#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet John Shen and the Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors

#WeAreEmoryEPI: Meet John Shen and the Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI

Meet John Shen, a second year Global Epidemiology MSPH candidate. This summer, John along with Kiki Francois and Linh Le, 2 graduate students from Emory’s Candler School of Theology, have been working to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the Atlanta community. Read more about John and how these 3 Emory graduate students are using their mobile vaccine clinic to respond to the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable populations.




Left to right: Linh Le (Candler School of Theology), Kiki Francois (Candler School of Theology), John Shen (Rollins School of Public Health)


Tell us about your project.

This summer, Rev. Kiki Francois (Candler), Linh Le (Candler), and I became Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors through Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a national nonprofit organization, and Emory’s Office of Spiritual and Religious Life. Our project aims to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and decrease vaccine hesitancy within vulnerable populations. We collaborated with Emory Healthcare and community partners—Toco Hill Community Alliance (THCA), a food pantry serving over 22,000 households during the height of the pandemic, and Peachtree Baptist Justice Initiative—to provide a mobile vaccine clinic for the community connected with THCA and address specific concerns and obstacles surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.


How did you find your project?

Emory’s Office of Spiritual and Religious Life organized a cohort of Emory students to join IFYC’s nation-wide cohort of Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors, whose collective goal would be to bolster vaccinations in their local communities. Linh Le, our team mobilizer, brought us three together, recruiting Kiki for her experience in community advocacy and organization and me for my experience in public health.


When did you start this project?

We began our work in May, receiving training on communication and advocacy from Interfaith Youth Core. In June, our team connected with Emory Healthcare and the aforementioned community partners and initiated preparations for a mobile vaccine clinic at Toco Hills Community Alliance.


What has the experience been like so far?

I have grown so much from this experience: from learning how to work in a diverse team with strong personalities and varying perspectives, to recognizing the challenges that come with conducting surveys and communicating health information, to sharing the joy of people who finally have the opportunity to get vaccinated. At the same time, this project was a breath of fresh air, a far cry from my usual activities revolving around research and data analysis, and it showed me a different side of public health.


How have you been spending your free time this summer?

When I’m not teleworking for the CDC or Taskforce for Global Health or working on this vaccine project, I enjoy playing beach volleyball on Clairmont Campus through Emory’s summer intramural league.


What are 3 fun facts that you want people to know about you?
  1. According to trusted sources, I can make a mean Japanese cheesecake.
  2. Definitely a water bender since I feel most at home in the water, whether it’s swimming, scuba diving, or dragon boat racing.
  3. I tan very easily, so volleyball this summer has got me looking d a r k.



Thanks for sharing your story with us, John! Tune in every Monday to see who we interview next on #WeAreEmoryEPI


Interested in being featured in our blog? Email confounder [at] emory [dot] edu and express your interest in #WeAreEmoryEPI! We can’t wait to hear from you. 


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