Hello! My name is René F. Najera, and I’m an epidemiologist. Well, I’m a lot of things, like father, husband, and brother, but my profession is epidemiologist. Epidemiology is the study of that which comes upon the people. By “that,” we mean those diseases and conditions that threaten health and wellbeing. These could be everything from infectious diseases to chronic conditions like diabetes or even poverty. We take information from all available sources, analyze it, and then put it to work.
Once in a while, we go to “hot spots” to fight outbreaks and such.
If my name sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve written for History of Vaccines before. It might also be that you’ve come across my own blog, or because you’ve heard me speak at any number of presentations I’ve given on different health matters. Or, it could be because you’ve seen me correct a person or two on social media about the importance of vaccines for public health. As of this week, I am the new editor of History of Vaccines, taking over for the wonderful and talented Karie Youngdahl. Karie is now Senior Writer, Science Communications at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). The IAVI is a is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership brought together to aid in the development of vaccines against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. She will be there “working to share the progress IAVI is making on developing effective, safe HIV vaccines and other biomedical approaches to preventing HIV infection,” as she put it.
It is truly an honor for me to take over, and I am humbled at the opportunity to fill such big shoes. I promise to do my best. So what kind of changes will you be seeing in History of Vaccines? Not that many, really. The site is really well done, and it doesn’t need any kind of big change. I’ll be blogging two or three times a week, sometimes in Spanish. I’ll be preparing some articles for the near and far future. And I’ll be starting an Instagram account for the site where we will showcase some of the great photographs from history that you can see in the gallery of images right now. If anything does change, I’ll be sure to make it as user-friendly as possible, and for it to be an improvement on the site.
More about me? Sure.
I have a doctorate in public health (DrPH) from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. When I’m not writing, you can find me helping a local, state or federal health agency make sense of their health data. Or I might be overseas chasing a viral outbreak. In my free time, you’ll find me relaxing at home with my wife and child, or at the swimming pool, practicing my “controlled drowning” (aka swimming).
I really look forward to conveying to you all of the great information out there on vaccines, from the time that Chinese medical practitioners practiced inoculation, to Jenner’s crazy idea about cowpox and smallpox, to today’s different formulations of influenza vaccines, and tomorrow’s promised genetically tailored vaccines. You can always reach out to me on social media via Twitter (@EpiRen) or Facebook (http://facebook.com/rene.f.najera) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to serving you.