Two Trailblazers in Immunization Join the Immunization Action Coalition

SAINT PAUL, Minn., March 25, 2013—The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), one of the nation’s premier sources of immunization information, is proud to announce the addition of two team members, Doctors William Atkinson and Litjen Tan. IAC has assembled a team of experts in immunization to ensure its continued growth as a national center for immunization education and policy development.

William Atkinson, MD, MPH, joins IAC as associate director for immunization education. He previously worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for almost 30 years. Dr. Atkinson’s initial training in psychology, medicine, and epidemiology was followed by board certification in internal medicine and preventive medicine. He served in the Louisiana State Health Department as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer from 1983 until moving to Atlanta in 1989. There, Dr. Atkinson published numerous groundbreaking works, including the Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine Preventable Diseases. He pioneered the use of broadcast technology for bringing immunization education to providers and developed CDC’s immunization email hotline ( Dr. Atkinson, a talented speaker, is known for delivering absorbing talks and question-and-answer sessions on immunization to tens of thousands of registered attendees. In February 2013, Dr. Atkinson was awarded the US Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal, the highest decoration of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. “Dr. Atkinson has a long and distinguished history as a leader in immunization education, bringing both precision and heart to this complicated topic,” said IAC Executive Director Deborah Wexler, MD. “We are looking forward to working closely with him on many of IAC’s key new projects, as well as on our current feature materials and periodicals.”

Litjen Tan, MS, PhD, joins IAC as chief strategy officer. Dr. Tan received a BS in zoology from Duke University, an MS in biology from New York University, and a PhD in microbiology-immunology from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Tan previously served at the American Medical Association (AMA), most recently as the director of medicine and public health and, before that, as the director of infectious disease, immunology, and molecular medicine. His responsibilities at AMA included work as a member or liaison member of numerous committees, for example, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the Technical Expert Panel of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. He has been tireless as a steering committee member for groups such as the National Network for Immunization Information, the 317 Coalition, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, and the Partnership to Eliminate Cervical Cancer. Dr. Tan’s work has been recognized by CDC, the American Pharmacists Association, and the Immunization Coalitions Technical Assistance Network. While working with the IAC executive director to steer IAC, Dr. Tan will continue his role as co-chair of the National Influenza Vaccine Summit and the National Adult Immunization Summit.

Dr. Tan noted, “As IAC’s chief strategy officer I look forward to focusing on building the capacity of the organization and strengthening the broad partnerships Dr. Wexler has developed.”

“Biology teaches us that—for all living things—adaptation is important to evolutionary success. IAC is entering an exciting phase of adaptation to new technology and social forces,” said Dr. Wexler. “We are honored and delighted to have two such distinguished individuals take on important roles in our organization, signaling the beginning of a new era for IAC as a national center for immunization expertise.”

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