Background: Family physicians provide large numbers of vaccinations to patients of all ages. Leaders in family medicine actively contribute to the development of vaccine policies, locally, state-wide and nationally. Most residency programs and practice environments do not prepare primary care physicians for leadership roles in vaccine science and policy. Prior to the Vaccine Fellowship developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), no formal curriculum on vaccine science, production and policy, existed for family physicians
Setting: National medical professional association
Population: Family Physicians
Project Description: Staff of the Scientific Activities Division of the AAFP in collaboration with the liaison from AAFP to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) developed a one-year long curriculum of experiences in vaccine science, production and policy. Development staff at AAFP arranged funding for stipends and travel for two fellows per year from 2009 through at least 2011.. At monthly conference calls family medicine mentors and fellows discuss recent ACIP recommendations and upcoming issues. Tours of production facilities provide insight into scientific and logistic complexities of vaccine manufacture. Attendance at open meetings of the National Vaccine Advisory Council and ACIP and at vaccine related national scientific conferences also advance the knowledge of fellows.
Results/Lessons Learned: Family physicians can provide a unique voice in the development and implementation of vaccine policy. A structured curriculum can efficiently provide Vaccine Fellows with the knowledge, experience, and contacts they need to be effective leaders in their communities, states, and nationally