July 8, 2015 | Les Pensières, Annecy (France)
Fondation Mérieux held its 16th annual Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC) at the Les Pensières Conference Centre May 11 – 23, 2015. Scientists and decision makers involved in vaccine development and strategies from the public and private sectors participated in this course, organized in partnership by Fondation Mérieux and the University of Geneva.
From access to assessment, ADVAC faculty present the major vaccine issues, including their introduction and the selection of appropriate vaccination strategies. To facilitate critical decision-making, the participants are plunged into an immersive learning environment including case studies and lively debates.
A highlight of the sessions is the Plotkin Lecture named after the Stanley Plotkin, one of ADVAC’s founders. Ebola and emerging early lessons was the theme of this year’s Plotkin Lecture and was presented by Marie-Paul Kieny, Assistant Director General from the Department of Health Innovations and Systems at the WHO. Professor Kieny pinpointed two specific lessons for the global health community: the need to build stronger health systems to provide appropriate services and the ability to quickly conduct vaccine trials with an almost unprecedented mobilization of countries, health agencies, NGOs, and companies. With continued collaboration of all the sectors, it will ensure that future Ebola outbreaks or other epidemic of infectious diseases will be fought with the best possible public health tools: effective vaccines.
Global coordination of vaccines begins with the people working in the public health sector, which is why ADVAC provides networking opportunities for the participants. The ADVAC participants forge strong relationships during their 11 days of learning and remain in contact through the online ADVAC Network and at get-together meetings. To date 1,000 ADVAC alumni have returned to their home countries to put their newfound knowledge into practice at their organizations.
ADVAC alumnus Ananda Bandyopadhyay Senior Program Officer, Polio Research at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation went one step further after returning from his experience in the course. At the invitation of the Scientific Advisory Board, he returned to the 16th ADVAC to give a lecture on polio and new vaccination strategies from a global perspective.
A selection of ADVAC 16 lectures were recorded as podcasts, which are accessible online through the ADVAC Network. The podcasts allow alumni to tap into the latest information and innovations in the field of vaccinology from world renowned experts in public health.
Evolving, adapting and progressing - ADVAC will continue to be a program that draws top notch participants and faculty in the future.
ADVAC in numbers
- Participants from over 100 countries
- A network of 1,000 alumni
- 65 rigorously selected participants and 65 international speakers each year
- 13 interactive sessions
- 11 days of courses