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Q&A with Shot@Life Champion Priya Desai

Two Shot@Life Champions, Jill Ariagno and Priya Desai, interview each other following the 2016 Champion Summit about their experience and hope for the future of global childhood immunizations. 

Jill:  What did you learn at the Summit this year?

Priya:  The summit was incredible this year. I think Shot@Life started the year on great footing because of the momentum from the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the summit did a fantastic job in sustaining that excitement. The data was fresh, insightful, and illustrative of the need and value of vaccinations. I feel like the summit gave me a better conceptual and functional understanding of the mechanisms that make Shot@Life and their partners successful in achieving global health victories. We tend to live in a data driven world and to be able to connect those stories, numbers, and images in a way that evokes a powerful and actionable response is a valuable skill that I gained from being the summit. I feel better equipped to handle media, fundraising, and legislative relations than I have in the past. I feel more confident in navigating the intersections in which Shot@Life interacts with different stakeholders, beneficiaries, donors, partners, and levels of government. I feel confident in replicating the ideas and suggestions from my fellow champions to be a better advocate in my community. The summit, I think, did a good job in training us to make these global health conversations about basic life-saving vaccines translatable to our local communities.

Priya-Jill mtg on Hill Day 2016

Shot@Life Champions meet with Michael Brooks (center), Legislative Assistant for Kevin Yoder (R-KS) during the 2016 Champion Summit.

Jill:  What was the most surprising thing to you?

Priya:  I always knew when I did things for Shot@Life we were having an impact, but I never thought Shot@Life would reach 30 million kids across the globe. That five years in review knocked me off my feet. It was very reaffirming to hear what has been achieved in just 5 years time. It made me excited to think of what we could achieve in ten years time. Another thing that surprised me was being able to do legislative visits with other states. I found that to be most fun and enlightening to see how other states react to the same ask. I was also surprised and excited to see that someone brought their child to train to be a champion. How exciting to be an advocate to help other children reach their childhood milestones. I loved it. Lastly, I know that my group was going to do well during our visits on the hill, but once we got into meetings, it was exciting to see us function like a well oiled machine. We were confident, we knew the material, and it came off well! I almost wish we recorded it.

Jill:  What were your biggest takeaways?

Priya:  I think it is crucial to create sustainable chatter with our local communities, members of congress, and with one another. That is what keeps the momentum going. I have a firmer understanding of the legislative process and the trends in global health that will continue to make Shot@Life successful. I feel adequately equipped with recent data and powerful narratives to effectively educate my local community both through short-term and long-term engagement.

Read Jill’s responses to these questions.


Jill Ariagno