Vaccine Hesitancy Webinar Asks What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Address Concerns for Specific Populations.

Vaccine Hesitancy Webinar Asks What it is, Why it Matters, and How to Address Concerns for Specific Populations.

To view the webinar for Session 1, click here

To view the webinar for Session 2, click here

Recent polls show 30-49% of all Americans say they do not intend to accept the COVID-19 vaccine.  While 33% of White respondents to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll said they would either probably not or definitely not take the vaccine, the rates were higher for Hispanics (37%) and Blacks (49%).   

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 70-85% of all Americans must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.  So why are so many people hesitant to accept the vaccine? 

A recent two-part webinar focused on what vaccine hesitatncy is and why it matters and discussed the concerns and fears of specific populations. The discussion was moderated by Eileen Fry Bowers, PhD, JD, APRN, FAAN, Associate Professor at the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, Associate Provost for Research Administration, and Chair of the USD Institutional Review Board.  The panel consisted of current Hahn School of Nursing students and alumni; Pedro Colio, DNP '18, FNP-C, ENP-C, CCRN, APRN, PhD(c); Dorothy Forde, PhD '18, RNC-NIC, CNS; Catherine Ferris, PhD '17, RN, PHN; and Olivia Ball, BSN, PMH, RN-BC, DNP(c).



Eileen Fry Bowers, PhD, JD, APRN, FAAN

As Vice Chair for the American Academy of Nursing's Expert Panel on Child, Adolescent, and Family, Dr. Fry-Bowers contributed to the Academy's policy statement, Immunization is Key to Eliminating Vaccine-Preventable Disease, and to the Academy's comments in response to the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus request for information regarding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Fry-Bowers received her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Loma Linda University School of Nursing; her master’s degree from the University of Rochester School of Nursing; and her Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from Whittier Law School, where she was awarded the Dean’s Citation Award for service to the law school community and the public. She received her PhD from UCLA School of Nursing, with an emphasis in health services, where she was awarded a Chancellor’s Fellowship and named a University of California Regents Scholar. Her dissertation research focused on the association of maternal health literacy with structures, processes and outcomes of care in pediatric populations. She also completed a federally funded post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA in the care of vulnerable populations with a focus on child health policy.

Dr. Fry-Bowers has extensive clinical experience spanning multiple healthcare settings, including acute care facilities, specialty and community-based clinics, and military institutions. Dr. Fry-Bowers is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNP), a licensed attorney, and served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She is active regionally and nationally in nursing and health policy organizations and is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). She has been a Faculty Policy Fellow for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and served on the AACN Health Policy Advisory Council. She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board and Co-Editor of Health Policy for the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and serves on the Editorial Board for the journal, Policy, Politics and Nursing Practice. She has also served on the Research Committee for the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP).

Dr. Fry-Bowers teaches health policy and research courses in the MSN and PhD programs. She was also recently named Associate Provost for Research Administration at the University of San Diego and is the administrator for the university’s Institutional Review Board.


Dr. Pedro Colio earned his MSN from USD SON in 2015 as a Primary Care FNP and his Doctor of Nursing Practice from USD SON in 2018.  His capstone, “Rapid Assessment of Adults with Traumatic Brain Injuries” looked at improving adult traumatic brain injury neuroimaging guidelines among advanced practice providers in a rural emergency department.

Dr. Colio is a clinical associate professor at USD SON and is currently working toward his PhD as an ARCS Scholar.  His current research is geared towards identifying the incidence and prevalence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in patients who live in the Imperial Valley, one of the most underserved communities in California. 

Dr. Colio also works as a nurse practitioner in the Imperial Valley specializing in cardiology and emergency medicine.



PANELIST Dorothy Forde, PhD, RNC-NIC, CNS.

Dr. Forde graduated from the USD SON in 2018.  Her doctoral dissertation focused on the effects of kangaroo mother care on energy conservation, growth, and maturation of premature infants. 

Dr. Forde earned her BSN and MSN at Loma Linda University where she also worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse for more than 10 years. She also worked in NICU clinical education and served as a U.S. Consulate Nurse in the Congo.  In 2010, she went to Palestine as part of a joint project to upgrade hospitals’ standards there. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and is a past president of the STT-Gamma Alpha chapter.

Currently, Dr. Forde is an Associate Professor in Maternal-Child Nursing and Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.

PANELIST Catherine Ferris, PhD, RN, PHN

Dr. Ferris earned her PhD from USD SON in 2017.  She is a nurse scientist whose doctoral dissertation centered on vaccine hesitancy.  Her research focus is on social ecological factors influencing parental barriers to childhood immunizations. 

Dr. Ferris earned her BSN and public health nurse certificate from the University of Minnesota; her MSN from Loyola University New Orleans, and her PhD from USD SON as a Jonas Research Scholar. She is a plank owner for the Navy’s first and second Pediatric Intensive Care Units, and her Navy and civilian nursing careers have been devoted to the care of children and advocating for child immunization policies to help reduce inequities among diverse groups and vulnerable populations.


Ms. Ball will complete her final semester in the DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program in May.  She recently presented her DNP project, “Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy with Motivational Interviewing,” to the California Association of Nurse Practitioners (CANP).  In 2019, Ms. Ball was among a group of students from USD invited to Washington, D.C. by the American Nurses Association (ANA) for its annual conference, where the students’ proposal on the ANA’s vaccination policy stance was accepted.

As a nurse, Ms. Ball has specialized in psychiatric mental health, working in a variety of areas including acute and outpatient settings with children and adolescents, eating disorders, adults with severe mental illness, and geriatric adults. Her interest in psychiatric mental health focuses on removing the stigma associated with receiving care for mental health issues and increasing access to mental health care for underserved populations.


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