An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Maryland (UMD), led by Dr. Sandra C. Quinn in the School of Public Health, has received a grant supported by a program between UMD and Tel Aviv University (TAU) to support joint research collaboration. For the project, Understanding Public Attitudes and Behaviors related to Vaccines, UMD and TAU researchers will come together to explore cross-cultural issues around vaccine acceptance in emergency and non-emergency contexts.
Dr. Quinn, professor of family science and senior associate director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE) at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, will lead the project, along with M-CHE research study coordinator Dr. Leah B. Curran and Dr. Brooke Liu, associate professor of communications at UMD. Dr. Vicki Freimuth, University of Georgia, and Dr. Kevin Kim, University of Pittsburgh, are also members of the UMD team. The TAU team, led by Dr. Daniel I. Cohen, professor and director of the Tel-Aviv University School of Public Health, is comprised of Drs. Baruch Velan, Khitam Muhsen, Amit Huppert, Giora Kaplan, and Gabriel Chodick.
This cross-cultural research team will consider how to respond to calls for work on vaccine acceptance and decision-making, trust, risk perception, the impact of groups and social norms, and communication and engagement. This work can inform communication between public health and governmental authorities with diverse segments of the public in Israel and the United States.
The grant is funded by the new TAU-UMD Joint Research Workshops Program, which provides $15,000 to support and encourage joint research collaboration. The joint workshops are intended to help scholars at both institutions to identify complementary research strengths and explore potential collaborations.
Dr. Quinn, who spearheaded the partnership with TAU, sees great possibilities with this project.
“With the continuing threat of infectious diseases, some hesitancy among some members of our diverse publics in both the U.S. and Israel, and the potential of new vaccines for an array of health issues, this partnership is an important opportunity to learn from one another and answer important research questions that can guide vaccine practices, policies, and communication both across our two nations and internationally,” said Dr. Quinn.