjoys women’s health, taking care of vulnerable patient populations and teaching and working closely with both residents and medical students. In her free time, Dr. Mendoza enjoys the outdoors, knitting and spending time with her family. Dr. Mendoza is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

Dr. Emily K. Brunson, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Texas State University

Dr. Brunson is an applied anthropologist specializing in medical anthropology. She received an MPH in epidemiology and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her primary research focus is health care access and decision-making, and particularly how policies, social structures (including class and racial inequalities), social networks and personal experience combine to produce health outcomes. In collaboration with diverse stakeholders, Dr. Brunson has translated scholarly research into actionable recommendations for both practitioners and policy makers. She is committed to applying the theories, methods, and findings of social science to address health-related issues including COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Currently, Dr. Brunson is co-leading CommuniVax--a national coalition to strengthen communities' roles in an equitable COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

Lois Privor-Dumm, IMBA, Director, Adult Vaccines, International Vaccine Access Center | Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins

As Sr. Advisor, Policy Advocacy & Communications and Director of Adult Immunization at the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), she focuses on immunization policy issues across the life course in a broad range of countries. Her research interests include understanding of the drivers of and barriers to country policies, characterizing country archetypes, stakeholder analysis, and factors impacting national vaccine decision-making and equitable uptake, with specific focus on pneumococcal, Hib, rotavirus, influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. 

More recently, she’s focused on community engagement and vaccine acceptance in older minority populations in Baltimore City and preparation for COVID-19 vaccines in both the US and globally. She has worked in more than 70 countries to help accelerate equitable access to new and underutilized vaccines including Hib, pneumococcal, rotavirus, influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. Much of her focus has been in large countries, including India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia to support immunization decisions and work with local stakeholders to build an enabling environment for vaccines. Her advocacy work focuses on both the broader value of vaccines and their contributions to the sustainable development goals, including the Value of Immunization Compendium of Evidence (VoICE) and the annual Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report to provide advocates with evidence to drive change. 

Her teaching focuses on vaccine policy and advocacy and she has trained hundreds of country-level professionals.  Prior to coming to Hopkins, she spent more than 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry working in a variety of commercial, operational, forecasting, market research and analysis, and R&D strategy roles in both human and animal health. She managed multiple strategies and initiatives for the launch of the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in the US, and worked with countries in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East to introduce PCV, Hib vaccine and MenC vaccines.

Dr. Rafael Lantigua, Medical Director, Associates in Internal Medicine, Columbia

Dr. Rafael Lantigua received his MD degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in 1972. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Lincoln Hospital, where he also served as a chief resident. After completing an endocrinology fellowship at the Rochester University School of Medicine in 1980, he joined the Division of General Medicine at Columbia as a faculty member. Since 1994 he has served as Associate Division Chief of the Division of General Medicine and as Medical Director of the Associates in Internal Medicine (AIM) practice. He is a member of the Admission Committee of Columbia University Medical School and member of the Internal Medicine Residency Selection Committee. Since 1995, he has represented Columbia University at the American Medical Association (AMA) Section on Medical Schools. In 2010 he served on the AMA Executive Committee. From 2005-2010 he served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). 

He has been actively involved in research on issues that affect the quality of life in minority populations. From 1988-94 he served as co-investigator in a large-scale community-based New York State Department of Health Program at Columbia to promote awareness and education of cardio-vascular disease in the Washington Heights-Inwood community. From 1998-2008 he served as the principal investigator in the National Institute of Aging-funded Columbia Center for Active Life of Minority Elders (Resource Center for Minority Aging Research). Since 1999 Dr. Lantigua has served as Deputy Director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University. He has published more than 60 medical articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Daniel Salmon, Professor of Public Health at Johns Hopkins

Dr. Salmon’s primary research and practice interest is optimizing the prevention of childhood infectious diseases through the use of vaccines. He is broadly trained in vaccinology, with an emphasis in epidemiology, behavioral epidemiology, and health policy. Dr. Salmon’s focus has been on post-licensure vaccine safety, determining the individual and community risks of vaccine refusal, understanding factors that impact vaccine acceptance, evaluating and improving state laws providing exemptions to school immunization requirements, developing systems and science in vaccine safety, and effective vaccine risk communication. Dr. Salmon has considerable experience developing surveillance systems, using surveillance data for epidemiological studies, and measuring immunization coverage through a variety of approaches. Dr. Salmon has worked with state and federal and global public health authorities to strengthen immunization programs and pandemic planning.

Dr. Rose Kakoza, Clinical Director of Community Health & Equity, Christiana Care

Rose Kakoza, MD, MPH is a board-certified internist at ChristianaCare where she serves as Medical Director for the system’s Medicaid Accountable Care Organization (Delaware Medicaid Quality Partners). In this role, Dr. Kakoza oversees the strategic development and growth of the Medicaid ACO network for ChristianaCare. This includes the design and scale of effective models of care delivery and the development of innovative population health management programs and services focused on the unique needs of Medicaid patients while controlling costs. Dr. Kakoza brings extensive experience to this role, including expertise in population health, managing and improving care delivery in large health care systems with complex physician networks and community partnerships.

Dr. Kakoza is passionate about cultivating health equity and advocating for health policy that addresses structural barriers facing underserved populations. As a leader, Dr. Kakoza is dedicated to the growth and development of her teams, aligning employees to long-term strategic visions, and inspiring positive transformation. 

Previously, Dr. Kakoza served as Assistant Medical Director for Medicaid at Partners Healthcare and as the Medical Director for the Medicaid ACO at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is highly regarded for her primary and specialty care-based innovations, which focus on medically complex patients, social determinants of health and complex behavioral health management.  

Dr. Kakoza has presented her work in high-risk care management nationally at the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and has been an invited presenter for various organizations on topics ranging from the Medicaid ACO to social determinants of health. Her publication topics range from ED-based care coordination, to enhancing primary care quality, to the challenges of patient advocacy. 

Dr. Kakoza holds an MPH from Harvard School of Public Health, an MD from Harvard Medical School and a BA in Sociology, cum laude, from Harvard College. She served as Primary Care Chief Resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and received the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Resident Teacher Award, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Minority Faculty Career Development Award and the Harvard College Scholarship for Academic Achievement and Ames Award.

Dr. Kakoza lives with her husband and two beautiful children in Wilmington, DE. A believer in family as a foundation for health and success, Dr. Kakoza takes great pride in her role as “mom” alongside her esteemed professional titles. 


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