Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Douglas Roblin

Second Advisor

Richard Rothenberg


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infects the lower respiratory tract in children under the age of two years and is spread through droplet and contact with infected persons. An estimated 200,000 children suffer from complications of RSV annually worldwide. Palivizumab is a monoclonal antibody used to immunize children from RSV and has been on the market since 1988. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its policy for recommendation of RSV in premature infants. The objective of this capstone is to propose an evaluation framework with an example of how it could have been applied to assess the impact of the AAP policy change on RSV vaccination use and RSV outcomes among premature infants.

The proposed evaluation framework would be a unique link between birth certificate records and surveys of parents/guardians of 32 week gestation premature infants or less in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The birth certificate data would identify “at risk” infants and would allow for selection of a sample of parents/guardians, both pre-policy change (August 1, 2013 to July 30, 2014) and post-policy change (August 1, 2014 to July 30, 2015). The primary endpoints would be: initiation and completion of the RSV vaccine series and RSV infection rates. Moderating variables would be obtained from birth certificate data (e.g. mother’s education and race) and survey data (e.g. attitudes toward vaccine acceptance).

The evaluation framework proposed in this Capstone can be used in future analyses of RSV vaccination policy changes. It can also be generalized to other geographic areas in the US and used for routine surveillance of RSV vaccination use and RSV outcomes.