Below is an interview with Dr. Teresa “Tracy” Foo, a member of the EMBA for Physicians class of 2019 who transitioned into the role of Vaccines Medical Director at Pfizer Vaccines in 2020.
Please tell us about your role. What are you responsible for? What projects are you working on?
I am a Vaccines Medical Director with Pfizer Vaccines. I am responsible for providing medical and scientific information about Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended and approved vaccines. I have been working to improve vaccine confidence, knowledge about our vaccines, and internal team processes.
What did you do before working at Pfizer? Why did you want to transition into the pharmaceutical industry?
Prior to starting at Pfizer in April 2020, I had been working in public health at the state level in both immunizations and acute disease epidemiology. I was attracted to my current role because it allowed me to focus my efforts on increasing vaccination rates and have a broader impact in my work.
What should physicians know about the COVID vaccine? How can physicians better prepare for conversations about vaccines with patients?
Health care providers need to know that they are often the most trusted source of information about the COVID-19 vaccine for their patients. A strong vaccine recommendation from a health care provider is often the reason a patient gets vaccinated. There are many resources available to health care providers to improve vaccine confidence. One to start with is https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccinate-with-confidence.html
How has the EMBA for Physicians program helped you in your new role?
The EMBA program helped me determine what type of organization I was looking to join and also better assess the organizations (e.g. culture, leadership) I interviewed with. The leadership courses and my development as a leader through the program helped prepare me to take on this new role and join a new team. The program also helped improve my skills in system thinking and analysis, as well as organizational change management.