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Post Author
By: Jess Pavel

Meet Our Staff: Jess Pavel

May 30, 2023
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What is one fun or surprising fact about you?

I really love birds. I was recently in Iceland and saw several really neat species. My current favorite is the Cerulean Warbler, they’re small songbirds that migrate wildly long distances every year and are extremely precise in their nest-building. But, they’re also a really vulnerable species and the populations are declining from habitat loss. If you’re looking for a good book, I recommend A Wing and A Prayer.

Why did you decide to work for United To Beat Malaria?

I decided to work for United to Beat Malaria because I am really passionate about working in the nexus of climate change and global health, and malaria is a highly climate-sensitive disease. Climate change not only affects the malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but it can also put already vulnerable individuals at extreme risk of displacement and food scarcity from severe natural disasters.

What is one of your top bucket-list goals?

Top of the bucket-list right now is trekking through Chilean Patagonia where you can see some of the best sites, from lush valleys to glacier views to incredible panoramic outlooks that are some of the most magical places in Patagonia. The goal is a five-day trek – if you see me in the office with hiking boots and a backpack you know this trip might just be happening!

What advice would you give to someone trying to break into the global health industry and your position specifically?

My role as Director of Advocacy is to work primarily with congress and the Administration to advance our bilateral and multilateral programs pertaining to malaria interventions. For those interested in a direct advocacy role, starting your career on Capitol Hill is certainly beneficial.

What are you most excited about right now?

Right now I am most excited about the R21 vaccine, a modified form of RTS,S. R21 is a 3-dose vaccine designed to be produced at a low cost so it can be made widely available. Results from the Phase2b trial were published earlier in 2021 and found in 450 children aged 5-17 months, R21 was up to 77 percent effective at preventing malaria over the course of one year. Phase 3 trials will include 4,800 children in Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Tanzania, testing the vaccine in areas with different patterns of malaria seasonality and transmission. There is no silver bullet for malaria elimination, but every additional tool we develop gives us a broader suite of options to protect the most vulnerable.

I’m United to Beat Malaria because…

No child should ever die from a mosquito bite. Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease – we have the tools, the knowledge, the local and international support for elimination, but we need to not be complacent in our advocacy.

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