ACOG's Immunization Champions
Congratulations 2022 Immunization Champion Award Winners
ACOG is proud to acknowledge the below Obstetrician–Gynecologist Immunization Champions. These Immunization Champions are considered leaders in maternal and adult immunization. They have demonstrated exceptional progress in increasing immunization rates among adults and pregnant women in their communities through leadership, innovation, collaboration, and educational activities aimed at following ACOG and CDC guidance to increase immunization rates among women.
Congratulations to ACOG's 2022 Immunization Champion Award Winners!
This year, ACOG recognized six Immunization Champions. The ACOG Immunization Champion Award recognizes members who have demonstrated ongoing efforts to promote routine immunizations to pregnant and non-pregnant patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and have done an exemplary job of educating its patients and other women's health care practitioners.
Jenna Beckham, MD, MSPH, is a board certified obstetrician–gynecologist at WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is passionate about immunizations and has led various COVID-19 vaccine efforts in recent years. Dr. Beckham was a physician champion for inpatient COVID-19 vaccine administration, and under her leadership, the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service was recognized for having the highest number of vaccine administrations in the entire hospital system. She also served as the physician lead in establishing the outpatient obstetrics and gynecology clinic as a COVID-19 vaccine administration site and has led a department-wide initiative to ensure COVID-19 vaccine education and counseling is a part of all patients' obstetrics and gynecology care. Throughout the pandemic, she has provided education and resources to her colleagues regarding COVID-19 vaccines and has also worked to create educational resources for patients.
Libby Crockett, MD, MPH, is a full time obstetrician–gynecologist at the Grand Island Clinic, a private multi-specialty clinic in Grand Island, Nebraska, located in central Nebraska. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Crockett has worked to build communication and education among physicians in her community as well as the general public regarding COVID-19. Through building trust and providing accurate information about the science of COVID-19 illness and the safety of vaccines, she succeeded in encouraging more than 70% of her pregnant patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is a higher vaccination rate than local rates within the general adult public.
Neeraj Desai, MD, is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, practicing at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies since 2012. Starting in 2017, Dr. Desai served as the physician champion of a multidisciplinary team that launched initiatives to enhance immunization rates among patients at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital. They initially focused on Tdap and Influenza vaccination using visual aids, dedicated weekly rounds, and lunch and learn meetings with hospital staff. Recently the team's efforts expanded to include COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the pregnant population. Due to these initiatives, over a two-year period there was an increase of 180% and 550% Influenza and Tdap vaccination administered to admitted patients on their Antepartum unit.
Jessica Hott, DO, is the ambulatory medical director for West Virginia University (WVU) Medicine's EAST Campus in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Dr. Hott is a board certified obstetrician–gynecologist and has a passion for providing the highest level of care for our obstetric population. She has continued to enthusiastically recommend and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to her patients, emphasizing the data supporting the safety and effectiveness of vaccination in pregnancy. She is passionate about helping her patients understand the facts which can help them to make a confident and informed decision to choose vaccination. She believes educating patients about the COVID-19 vaccine makes a meaningful difference for many pregnant people and is the best chance there is to save lives, decrease morbidity in the pregnant population, and help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johana Oviedo, MD, MPH, is a clinical assistant professor at New York University. Dr. Oviedo prioritized vaccination advocacy by ensuring that trainees incorporate COVID-19 vaccination into their counseling and preventive care protocols. She helped develop an outreach program to educate pregnant patients about the COVID-19 vaccine and schedule their vaccine appointments on the same day as their prenatal care visits. She was also engaged in media outreach, particularly Spanish-language media, while she was herself pregnant, in effort to drive home the importance of vaccinations during pregnancy.
Florencia Polite, MD, is a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology who serves as Chief of the Division of General OBGYN at Penn Medicine and Vice Chair of Clinical Operations. Dr. Polite practices both obstetrics and gynecology at Penn OBGYN Associates practice at Penn Medicine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Polite created and operationalized Operation-CAVEAT: COVID-19 Acceptance: Vaccine Education and Adoption Taskforce, an intervention designed to address vaccine hesitancy among staff at Penn Medicine. For this effort, she was named one of Philadelphia's citizens of the year. She has been a front-line health care worker during the pandemic and has provided over 100 hours of vaccine education on podcasts, Instagram and virtual forums.
Past Award Winners
- Aaron Elkin, MD, is an OB-GYN with Florida Woman Care and currently chairs its Educational Committee. Dr. Elkin is also affiliated with Unified Women’s Healthcare OB/GYN group, an established private practice in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Broward County, South Florida. Dr. Elkin created one of the first Covid-19 Drive through vaccinations in Florida and the United States in which Healthcare practitioners and those in contact with the essential healthcare workers got vaccinated while sitting in their cars. Over 500 vaccinations were administered in collaboration Broward County Medical Association and the Florida Department with the state, paramedics, fire rescue, other associated entities, and the national guard.
