Jessica Atwell


Assistant Scientist
JHSPH Faculty Page


Jessica E. Atwell, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Scientist in Department of International Health and joined the Center faculty in January of 2016. Prior to earning her MPH and PhD at JHSPH, Dr. Atwell worked as a microbiologist for the state of California on outbreaks of food-borne and vaccine-preventable disease.  Since coming to Hopkins in 2010, she has focused on the epidemiology and control of respiratory disease, particularly pertussis (whooping cough) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). She has worked on issues of pertussis resurgence and vaccine hesitancy in the US, as well as new vaccine introduction and challenges to vaccine delivery in developing settings. 

Dr. Atwell’s current interests are focused on maternal immunization and RSV. She is working to improve uptake of vaccines for influenza and pertussis among pregnant women and problem solving obstacles ahead of maternal vaccines for RSV, including understanding barriers to efficient transplacental transport of RSV antibodies. She’s also interested in the epidemiology and seasonality of RSV in tropical settings, the relationship between RSV and asthma, and how best to define critical RSV disease. 

With Dr. Laura Hammitt and the Infectious Disease team at the CAIH, Dr. Atwell is leading a study to understand challenges and successes of maternal immunization programs in the Navajo and White Mountain Apache people to inform the design of provider- and community-based interventions to improve uptake of these vaccines. The study is called EMI – Evaluation of Maternal Immunization and Development of Interventions to Increase Vaccine Uptake Among Expectant American Indian Women. 



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