Erinn Heffes is the new coordinator for the Shot@Life campaign. Learn more about her in this Q&A.
Prior to working at the United Nations Foundation, I wore many hats at multiple nonprofits. I worked as content editor and campaign coordinator for FinMango, a nonprofit focused on improving financial literacy. I also worked with Village Book Builders in training and policy development, which focused on ending poverty cycles through education. Aside from these amazing experiences, I decided I wanted to dedicate my time to advocacy and global health after I returned to my home country, Jamaica, in 2020. For over two years, I was able to witness stark differences in resources and opportunities during the pandemic between the U.S. and in Jamaica. Despite not having work experience in global health, I became engrossed in the mission to solve health inequalities.
My favorite moment was my first virtual team meeting call. Prior to this moment, my interactions were limited to my interviews, so I had not met everyone on the team. The energy, the love, companionship, and the jokes I encountered during that meeting made me feel like this is where I was meant to be.
I think that the biggest challenge for vaccine advocacy is misinformation. Many of the diseases that Shot@Life works to provide vaccines for are not well-understood on a large global scale. This disconnection, plus the increased availability of media and information, has made it difficult to provide a clear view and understanding of the issue. Verified organizations like Shot@Life are critical since they help share stories and provide accurate information to reach people who feel distant from the topic.
Truly anyone can be an advocate. I think people see advocacy as an intimidating experience, but that is simply not true. Being an advocate can look like being an ally in many of the social issues we see today. Signing a petition, going to a march, or even sharing information online can really help. Advocacy is not only the large actions, but also small actions that anyone can do to make an impact.
Working with people who are just as passionate as me about making change! The work our campaign does is more relevant now than ever. With the rise of COVID-19 and its variants, people are paying attention to this public health issue that was once a distant thought to many. Unfortunately, this attention brings drastic misinformation, but also opens the floor for our campaign to connect with individuals who are seeking to advocate for the cause. I am excited to see not only my team’s passion, but the ability of our advocates to bring about change.
I was a dancer for the past 20 years of my life and am currently working towards getting certified as a Yoga Teacher 🙂 I’m a big fan of finding new ways for people to move their body in comfortable environments.