Dr. Saad B. Omer is an Assistant Professor of Global Health, Epidemiology, & Pediatrics at Emory University, Schools of Public Health and Medicine. He received his medical degree from the Aga Khan University in Pakistan (Class of 1998) and his PhD from Johns Hopkins and has worked on studies in the United States, Guatemala, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda and South Africa. Dr. Omer’s research portfolio includes clinical trials to estimate efficacy and/or immunogenicity of influenza, polio, measles and pneumococcal vaccines; studies on the impact of spatial clustering of vaccine refusers; and clinical trials to evaluate drug regimens to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa. He has conducted several studies to evaluate the roles of schools, parents, health care providers, and state-level legislation in relation to immunization coverage and disease incidence. Dr. Omer has published widely in peer reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, the Lancet, British Medical Journal, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, and American Journal of Epidemiology.
Pregnant women, fetuses, and young infants are high risk groups for morbidity and mortality after influenza infection. Dr. Omer was first to document the effect of influenza immunization in pregnancy in preventing pre-term and small for gestational age births. He was one of the investigators who, for the first time, demonstrated that vaccinating pregnant women against influenza protects their infants against this disease. These findings formed the evidence base for national recommendations in multiple countries and for the WHO’s recent recommendation for global introduction of influenza vaccination –particularly among pregnant women. Dr. Omer was first to demonstrate that spatial clustering of vaccine refusers is associated with outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. This work and other related studies influenced laws and policies in multiple states in the United States.
In 2009, Dr Omer was awarded the Maurice Hilleman award in vaccinology by the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases on his work on impact of maternal influenza immunization on respiratory illness in infants younger than 6 months – for whom there is no vaccine.
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