Center for Civic Engagement / Center for Religious Understanding / Center for Public Humanities

Oakland University panel discussion to address COVID-19 vaccination campaign

covid vaccine, civic engagement, religious understanding, public humanities

icon of a calendarJanuary 19, 2021

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Oakland University panel discussion to address COVID-19 vaccination campaign
The moderator for the event will be Mark Navin, Ph.D., professor and chair of Oakland University's Philosophy Department.

Oakland University’s Centers for Civic Engagement, Religious Understanding, and Public Humanities are organizing a panel of experts to discuss the key factors to secure a successful vaccination campaign. The “COVID-19 Vaccination: Access, Awareness, and Acceptance” panel is scheduled for Monday, January 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (EST).

The panel includes the following leading local experts in public health and immunology: Natasha Bagdasarian (senior public health physician, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services), Russell Faust (medical director for Oakland County), and Nicholas Gilpin, M.D. (chief medical officer at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe), as well as community leader Rev. Derrick McDonald (pastor of Prospect Missionary Baptist Church). The moderator for the event will be Mark Navin, Ph.D. (professor and chair of Oakland University Philosophy Department).

There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. Sign up for the discussion at: 

Professor Navin explained, “We are all eager to end the COVID pandemic, and we've known for a while that widespread vaccination was our best chance. It shouldn't be surprising that we're going to have to do some work to help people decide that COVID vaccines are right for them. Helping to build acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines is crucial because most of our other vaccines are given to young children and those vaccines have been given millions of times over many decades, but the COVID vaccines are new, and they use novel technologies.”

Michael Pytlik, adjunct assistant professor and director of Jewish Studies at Oakland University’s Center for Religious Understanding said, “The ethical concerns of different religious communities need to be taken into account when designing strategies to promote vaccination. A successful public health campaign must understand that awareness is a two-way street.” Pytlik added, “We need to take into account religious objections to address them appropriately, but government and healthcare institutions must also be aware of their own perceptions of these communities. Cultural stereotypes can result in ill-advised public health policy.”

David Dulio, political science professor and director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Oakland University, added “Access to vaccines is often compromised by socioeconomic constraints. A successful vaccination campaign benefits from years of public health policy directed to promoting access to medical services to all members of our society.”

John Corso-Esquivel, associate professor of Art and director of the Center for Public Humanities, explained, “All public health campaigns must take human cultures into consideration. A successful vaccination campaign hinges on the ability of health authorities to present the advantages of vaccination in ways that are culturally appropriate.” Corso continued, “Beyond the success of the present vaccination campaign, we need to be able to understand the history of the present crisis in ways that help us to prevent repeating our mistakes. Thorough scientific research will benefit from insights from disciplines like history, cultural studies, sociology, and other humanistic fields, helping us interpret human behavior in the face of the present pandemic.”

About the Center for Public Humanities
The mission of the Center for Public Humanities is to advance excellence in public humanities and the arts to support and enrich Southeast Michigan’s diverse learning communities. Founded in September 2019, the Center endeavors to establish a prestigious platform from which Oakland’s public intellectuals can offer humanistic scholarship and creative work in alternative, accessible formats for the benefit and enrichment of the region’s populace.

About the Center for Religious Understanding
The Oakland University Center for Religious Understanding (CRU) recognizes the importance of comprehending multiple faith traditions and forging constructive linkages with them. The Center contributes to the distinctive educational experiences of Oakland students, furthers faculty and student research and scholarship, and serves as an involved partner with the larger community.

About the Center for Civic Engagement
The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) takes important issues of public concern and public policy out of the classroom and actively engages many different stakeholders — including students, faculty, policy makers and community members — in non-partisan, deliberative and productive dialogue.


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