By: Jonathan Hamwood
This week the March of Dimes announced that they are teaming with Sanofi Pasteur to motivate moms to make healthy decisions for their families, in particular ensuring that all family members receive vaccinations for preventable diseases via the Word of Mom Campaign. “I love this campaign because it is multigenerational and looks at childhood, adolescent and adult vaccinations,” said Jamie Lober, Public Relations Chairman for the March of Dimes – Palm Beach Division. Lober feels it is a common misperception that shots are just for kids. “This is about community health and that is my passion,” said Lober.
Lober goes on to tell that the campaign is in honor of the organization’s 75th anniversary. “We are gearing this toward moms since they tend to make the healthcare decisions for their families and we want them to have advice on healthy living as well as vaccine recommendations at their fingertips to make things easy,” said Lober. It is also a way for moms to network and discuss tips that helped their family stay healthy. “Moms agree that not smoking especially during pregnancy; making sure your child gets regular checkups including dental and eye exams; washing hands for at least 20 seconds; and making sure vaccinations are up-to-date for everyone in the home are important to health promotion,” said Lober.
Bringing over a decade of involvement with health education to the table, Lober finds that vaccines seem to be a confusing topic for the masses. “There are a lot of myths and contradictory information out there so I want to let people know how to get accurate information so they can feel good about their decisions,” said Lober. When you know what to look for, vaccination guidance is actually fairly straightforward. “Instead of randomly googling, start with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and always look to see who is paying for the website to make sure it is not biased and can be trusted,” said Lober. When you research vaccines, you are likely to find a lot of testimonials. “People’s personal stories do not matter; you have to look at the scientific evidence and when you do that, you will see that it weighs entirely in favor of vaccines with few exceptions,” said Lober.
As for why she is personally involved with the campaign, Lober stated that aside from being a spokesman for her local division, she truly believes that if everyone around her gets vaccinated that she will be healthier too. When asked if she wanted to discuss any vaccine in particular, Lober seemed fully prepared, almost as if she was hoping to be asked. “Sexual health has been one of my favorite areas to be involved in over the years and I like telling people about the HPV vaccination because at least 50 percent of sexually active people will get it at some point in their lives and many will not even know it,” said Lober. She goes on to tell that everyone should be talking about HPV. “It is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States so we need to be open about it and try to get all boys and girls all 3 doses of the vaccine as a preteen before their first sexual contact,” said Lober.
When she thinks of public health achievements, Lober names recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard and implementation of vaccinations as the top two in her opinion. “These vaccinations need to start as newborns and these little people need to stay on schedule for a lifetime,” said Lober. For more information, Lober encourages families to get connected with their local March of Dimes or visit www.vaccines.com/wordofmom.