Gregory A. Poland, M.D., MACP, FIDSA, FRCP(London)
Mary Lowell Leary Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Distinguished Investigator of the Mayo Clinic
Director, Mayo Vaccine Research Group
Sept. 2021 Advocacy Champion
1. Why is being an advocate so important to you?
As a physician-scientist (and educator at heart) I feel a duty to advocate for the science I am involved in. This starts with the vow I took when I became a physician, and the sense of calling and moral duty to save lives and prevent illness by advocating for policies and procedures that offer the most benefit and the least risk. While vaccines have become so polarized in the mind of the public, the data are clear – vaccines save lives, and prevent illness and disability. In fact, it is one of the most potent tools we have in protecting every single individual’s health and well-being.
2. What health-care related issue(s) have you advocated for over the past year?
As a vaccinologist, I have spent countless hours at the local, regional, national, and international levels educating on issues surrounding the importance of all vaccines – but particularly around the issues of COVID-19 vaccines and prevention. I have done over 2,200 regional, national, and international interviews, talks, and seminars to lay and professional audiences and media on SARS-CoV-2 and the vaccines that prevent this infection. I have been asked to give advice to vaccine manufacturers, governments, public health organizations, churches, sports leagues, and private businesses in regard to protecting against COVID-19 infection.
3. What advice would you offer to others who are interested in advocacy?
DO IT! It is rewarding to know that you make a difference and that your efforts materially help and assist others. I have received the most heart-warming emails, letters, and cards from people all around the world thanking me for the advocacy I do, often commenting on how it changed their opinions and health behaviors. Lives are at stake, and advocacy makes a HUGE difference!
Past Advocacy Champions
- Aug. 2021: Deborah Erickson, MD
- Jul. 2021: Caleb Schultz, MD, MPH
- Jun. 2021: Jill Amsberry, DO
- May 2021: Maria Arciniegas Calle, MD
- Apr. 2021: Derrick Lewis
- Mar. 2021: Cindy Firkins Smith, MD
- Feb. 2021: Maria Veronica Svetaz, MD, MPH
- Jan. 2021: Paul Matson, MD
- Dec. 2020: Verna A. Thornton, MD
- Nov 2020: Chris Wee, MD
- Oct 2020: Beth Baker, MD
- Sept. 2020: Edward P. Ehlinger, MD, MSPH
- Aug. 2020: Ashok Patel, MD
- July 2020: Sen. Matt Klein, MD
- June 2020: Nathan T. Chomilo, MD, FAAP
- May 2020: Peter F. Bornstein, MD, MBA
- April 2020: Tom Schmidt, MS4
- March 2020: Rachel E. W. Tellez, MD
- Feb. 2020: Dionne Hart, MD, DFAPA
- Jan. 2020: Heather Bell, MD
- December 2019: Rep. Kelly Morrison, MD
- November 2019: Carolyn McClain, MD
- October 2019: Renee Crichlow, MD, FAAP
- September 2019: Will Nicholson, MD
- August 2019: Lauren Williams, MD
- July 2019: Carl E. Burkland, MD
- June 2019: Marilyn J Peitso, MD, FAAP