PROF HEIDI LARSON

Professor, Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Heidi J. Larson, PhD, is an anthropologist  and Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where she is a Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science. She is also the Director of European Initiatives and Clinical Associate Professor, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington. Professor Larson previously headed Global Immunization Communication at UNICEF and chaired the GAVI Advocacy Task Force.

Dr. Larson’s research focuses on the analysis of social and political factors that can affect uptake of health interventions and influence policies. Her particular interest is on risk and rumour management in health programmes, particularly around vaccines and immunization.  She served on the FDA Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Emergency Communication Expert Working Group, and is Principle Investigator of the EU-funded (EBODAC) project on the deployment, acceptance and compliance of an Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone.

The Vaccine Confidence Project (www.vaccineconfidence.org) has developed multiple metrics to measure population confidence in vaccines, from a survey-based Vaccine Confidence Index to temporal analysis of media and social media, and qualitative research to understand the drivers of vaccine reluctance and refusal. The research also includes tracking the ecology of rumours and transnational influences on public trust in vaccines.  The Vaccine Confidence Project has been named a WHO Centre of Excellence on addressing Vaccine Hesitancy.