Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

ADVAC’s 15th Anniversary

5 June 2014, Les Pensières, Annecy (France)

Fondation Mérieux held its 15th annual Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC) at Les Pensières Conference Centre May 12-23, 2014. Scientists and decision-makers involved in vaccine development and policy, from both the public and private sectors, participated in the course, which is co-organized each year by Fondation Mérieux and the University of Geneva.

ADVAC's 15th Anniversary

Beyond the science behind vaccines, the course includes the cultural aspects that impact vaccination. To facilitate critical decision-making, participants work on case studies that cover the social, economic, political and ethical issues that impact vaccination strategies in every country.

For Benoît Miribel, Director General of Fondation Mérieux, ADVAC is as relevant today as it was 15 years ago: “Charles Mérieux’s dream was to vaccinate all of the children in the world. Vaccines are still among the most powerful tools available to protect the health of populations. The reemergence of polio in Syria and the measles outbreak in the UK are troubling and show how increasing access to vaccines and raising awareness are still vital.”

The members of the faculty and the Scientific Committee are public health thought leaders and participants benefit from the expertise of world-renowned specialists. Dr. Stanley Plotkin first initiated the course with Dr. Charles Mérieux and the initial curriculum was developed with professors Claire-Anne Siegrist and Paul-Henri Lambert from the University of Geneva as well as with Dr. Neal Halsey from Johns Hopkins. Dr. Betty Dodet, former Scientific Director at Fondation Mérieux, was also instrumental in creating the course.

ADVAC in Numbers

  • Participants from 101 countries

  • A network of 900 alumni

  • 65 rigorously selected participants and 65 international speakers each year

  • 13 interactive sessions

  • 11 days of courses

In the 15 years since ADVAC was launched, the course curriculum has adapted to the dramatic shifts in the field of vaccination. There are simulations based on the very latest developments in the field to make the course as close and relevant as possible to the challenges facing vaccine policy decision-makers. ADVAC has undergone its own green revolution with the introduction of iPads. Before the use of tablets, each annual ADVAC course required about 80,000 pages of printed material to provide participants with presentation print-outs and supporting articles.

Over the years, an active ADVAC network has grown. There are now about 900 ADVAC alumni and, in the past year alone, “Advacers” have gathered at meetings in San Francisco, Barcelona and Cape Town. ADVAC alumni have privileged access to course sessions on podcasts and presentations on a dedicated website.

Scientific Committee Members

  • Paul-Henri LAMBERT (course director), University of Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Stanley PLOTKIN (senior scientific advisor), Vaxconsult (USA)

  • Edwin ASTURIAS, Children’s Hospital Colorado (USA)

  • Philippe DUCLOS, WHO (Switzerland)

  • Adam FINN, University of Bristol (UK)

  • Bruce GELLIN, NVPO (USA)

  • Brad GESSNER, AMP (France)

  • Neal HALSEY, J.H. Bloomberg School of Public Health (USA)

  • Kari JOHANSEN, ECDC (Sweden)

  • Christophe LONGUET, Fondation Mérieux (France)

  • Alison MAWLE, CDC (USA)

  • Charles MGONE, EDCTP (Netherlands)

  • Mark MILLER, Fogarty International Center, NIH (USA)

  • Hanna NOHYNEK, THL (Finland)

  • Susan REHM, NFID (USA)

  • Claire-Anne SIEGRIST, University of Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Chris WILSON, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (USA)

ADVAC would not be possible without the many partners who contribute to and support this initiative: The European Commission (ADITEC project), the World Health Organization, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID), the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), the National Institutes of Health and Fogarty International Center, and the National Vaccine Programme Office (NVPO). Fellowships are provided for participants from developing countries by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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