Nursing’s Irena Kenneley to talk about vaccinations at final Public Affairs Discussion Group

Irena Kenneley CWRU headshot
Irena Kenneley

Irena Kenneley, an associate professor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, will lead the next Public Affairs Discussion Group on Friday, April 24, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Kelvin Smith Library’s Dampeer Room. The topic of Kenneley’s discussion will be “Avoiding Vaccinations: Reason and Consequences.”

Adults avoiding flu vaccines is an old story. But, increasingly, adults are preventing their children from being immunized for other diseases, such as measles and whooping cough. Measles was declared “eliminated” in the United States in 2000. But in 2014 there were over 600 cases. Those were largely related to unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio and travelers from the Philippines. But there have also been occasional outbreaks related to other unvaccinated groups. This year, about 140 people were infected in an outbreak related to visits to Disneyland in California. The California Department of Public Health reported on April 17 that the outbreak is over, but noted the risk of further outbreaks when high numbers of unvaccinated foreign tourists mix with a California population that also has significant gaps in vaccination rates.

At this week’s discussion, Kenneley will report on her own research about why adults avoid the flu vaccine and on the broader issue of objections to vaccinations for children.

This will be the last Public Affairs discussion Group of the spring semester. The group will resume on the first Friday of the 2015 fall semester.

Since 1989, faculty, emeriti, students and staff have gathered on Fridays for a brown-bag lunch and to discuss topics in public affairs.

For updates and more information about the Friday lunch schedule, visit