Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine will host a national conference on immunization on Jan. 30 and 31. Titled â€œProtecting Our Next Generation, Ages 0-3, the conference will feature nationally recognized authorities discussing the importance of vaccinating children to prevent treatable infections.
Vaccines available today have made conditions such as chicken pox, measles, polio and bacterial meningitis uncommon. However, the vaccination rates in South Florida are well below the state Health Department's goal of a 90 percent vaccination rate by 2010. According to the latest state health statistics, Miami-Dade County reported an 89 percent immunization rate, while Broward and Palm Beach counties were just 78 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
Protecting Our Next Generation will educate health care providers about immunization safety and value. These providers can then advise parents about the importance of getting their children inoculated. The conference is primarily intended for practicing physicians and other health care workers to review important community and medical issues impacting the health and development of children from birth to 3 years of age.
Some of the speakers will include:
- Paul Offit, M.D., international expert on immunization safety;
- Anne De Groot, M.D., national expert in epitope-driven vaccines;
- Melinda Wharton, M.D., deputy director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases;
- Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, international expert on health care law regarding children;
- Sharon G. Humiston, MD, MPH, FAAP, associate professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York;
- Gerry Shiebler, child advocacy expert;
- Ana M. Viamonte, Florida's Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.
The conference will be held at the Nova Southeastern University's Health Professions Division.