Conemaugh Physicians Publish Study in the American Family Physician Journal

July 12, 2017

Dr. Jeanne Spencer

Dr. Trondsen Pawlowski

Stephanie Thomas, PharmD

Physician faculty with Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program have published an article in American Family Physician (AFP), the clinical journal of the American Academy of Family Practitioners.

The article Vaccine Adverse Events: Separating Myth from Reality appears in American Family Physician, Volume 95, Number 12, published June 15, 2017.

“The article looks at the difficulty some parents have with balancing the potential harms and benefits of vaccines,” says Dr. Ruth Trondsen Pawlowski, Assistant Program Director at Conemaugh’s Family Medicine residency program. Dr. Trondsen Pawlowski co-authored the study with Dr. Jeanne Spencer, Program Director, and Stephanie Thomas, PharmD, Associate Director of the Pharmacy Residency program at Conemaugh. “In the article, we encourage family physicians to guide parents to credible resources if they are considering vaccine refusal,” adds Pawlowski, “and to advocate for vaccination to help decrease the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

The article includes statistics on vaccines, and vaccine adverse events including misinformation on certain vaccines. For example one article linked autism to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. “The article linking the MMR vaccine to autism was later retracted for fraud,” says Dr. Spencer. “Many parents don’t realize this article was retracted and are fearful of the vaccine. Family physicians must address these fears and make sure parents have accurate information about vaccines and the potential harm of vaccine refusal.”   

American Family Physician (AFP) is the American Academy of Family Practitioner’s AFP's editorially independent, peer-reviewed and evidence-based clinical journal. Published semimonthly in print and online, AFP has a readership of 180,000 physicians and other healthcare providers.