Invisible Impact: How Vaccines Seem to Make Diseases Disappear

illustration of a syringe injecting a vaccine

When public health is working, nothing happens; people don't get sick or hurt or die, and in a way, public health, at it's very best, is invisible. This week, we're talking about one function of public health that embodies that idea — vaccines. When vaccination works the way it's intended to, nothing happens, diseases like polio seem to disappear. But are they really gone or is it just public health at work? 

Listen in as experts from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the University of Michigan School of Information discuss the threat of vaccine-preventable diseases, how vaccines work, what makes people choose not to get vaccinated and why vaccines are important for both children and adults.

Listen to "Invisible Impact: How Vaccines Seem to Make Diseases Disappear" on Spreaker.

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In This Episode

Charles YunCharles Yun

Director of Computing, University of Michigan School of Information

Charles Yun was a member of one of the first Master of Science in Information (MSI) cohorts at the University of Michigan, earning his MSI from the university’s School of Information in 1999. Since 2000, he has worked with a variety of scientific communities across the world, helping them integrate new networking and computing technologies into their daily practices. Learn more.


Nina Masters

Nina Masters

PhD Student, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Nina Masters is committed to improving disease outcomes of populations by highlighting and clarifying the role of spatial heterogeneity and untimely vaccination within and between communities. This involves finding the best ways to quantify vaccine hesitancy and under-vaccination within communities, as well as identifying the impacts vaccine hesitancy has on immunity levels in populations of different sizes. She also maintains a vaccine-related blog,, to communicate scientific concepts in a publicly accessible way. Learn more.

Matthew Boulton

Matthew Boulton

Professor of Epidemiology, Global Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Matthew Boulton’s research focuses on global public health, infectious disease epidemiology, childhood vaccinations and vaccine-preventable disease, preventive medicine, and the health workforce. Learn more.


Gary FreedGary Freed

Percy and Mary Murphy Professor of Pediatrics, University of Michigan School of Medicine, and Professor of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Gary Freed has more than 25 years of experience in children's health services research. He has been the principal investigator of numerous grants, and of the first pediatric health services research fellowship program funded by the National Institutes of Health. He has published more than 275 peer-reviewed articles on child health policy and health economics, immunizations, physician behavior, and more. Learn more.

Laura PowerLaura Power

Clinical Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health and Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School

Laura Power’s research interests include vaccine-preventable diseases, communicable diseases epidemiology, infection prevention, and public health. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Power practiced at Henry Ford Health System in Michigan as an infectious diseases physician, where she also served as the medical director for Infection Prevention. Learn more.

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