Cambridge, MA, Jan. 27, 2021―Today, the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) announced that Dr. Jewel Mullen will be delivering the opening keynote on health equity and COVID-19 vaccinations on the second day of the Institute’s 37th Annual Issues & Research Conference, which is being held virtually March 23 and 24, 2021.

Dr. Mullen is an internist, epidemiologist, public health physician leader, and the former principal deputy assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While at HHS, she also served as the acting assistant secretary for health and acting director of the National Vaccine Program Office. Currently, she is an associate dean for health equity at the Dell Medical School, as well as an associate professor in the school’s population health and internal medicine departments.

As a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Dr. Mullen will discuss the framework constructed by NASEM to assist policymakers in carrying out an equitable allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine. She will share her perspective on how the distribution is going, including the criteria used to prioritize vaccine recipients and the barriers to equitable distribution. She will also touch upon the role employers and other organizations can play in the distribution of the vaccine, as well as the importance of communication and credibility in dispelling misinformation and confusion surrounding the vaccine.

“We’re excited to have Dr. Mullen kick off the second day of our annual conference,” said John Ruser, WCRI’s president and CEO. “Besides the impact of COVID-19, everyone is talking about the vaccines. Although they have already started giving out the various vaccines to health professionals, first responders, and vulnerable populations, many are wondering when it will be available to the wider public and what impact it will have on return to work. Given her background working on vaccines and public health at the federal and state level, we are all going to learn a lot from Dr. Mullen.”

The WCRI conference is a leading workers’ compensation forum. The two-day program highlights the Institute’s latest research findings while drawing upon the diverse perspectives of highly respected workers’ compensation experts and policymakers from across the country. This year’s virtual conference will be shorter and feature three sessions per day in the afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.

The following are among the topics the conference will address:

  • Economic Impact of COVID-19
  • Highlights from WCRI’s Latest Research on Prescription Drugs
  • Physical Therapy Treatment Patterns and Outcomes
  • State of the States: Selective Findings
  • Future of Work and Worker Safety
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Claims and the Delivery of Medical Care

The conference is free for WCRI members, state legislators, and members of the press, and $175 for non-members. To learn more or to register, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/news/events/37th-annual-wcri-issues-research-conference.

About WCRI

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures. WCRI's diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


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