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Debunking Vaccine Myths and Advancing Immunization Awareness in the Era of Global Health

  • Embassy of Spain 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20037 United States (map)

You are invited to join us for an evening of vaccine advocacy and networking. Come learn from a panel of experts with firsthand experience in the field about the efforts that different groups (policy makers, scientists, foundations…) are devoting to immunize and educate communities worldwide on the safety and life saving benefits of vaccination.

This event is sponsored by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Embassy of Spain.

The round table will include the participation of Marina Villegas, Director of the Spanish State Research, together with distinguished scientists and global health leaders: Dr. Adolfo García-Sastre, Mt. Sinai; Gonzalo Fanjul, ISGlobal – Barcelona; James Noe, Measles & Rubella Initiative – American Red Cross; Mike Beard, Global Health – United Nations Foundation; Alba María Ropero, PAHO/WHO

During their discussion, these world leaders will demystify vaccine safety and increase vaccine awareness through scientific education and outreach to protect children from vaccine preventable diseases globally.

This event is free and open to the general public, please RSVP at


Marina Villegas was named Director of the Spanish State Research in June 2016, previously being the Director General for Scientific and Technical Research since 2014. She holds a Ph. Degree in Chemistry and belongs to the staff of the Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC) as Scientific Researcher She has driven several research lines, mainly devoted to Materials Science, particularly in the field of chemical synthesis of ceramic materials. At her research institute she held positions of Department Head and Deputy Director. Dr. Villegas’s research management career intensified in 2010, when she was appointed Director of the Postgraduate and Mobility Programs Department at CSIC. Shortly afterwards, in 2011, she was appointed Deputy Director General for Research Projects at the Spanish Ministry for Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO). In this position, she was responsible for managing, executing and monitoring the National Research, Development and Innovation Program, and more specifically the subprogram on basic frontier research, societal challenges and emerging technologies. As DG for Scientific and Technological Research and now as Director of the Spanish State Research Agency she holds the Presidency of the Spanish Polar Committee

Adolfo García-Sastre, PhD is Professor in the Departments of Microbiology and Medicine, and Director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai in New York. He is also Principal Investigator for the Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis (CRIP), one of five NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). For the past 25 years, his research interest has been focused on the molecular biology, virus-host interactions, innate immunity and pathogenesis of influenza viruses and several other RNA viruses, as well as on the development of new vaccines and antivirals.  He has more than 450 peer-reviewed publications in these areas of research. He has been President of the International Society for Vaccines in 2014-2015.

Gonzalo Fanjul is a policy researcher and activist with two decades of experience in Spain, Peru and the USA. Originally trained as an economist, he later completed studies on poverty and international development issues and holds an MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Between 1998 and 2011 he was Research Director and Senior Strategic Advisor in Intermón Oxfam and Oxfam International. Since then, he has joined ISGlobal's Think Tank as an associate researcher, working in the development of its international strategy. In September 2014, he was appointed Director of ISGlobal's Policy area. He is also the founder of +Social, a new initiative focused on the combination of policy research and communication against poverty. He is the author and coeditor of El País' blog 3.500 Millones.

James Noe is the Program Officer for the Measles & Rubella Initiative in the International Services Department at the American Red Cross. He has more than seven years of experience in international development with expertise in demand creation and social mobilization for vaccination campaigns. As a Program Officer with the American Red Cross he provides technical support for vaccination activities conducted in the field and domestic advocacy and development programs. He also provides coordination within the larger Measles & Rubella Initiative partnership. Prior to joining the American Red Cross, James worked with the Center for Hazard Assessment, Response, and Technology developing emergency preparedness plans for elderly and special needs populations in post-Katrina New Orleans. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh. James earned his MPA with a focus in Hazard Policy from the University of New Orleans and his BA in Political Science and Urban Affairs from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.   

Mike Beard is the Executive Director of United Nations Foundation (UNF) Advocacy and Global Health Director for the Better World Campaign (BWC). Mike directs UNF’s overall advocacy portfolio as well as BWC’s global health initiatives. Through the campaigns and initiatives of the UNF, Mike’s work focuses mainly on malaria and global immunization programs, girl’s empowerment, women and girls’ health issues, and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The UNF Advocacy team uses a variety of tactics to increase policymaker support for these interventions, including grassroots advocacy, coalition building, and direct legislative outreach. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2009, Mike worked for five years under Congresswoman Jackie Speier and the late Congressman Tom Lantos on both his personal and Foreign Affairs Committee staffs.  Mike holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.


Earlier Event: September 23