Gagandeep Kang, MD, PhD, FRCPath, FAAM, FASc, FNASc, FNA, FFPH, FRS
Known for interdisciplinary research on the transmission, development and prevention of enteric infections and their sequelae in children in India, Dr. Kang’s current studies include active hospital and community-based surveillance and clinical trials of new and existing vaccines, including the use of molecular assays to study pathogen diversity and immune responses in children with viral and parasitic enteric infections. She has also established training programs for students and young faculty in clinical translational medicine, with the goal of building a cadre of clinical researchers studying public health problems of importance to India. Dr. Kang was the first woman from India to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and also of the American Academy of Microbiology.
Sabin Social & Behavioral Research Project
Building Vaccine Confidence Among Accredited Social Health Activists
In 2019, Dr. Kang and team were awarded Sabin’s Social and Behavioral Research Grant to explore building vaccine confidence among Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to address vaccine hesitancy and accelerate the uptake of childhood immunization. They assessed the level of vaccine hesitancy in Nuh district of Haryana where immunization coverage was known to be far below the national average. Levels of hesitancy were assessed in association with perceptions about vaccines among Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs). The team implemented an intervention designed to address the communication and capacity-building needs of ASHAs.
“For health workers to believe in vaccines is really important and through this project, what we are hoping to do is to understand what frontline health workers think about vaccinations, what their belief systems are, so that we can make sure that we can devise interventions that improve confidence in vaccines across all aspects of health systems.”