- Abbey B. Berenson, MD PhD, a gynecologist, promotes vaccination, including uptake of the HPV vaccine, among patients at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. Dr. Berenson’s HPV vaccination projects have promoted collaborations among UTMB Health System, the Department of Ob/Gyn, the Department of Pediatrics, and 12 Regional Maternal Child Health clinics, as well as external partners, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and a hospital in the Valley. The projects, funded by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, include provider education, patient navigators, and standing orders for the vaccine.
- Anne Marie Reidy, MD, is a Board Certified OBGYN who has been practicing in Huntsville, Alabama for 17 years. She is the owner and founder of Women4Women OBGYN, a boutique group practice which offers OBGYN, midwifery and aesthetic/wellness services to the women of North Alabama. She and her practice have been active in educating and promoting COVID-19 vaccination for their patients and their staff from the beginning. Through the use of their blog, social media, reference material and patient counseling, Dr. Reidy's practice has had a high rate of vaccination among their patient population. Dr. Reidy has required all her staff to be vaccinated and the power of example in this regard cannot be understated.
- Beatriz M. Folch-Hayek, MD, is Assistant Medical Director for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD). She has worked diligently to equip providers and support staff with the most evidence-based information regarding the risk of COVID-19 infection versus the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine(s) among pregnant individuals, so they could educate and counsel patients. She has also worked to secure early and easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine(s) for all pregnant individuals who desired vaccination.
- Joseph M. Gobern, MD, MBA, currently serves as the System Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Main Line Health where he oversees women’s health services. He co-chaired the COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador Program to organize, train and educate members of the health system to share positive accurate information about the vaccine to vulnerable and hesitant populations. A retired Colonel in the U.S. Army, Dr. Gobern has also worked with community partners in the Philadelphia region, as well as local news sources to deliver addresses about vaccine efficacy and safety. As a result, the community and region continue to partner with Main Line Health System to advance health equity and the facts about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and reproductive health.
- Marta Perez, MD, is Assistant Professor of OB-GYN at WashU in St. Louis School of Medicine. She works as an academic laborist and is passionate about advocacy, teaching, and clinical research. She has a particular interest in using social media to educate patients, explaining evidenced-based topics on perinatal health on Instagram and YouTube. She confronts antivaxx online trolls and counters their harmful messaging so that patients are not misled and can make decisions about vaccination based on the right information. She is performing research on vaccine hesitancy and increasing access to COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant and postpartum patients.
- Rachel L. Wiley, MD, MPH is a current resident at University of Texas at Houston. She developed a module on HPV intended for improving vaccination rates at a first-year medical school level, which she still teaches every year and has been adopted by other medical schools in the state of Texas. She is passionate about improving uptake of vaccinations in Texas, and incorporates routine vaccination recommendations into her clinical practice.
- Carol L. Archie, MD, FACOG is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist practicing in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Archie has been a mentor to other ob-gyn practices looking to implement immunizations. Her experience with diverse populations, makes her an invaluable resource in addressing personal and cultural patient barriers to immunizations. She is extremely proud of the work that all ACOG members and staff have done to assure that all obstetrician-gynecologists have the knowledge, tools, and motivation to fulfill the vital mission to assure not only that every woman is vaccinated appropriately, but women will learn the value of vaccinating their children.
- Alisa B. Kachikis, MD, MSc is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. She has participated in and coordinated international work groups for the Global Alignment of Immunization Safety Assessment in pregnancy (GAIA)/Brighton Collaboration, an effort to harmonize definitions for adverse events in obstetrics and neonatology for national and multi-national immunization trials. Her research interests include maternal immunizations and infectious diseases in pregnancy.
- Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman is an ob-gyn generalist practicing at Grady Memorial hospital as an Adjunct Faculty member for Emory University in Atlanta Georgia. For many years, she has promoted routine vaccination as part of well woman care and has advocated for the increased use of vaccines during the prenatal and postpartum period. She is passionate about preventing morbidity and mortality among women from infectious diseases.
- Dr. Denise Jean Jamieson is the James Robert McCord Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Emory and has been practicing general obstetrics and gynecology at Grady for 22 years. With her Emory and Morehouse colleagues, she launched an initiative to increase maternal immunization rates among pregnant patients at Grady.
