International Vaccine Access Center Seeks a Student Research Assistant

Posted: August 2, 2022

About IVAC: The mission of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is to accelerate global access to life-saving vaccines through the development and implementation of evidence-based policies. The work of IVAC focuses on disease epidemiology, vaccine economics and supply, monitoring and evaluation of vaccine introduction and Center programs, and advocacy and communications activities to increase the profile of and global action on vaccine-preventable disease.

Job Title: Combating Vaccine Hesitancy: Using Chatbot Technology to Improve Communication Around COVID-19 Vaccination

Position Summary: VIRA, the Vax Chatbot is a collaboration of IVAC and IBM Technology. The chatbot, which works in English and Spanish, answers a variety of questions related to COVID-19 vaccination (ranging from side effects to microchipping) in a private, accessible space. Vira provides users with credible information and nudges them toward vaccination. The chatbot is available on the website and WhatsApp (at +1 410-401-0306) with support and marketing from Meta.   

IVAC is seeking students to support partner engagement and marketing efforts for VIRA. First, they are encouraging the promotion and adoption of VIRA by U.S. health departments in collaboration with NACCHO and other public health networks. VIRA will be launching custom-branded products for health departments in large jurisdictions (e.g., states and major U.S. cities) and the student will support relationship development with such agencies. Some international partners are also launching customized versions of VIRA. The student will be responsible for supporting partner communication, event production (e.g., webinars), creating and maintaining pitch decks, managing marketing materials supplied by our creative agency, SLT, and posting to IVAC’s social media accounts (e.g., Facebook and Twitter). The student will create a MailChimp email campaign template and send periodic email campaigns to stakeholders about VIRA. The student will also develop a monitoring dashboard and use this to compile monthly reports detailing usage and the leading questions users ask in English and Spanish on the website and on WhatsApp. The student may also contribute to related research studies around effective means to market AI chatbots or answer other questions related to the impact of chatbots on communication by agencies with the U.S. public.  

Start to end date: Available immediately through December 31, 2022, or beyond.


  • Current enrollment in Johns Hopkins University and ability to work 10-12 hours per week through May 2023
  • Detail orientation and demonstrated ability to write in a clear and organized fashion with little top editing required (e.g., experience writing and editing for a newspaper or popular blog)
  • Self-motivated and works well in team settings with people from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Ability to create engaging content for the public in highly visual formats (e.g., for newsletters or social media)
  • Preferred: Spanish fluency
  • Preferred: Experience using PowerPoint, Canva, Google Analytics, and MailChimp and managing professional social media accounts (including for a club or organization)

How to apply:

Please send a cover letter, current C.V. or resume, and writing samples, especially samples such as opinion editorials, policy briefs, and newsletters—not a research paper—to Rose Weeks ( IVAC would also love to see examples of your graphic design work, such as infographics or graphics for social media. Please include a link to a professional social media account you manage, if applicable.