The 18th Annual Allegheny County Immunization Coalition Conference

By 2023 ACIC Conference Committee – Andress Pena, Mikaela Kluver, Courtney Jordan, Miriam Messick, Jennifer Bender, Melanie Mayer

The 18th Annual Allegheny County Immunization Coalition Conference took place on November 8, 2023, at the Doubletree Hilton Monroeville. This year’s conference, chaired by Ashley Ayres, commenced with an enlightening presentation by Dr. Todd Wolynn, a distinguished board-certified pediatrician and lactation consultant. Dr. Wolynn’s extensive expertise in immunizations, breastfeeding medicine, and pediatric sleep issues set a profound tone for the event, emphasizing the critical need to remain updated on the latest developments in vaccination practices.

One of the most poignant moments of the conference was the heartfelt testimony shared by Joe Randig, a polio survivor. His narrative provided a stirring account of the challenges and triumphs he faced while battling polio during one of the nation’s most severe epidemics. Joe’s story served as a poignant reminder of the remarkable impact of dedicated healthcare professionals and the essential role of comprehensive immunization strategies in safeguarding public health. His narrative deeply resonated with attendees, adding a human touch to the discussions on immunization and instilling a renewed commitment to healthcare excellence.

Throughout the conference, distinguished professionals delved into critical topics pertinent to immunization efforts. Dr. Barbara Nightingale and Dr. Kristen Mertz from the Allegheny County Health Department shared insights and strategies for enhancing vaccine coverage in the region. Dr. Donald Middleton provided valuable updates on influenza, drawing upon his extensive teaching career and dual board certifications in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Additionally, Dr. Raymond Pontzer offered insights into Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) across the lifespan, leveraging over 45 years of experience in the field.

Conference Committee

Adding a unique perspective to the discussion, Helen Hawkey, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health, underscored the pivotal role of dental professionals in preventing HPV-related cancers. Her wealth of experience in clinical dentistry, research coordination, and advocacy highlighted the evolving landscape of healthcare and the interconnectedness of various medical disciplines.

The conference served as a dynamic platform where each speaker contributed to a rich tapestry of knowledge, emphasizing the collaborative effort required to advance immunization initiatives in Allegheny County. The Allegheny County Immunization Coalition remains steadfast in its mission to educate and inspire attendees to continue championing public health.

Lastly, we want to thank our exhibitors whose unwavering support greatly enriched the 18th Annual Allegheny County Immunization Coalition Conference. We sincerely thank Sanofi, Dynavax, Pfizer, Quality Insights, ACHD Emergency Preparedness, GSK, Pathways Wellness Program, ACMS, Merck, Novavax, and Medicaid. Your dedication and commitment to advancing immunization efforts are commendable, and your presence at the conference underscored the collaborative spirit essential to promoting public health. Together, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities. Thank you for your continued partnership and dedication to this vital cause.

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