Meet The Team
In many ways, DefeatDD is a labor of love. Much like the integrated approach for which we so passionately advocate, we each offer unique contributions and a slice of our time to the larger effort. We’re a team of communicators that span a whole host of PATH projects, but DefeatDD holds a special place in our hearts.
We may tease Eileen for color-coding her emails and calendar appointments, but we can’t really blame her. She is the Communications & Advocacy Director of PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access (CVIA) and DefeatDD’s spirit guide. We’re also fairly confident she was a famous film critic in a former life. This word nerd’s impressive career history in media and communications, along with her rotating office cube exhibit of original magnetic poetry, points to her penchant for puns, punctuation, and parsing. In her spare time, you might catch this Anglophile donning a fascinator and catching up on celebrity gossip or the latest critically-acclaimed fiction read with her book club.
While you wouldn’t want to find yourself between Monica and a shoe sale, she would be your go-to expert for all kinds of fashion advice; a great partner for camping, fishing, or scuba diving; and a font of knowledge about marine biology. If you visit an aquarium or natural history museum with Monica, you’ll be making a day of it, because she’s going to insist on reading every word about every exhibit. We can’t figure out how one person can be so nerdy and yet so cool, but we count on Monica’s savvy and substance when developing our strategies. Like others on the team, she plays a formidable game of Scrabble, plus she just may show up on Wheel of Fortune one day. Perhaps her best talent is working so well with all different kinds of people, although she kind of prefers cats and dogs.
Hope might try to tell you to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” (The Wizard of Oz) because one of her many talents is quoting movie lines—and entire chunks of dialogue. But better to pay no attention if she tries that line, because she’s the “man” behind this website, managing it, as well as the blog, several of our social media channels, plus tons of other work too. Hope joined the team on April Fools’ Day, 2009, hailing from Erie, PA, where one of her claims to fame was winning the Erie Times News Spelling Bee. She thinks the workday starts way too early, that sunshine is suspect, and food is mandatory at Happy Hour. Our only quibble is that with Hope around, we never get a chance to say, "What we've got here is...a failure to communicate." (Cool Hand Luke).
Laura Edison Kallen
Don’t let this fanciful Francophile fool you: Laura is serious about science. Her eagle eye for inaccuracy steers our messages about vaccine data, but it was the poop joke in her thank-you message after her interview that convinced us she passed muster for the DefeatDD team. Her science savvy is matched only by her enthusiasm and energy for raising awareness about diarrheal disease, a trade which we know makes her father, a gastroenterologist, proud. With her scientific precision, passionate advocacy, and lovely singing voice, Laura is our resident Renaissance woman.
Erika is a California native who’s still finding it hard to leave the state after a lifetime of living in the San Francisco Bay Area (it’s hard to get bored with these surroundings!). Since joining PATH in 2012, Erika has a whole new appreciation for toilets, soap, water, and every other amenity that keeps poo from being a public health crisis in the US. Her experience in health communications and nonprofits and a penchant for word games (Scrabble, anyone?) make her a natural at running the Drug Development program’s blog and social media channels. In case you need her, Erika is either at the office, trying to find Scrabble partners, or pondering whether Netflix is the best or worst thing to happen to her (leaning toward best).