Wanted: FPs Schooled in Vaccine Science, Policy

AAFP Seeks Qualified Applicants for 2015-2016 Vaccine Science Fellowships

February 17, 2015 05:50 pm Chris Crawford

When it comes to growing the next generation of vaccine science leaders, the AAFP is stepping up its game. As proof, the Academy has tweaked the criteria for its 2015-2016 Vaccine Science Fellowship program to attract applicants already knowledgeable about vaccine development and production, as well as vaccine policy, to expand its stable of credible physicians and scientists willing to represent the Academy on the national stage.

[Stock photo of syringe drawing up vaccine]

CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Chair and family physician Jonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D., of Madison, Wis., helped craft the updated criteria for the 2015 fellowships and is one of the mentors with whom the chosen fellows will work. He stressed the need to build strong scientific leadership skills among clinicians with solid research/policy backgrounds to allow them to be credible and viable candidates to serve on national committees.

"The perfect candidate would be early/mid-career with a track record of research engagement in vaccine science and/or institutional or statewide vaccine policy engagement," Temte told AAFP News. "Publications help! Enthusiasm also is still a very important point, as is availability of time to participate in a full range of activities."

Two fellowship positions are available. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and active members of the AAFP, either in practice or teaching and out of residency and fellowship.

The vaccine science fellowship runs from April 1 to March 31, 2016, and requires a letter from the applicant's institution and/or department chair that he/she will allow the time required to complete the fellowship. Fellows must commit 10 percent of full-time employment -- about 22 days -- to the program.

Applicants also must dedicate travel time for vaccine-related meetings, with costs covered by the fellowship. The fellow will attend about seven meetings during the yearlong fellowship, including, for example, meetings of the ACIP, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee and the Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices; the CDC's National Immunization Conference; and periodic meetings with federal governmental staff and vaccine manufacturers.

Funding support for the AAFP Vaccine Science Fellowship program is provided by Merck & Co. Inc., which is required to disclose support information pertaining to the applicants selected in accordance with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Merck has no input into or control over selection of fellows or content of the fellowship program.

Applicants should submit a letter of interest and curriculum vitae, along with an institutional or departmental letter, via email to Janet Leiker, R.N., M.P.H., at jleiker@aafp.org by the application deadline of March 16. Applicants also should complete the AAFP's online conflict-of-interest form.

Applications will be reviewed and awardees selected by an independent review committee. Awardees will be notified via email by March 23.