- Dr. Mary Pell Abernathy is a Maternal-fetal Medicine specialist working at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She is currently serving as the ACOG Indiana Section Chair. Dr. Abernathy is working with the Indiana State Department of Health and IU School of Public Health to improve access for HPV vaccination among college age students. She remains a strong advocate for immunizations for women and has presented at the statewide conference regarding the safety of Tdap and Flu vaccinations during pregnancy.
- Dr. Linda O’Neal Eckert maintains a clinical practice in obstetrics & gynecology at the University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, where she is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Adjunct Professor in the Global Health Department. She is on ACOG’s Immunization, Infectious Disease, & Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group, and works as a consultant to WHO and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in policy and implementation tool development for maternal immunization, and the HPV vaccine.
- Dr. Meryl Y. Grimaldi, Vice Chair of St. Barnabas Hospital ob-gyn is a generalist OB GYN. She works in a safety net Bronx Hospital that cares for a large multicultural medically underserved population. A comprehensive program of preconception, prenatal and postpartum vaccination is the standard of care in the department.
- Dr. Sangini S. Sheth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Sheth has been using dissemination and implementation science methods to successfully improve HPV vaccine utilization among patients of Yale New Haven Hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology clinic in outpatient and inpatient postpartum settings.
In 2010, ACOG convened an Immunization Expert Work Group to further support and enhance the role of ob-gyns as vaccinators of pregnant and non-pregnant adults and adolescents. This leading group of ob-gyn infectious disease experts advises ACOG's Immunization Department activities, grant programs, clinical resources, and guidance development. Many work group members represent ACOG on national immunization committees, work groups, and coalitions. Over the years, the work group's role has grown and expanded to also support ACOG's response to emerging and re-emerging infectious disease threats, including anthrax, Ebola, zika virus, COVID-19, and monkeypox.
- Laura Riley, MD (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY)
- Kevin Ault, MD (University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS)
- Richard Beigi, MD (Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA)
- Linda O'Neal Eckert, MD (University of Washington, Seattle, WA)
- Barbara Fisher, MD, PhD (Providence Health & Services, Providence, OR)
- Romeo Galang, MD MPH (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA)
- Brenna Hughes, MD (Duke Perinatal, Durham, NC)
- Lisa S. Ipp, MD (Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY)
- Denise Jean Jamieson, MD, CAP, MC USPH (Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA)
- Dana Meaney-Delman MD MPH (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA)
- Howard Minkoff, MD (Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY)
- Flor Munoz, MD (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX)
- Lois Ramondetta, MD (MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX)
- Neil Silverman, MD (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA)
- Rhoda Sperling, MD (Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY)
- Geeta Swamy, MD (Duke University, Durham, NC)
- J. Martin Tucker, MD (Jackson Healthcare for Women, Flowood, MS)
The Increasing Immunization Rates through Obstetrician-Gynecologist Partnerships project is a four-year, CDC-funded cooperative agreement aimed at reducing barriers and improving adult immunizations in pregnant and non-pregnant populations. In 2015, this project identified the below immunization champions to help ACOG create and improve resources that will benefit other ob-gyns as they improve their immunization programs and establish a culture of immunization.
- Laila Al-Marayati, MD (Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA)
- Carol Archie, MD (Linda Cowan, MD and Associates, Los Angeles, CA)
- Richard Bardowell, MD (Richard Bardowell, MD, Burbank, CA)
- Karla Iacampo, MD (Karla Iacampo, MD, Inc., Santa Monica, CA)
- Samuel Kassar, MD (Woodglen Ob-Gyn Medical Group, Glendora, CA)
- Deirdre Logan, MD (Watts Healthcare Corporation, Los Angeles, CA)
- Ranoo Sabnis, MD (UCLA Westlake OB/GYN, Westlake Village, CA)
- Laura Sirott, MD (Laura Sirott, MD, Pasadena, CA)
- Ayanna Walden, MD (Ayanna Walden, MD, Beverly Hills, CA)
- Jacqueline Trejo, MD (Santa Monica Gyn-ob, Santa Monica, CA)
- Laura Bookman, MD (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA)
- Khady Diouf, MD (Brigham and Women's Outpatient Obstetrics Practice, Boston, MA)
- Huma Farid, MD (Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton Ob/GYN, Milton, MA)
- Jennifer Kickham, MD (Massachusetts General Hospital Ob/Gyn, Boston, MA)
- Evelyn Marsh, MD (New England OB-GYN Associates, Chestnut Hill, MA)
- Katherine Marshall, MD (Brookline Women's Health, Allston, MA)
- Aaron Mendel, MD (Central Massachusetts OB/GYN Associates, Shrewsbury, MA)
- Julie Miner, MD (Brigham Faulkner Ob/Gyn Associates, Jamaica Plain, MA)
- Marcus Ortega Alves, MD (University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worchester, MA)