COVID-19 Vaccine Equity: From Development to Distribution

On Friday, January 29, the Missouri Local Science Engagement Network (LSEN) partnered with Black Girls Do STEM to host a roundtable discussion on the COVID-19 vaccination and equitable distribution. The session was moderated by Dan English of Missouri LSEN and Cynthia Chapple of Black Girls Do STEM.

The diverse panelists covered topics including how the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was developed, clinical trials, vaccine distribution tiers, and in particular, how we can ensure vaccines are distributed equitable to people of color and diverse populations across the state.

You can watch the full roundtable here:
COVID-19 Vaccination and Equitable Distribution Round Table

Meet the Experts

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, MS Ph.D. – CONTRIBUTOR – is an American viral immunologist at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIAID NIH) based in Bethesda, Maryland. Appointed to the VRC in 2014, she is currently the scientific lead of the VRC’s Coronavirus Team, with research efforts aimed at propelling novel coronavirus vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine. In December 2020, the Institute’s Director Anthony Fauci, said: “Kizzy is an African American scientist who is right at the forefront of the development of the vaccine.”

Dr. Daniel Hoft, MD Ph.D. – ROUNDTABLE GUEST – Dr. Daniel Hoft treats patients for infectious diseases. His areas of expertise include tuberculosis, parasitology, and vaccination. He is particularly interested in research into vaccine development, especially for Chagas disease, pandemic influenza, and tuberculosis. When not teaching or treating patients, Dr. Hoft collaborates with a clinical research site in Johannesburg, South Africa, and serves as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is also an investigator for the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation and for the Gates Foundation.

Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, MD – ROUNDTABLE GUEST – Dr. Ilboudo is an assistant professor of Clinical Child Health and the Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Missouri Health Care. She is also the medical director for the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and Infection Control and Prevention at MU Health Care.

Dr. Vetta Sanders Thompson, Ph.D. – ROUNDTABLE GUEST – E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Studies Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Vetta Sanders Thompson’s research focuses on the health and well-being of diverse communities, particularly the African-American community. Her scholarship addresses racial identity and socialization, implications of experiences of discrimination, and socio-cultural determinants of disparities. Her goal is to empower members of the community to improve their health and well-being through education and opportunities for action. Her funded research addresses the promotion of cancer screening among African Americans and community engagement.

Dr. Bridgette Jones, MD, MSCR – ROUNDTABLE GUEST – Bridgette L. Jones, MD MS holds a faculty appointment as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine in the divisions of Allergy/Asthma/Immunology and Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Innovation and at Children’s Mercy. She is a clinician scientist with a focus in therapeutics and interventions to improve the lives of children with asthma. She has received funding thru the National Institutes of Health, and other extramural and intramural resources to support her work. She is the inaugural chair of the Children’s Mercy Faculty and Trainee Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee  and is the Medical Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at Children’s Mercy. Additionally, she is the Assistant Academic Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. Nationally, Dr. Jones currently serves as Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs and the American Academy of Allergy Asthma Immunology’s Asthma Cough Diagnosis and Treatment Committee. In addition she serves as an ad hoc member of the Food and Drug Administration Pediatric Advisory Committee and was appointed by the United States Secretary of Health to serve on the National Institutes of Health Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. She is wife to Rafiq and mother to Lola and Nora.

Dr. Ricardo Wray, Ph.D. – ROUNDTABLE GUEST – Dr. Ricardo Wray is a Professor in Behavioral Science and Health Education in the College of Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University. He is also the department chair of the Department of Behavior Science and Health Education. Dr. Wray teaches classes in science, theory and public health; social ecology and public health; and translating evidence and theory for community practice. His research interests are in health communication, social-behavioral theory, social determinants of health, and health disparities and equity.


Meet the Moderators

Cynthia Chapple, MS – ROUNDTABLE MODERATOR/HOST – Cynthia is an innovative scientist and advocate for black girls and women, and advocates for high-level STEM learning to be a reality for all of our children. In keeping with this work, Cynthia is the founder of Black Girls Do STEM an organization offering an exploration of STEM career pathways through hands-on engaging curriculum in the areas of Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to middle and high school black girls to expose them to career pathways and empower them to become STEM professionals. Therefore, she prides herself on mentoring youth as well as advocating for equitable policies and practices that will make for a more inclusive scientific community. She looks for more ways in which STEM industries and the higher education community can be a part of bridging the inclusion gap and inspiring the next generation of scientists so that black women will have equitable representation in the STEM workplaces of today and tomorrow. As a technical business professional, Cynthia has worked as a research and development chemist where she created innovative coating solutions for the electrical and electronics market.

Daniel English, MSGH – HOST – Dan earned a BA in Telecommunications from Indiana University in 2003. He worked in sports broadcasting, music videos, and TV journalism before moving to Missouri in 2008 to pursue a career in journalism. Dan produced the short film, Last Days of Shaniko in 2010, and produced morning TV news broadcasts in Kansas City until 2014. Dan developed a passion for science and public health after a career in communications. He started attending science classes at the University of Missouri Kansas City and Rockhurst University in 2012. In 2014, Dan became a surgical technician, assisting surgeons and nurses with multiple surgical technologies in the operating room. In 2019, he received an MS in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame, researching malaria and vector behavior in South America. Now Dan is combining his passions for communication and science as the Missouri Local Science Engagement Network Coordinator.

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