Grady College faculty member appointed to national COVID-19 committee

Glen Nowak, associate dean for research and graduate studies at Grady College, appointed to committee by The National Academies. (Photo: Sarah Freeman)

Grady College faculty member appointed to national COVID-19 committee

June 26, 2024

Glen Nowak, professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been appointed to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee that will review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Research and Communications .

Over the course of this year and the first half of 2025, this ad hoc NASEM committee of experts will be evaluating the systems, methods, processes, and communication efforts of the CDC Immunization Safety Office’s (ISO) regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during the 2020-2023 public health emergency. The CDC used multiple COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring systems during the public health emergency to assess and ensure vaccine safety and foster public confidence in authorized and licensed vaccines. One of the purposes of the review is to provide recommendations for sustaining, maintaining, and strengthening CDC ISO’s current vaccine safety monitoring systems moving forward.

“It is an honor to be invited to be a member of this NASEM review committee,” said Nowak. “As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, vaccines are a major part of preventing and reducing the considerable harm to people and society that new highly infectious viruses can quickly cause. However, we also know achieving high public acceptance and use of new vaccines requires communicating about the safety and effectiveness. I look forward to being involved in this effort to provide recommendations to strengthen vaccine safety communication.” 

Nowak, who also serves as co-director of the Grady College’s Center for Risk & Health Communication, brings much health and vaccine-related communication expertise to the committee. Much of his professional experience and academic research has focused on infectious and vaccine-preventable disease communication. Before rejoining the UGA faculty in January 2013, Nowak worked 14 years at the CDC, including six years as Associate Director of Communication for the National Immunization Program and six years as CDC Director of Media Relations. He has also authored or co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, many of which involve health and vaccine-related communication. He is one of three Grady College faculty members to serve as co-editors of the book “Advancing Crisis Communication Effectiveness: Integrating Public Relations Scholarship with Practice.”

Nowak holds a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, an M.A. degree in journalism and a Ph.D. in mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Author: Shannon Lorusso,

Contact: Glen Nowak,