The Program in Applied Vaccine Experiences (PAVE)
One clear sign of appreciative alumni is attendance at a reunion. Despite being based in more than a dozen countries, over half of all the Program in Applied Vaccine Experiences (PAVE) alumni attended—whether virtually or in person—this internship program’s reunion in April.
PAVE, which is co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department of International Health, places Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health graduate students in vaccine-focused internships at five leading global health agencies in the U.S. and Switzerland.
The reunion marked the program’s 9th year and was filled with a day of exciting and informative events. In addition to reconnecting with former instructors, advisors, peers, and the newest class of interns, four alumnae from 2017 presented on their recent internship experiences. Many also presented scientific posters the following day at the School’s 10th annual Vaccine Day, which showcases the breadth of vaccine-related research by students and faculty at the Bloomberg School.
International Health Alum Kirsten Vannice, PhD ’14, gave the reunion’s keynote speech, reflecting on the insights and skills she developed from the program. Dr. Vannice did her internship in Geneva with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department and subsequently worked with WHO for four years. Now an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Vannice affectionately recounted numerous lessons learned from her internship mentors at the WHO and the Bloomberg School, and on the program’s direct impact on the course of her professional career.
PAVE is a truly unique internship program for students interested in pursuing a public health career focused on any aspect of vaccines, from development to policy. In addition to the WHO, PAVE matches Bloomberg School graduate students at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Pan American Health Organization; the CDC; and UNICEF. Through PAVE, students spend 12 to 16 weeks working full time at one of these international organizations. The program is led by International Health faculty Ruth Karron, MD, professor, Global Disease Epidemiology & Control (GDEC) and Jessica Atwell, PhD '16, MPH '11, assistant scientist, GDEC. Until 2015 the program was only able to place students at the WHO and went by a different name (VIEW). Dr. Karron, the founding director, was able to expand the program’s scope to allow for placements at four additional agencies.
Thirty-seven students have already completed the program and six begin this year. “It’s incredible to see how our PAVE Scholars grow. In just a matter of months, they transition from eager students to budding experts, capable of discussing some of the most important current issues in international vaccine policy and delivery with senior Bloomberg School faculty and experts in the field,” says Dr. Atwell.
Alumni attendance is not the only metric of PAVE’s success. Interns have a strong record of co-authoring peer-reviewed papers and policy guideline documents with their mentors at the five participating agencies. And over half continued to work or consult with their agencies after their internship. But, the datum that brings the most satisfaction to Drs. Atwell and Karron: over 92 percent continue to work in vaccine-related roles.