Brian A. Primack, PhD, MD


General Internal Medicine (His MD is in Family Practice, not Int, Medicine)

Dean, University Honors College

Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Endowed Chair

Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Clinical and Translational Science

Director, Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health

To my Colleagues in the Anti-Over-Vaccination Activist Community:


In the last few days there has been a lot of commentary generated online about a recent publication (from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on the Media, Technology and Health) about the internet and the vaccine controversy. The article is being published in the pro-over-vaccination journal Vaccine. The summary is printed further below.


ORAC (the pseudonym of the infamous David Gorski and his “respectful insolence” website) has already commented favorably on the findings, and he has praised the two co-authors that are employed by the pro-over-vaccination, Kids Plus Pediatrics clinic in Pittsburgh (which, in any fair and open society should be the “kiss of death” for Dr Wolynn).


Recently I have researched a number of published medical journal articles that have tried to “debunk” research done by non-pharmaceutical company-connected scholars, publications from non-co-opted, genuine vaccine scientists and the testimony of parents with vaccine-damaged or vaccine-killed children (who always know more about vaccine science than the pediatricians and clinics that damaged their kids).


I have consistently found that the authors are virtually always either ignorant about vaccine science, which is what they are writing about (most health journalists, for example) and/or they have been co-opted by Big Pharma, the CDC, the WHO, Public Health organizations, the AAP, the AMA, the AAFP, the NIH or other investors in the pharmaceutical industries.


So I researched the eight co-authors of the article and discovered that none of them (except perhaps Dr Wolynn, who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics) can be expected to knows anything about the real science of vaccinology. (And even Dr Wolynn, a “national thought leader on vaccines”, probably only knows what his co-opted med school professors, and his Big Pharma-corrupted AAP, the CDC have allowed him to know and understand.) Dr Wolynn has swallowed the blue pill, just like the vast majority of pediatricians (as well as most of us physicians [and nurses]) whose practices thrive on well-baby check-ups at which office visits vaccines are virtually always injected.


Below the summary of the article below are the vaccine “literacy credentials” of the co-authors (that are not associated with the pediatric clinic in Pittsburgh) who are obvious “vaccine illiterates” that are still somehow allowed to publish articles on an important – oftentimes lethal - aspect of healthcare that they know nothing about.


Should journal articles written by obvious illiterates and pro-industry shills be retracted? Discuss. – GGK




Vaccine, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.03.003


Vaccine21 March 2019


It’s Not All About Autism: The Emerging Landscape of Anti-Vaccination Sentiment on Facebook


Authors: Beth L. Hoffman, BS; Elizabeth M. Felter, PhD; Kar-Hai Chu, PhD; Ariel Shensa, MA; Chad Hermann; Todd Wolynn, MD; Daria Williams; Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD rights and content


Insight on individuals from Facebook profiles posting anti-vaccination content.

Social media facilitates anti-vaccination connections and organization.

Anti-vaccination posts on individual profile pages often skew risk perception.

People and topics cluster in sub-groups—trust, alternatives, safety, and conspiracy.

Anti-vaccination arguments are varied; need for targeted interventions.



Due in part to declining vaccination rates, in 2018 over 20 states reported at least one case of measles, and over 40,000 cases were confirmed in Europe. Anti-vaccine posts on social media may be facilitating anti-vaccination behaviour. This study aimed to systematically characterize (1) individuals known to publicly post anti-vaccination content on Facebook, (2) the information they convey, and (3) the spread of this content.


Our data set consisted of 197 individuals who posted anti-vaccination comments in response to a message promoting vaccination. We systematically analysed publicly-available content using quantitative coding, descriptive analysis, social network analysis, and an in-depth qualitative assessment. The final codebook consisted of 26 codes; Cohen’s ?ranged 0.71–1.0 after double-coding.


The majority (89%) of individuals identified as female. Among 136 individuals who divulged their location, 36 states and 8 other countries were represented. In a 2-mode network of individuals and topics, modularity analysis revealed 4 distinct sub-groups labelled as “trust,” “alternatives,” “safety,” and “conspiracy.” For example, a comment representative of “conspiracy” is that poliovirus does not exist and that pesticides caused clinical symptoms of polio. An example from the “alternatives” sub-group is that eating yogurt cures human papillomavirus. Deeper qualitative analysis of all 197 individuals’ profiles found that these individuals also tended to post material against other health-related practices such as water fluoridation and circumcision.


Social media outlets may facilitate anti-vaccination connections and organization by facilitating the diffusion of centuries old arguments and techniques. Arguments against vaccination are diverse but remain consistent within sub-groups of individuals. It would be valuable for health professionals to leverage social networks to deliver more effective, targeted messages to different constituencies.




Here is David Gorski, he of www.respectfulinsolence infamy, and his praise for pediatrician Todd Wolynn and Chad Hernann’s (both associated with Kids Plus Pediatrics clinic in Pittsburgh) co-authorship of the article above.

Gorski titled his article: Chad Hermann and Todd Wolynn, MD: On the nature of the antivaccine movement and lighting the signal fires of Gondor Orac March 22, 2019 69 Comments

“It’s funny how certain sorts of news about the antivaccine movement seem to come in waves. For instance, just the other day, I wrote about news stories describing how antivaxers use social media to swarm and harass anyone whom they perceive as a threat. That includes doctors, scientists, and, most despicable of all, even mothers grieving over the deaths of their children from vaccine-preventable disease. <<SNIP>>

The rest of “ORAC’s” comments can be found at:



(Note from GGK: The italicized phrases below are mine,)


1, Brian Primack, MD, PhD(His MD is in Family , not Internal Medicine and his PhD is in Clinical and Translational Science),

Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD is Dean of the Honors College, holder of the Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Endowed Chair, and the Director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Primack graduated Yale University magna cum laude in 1991 with degrees in English and Mathematics. After teaching in West Africa for a year, he returned to the U.S. and received his master’s degree from Harvard University, where he focused on adolescent development, psychology, and education. During this time, he also served as Dean of Students at a large summer program for teens. At that program, he also taught courses in cryptography, African art and culture, mathematical art, and comedy writing. He subsequently accepted a full scholarship to Emory Medical School, from which he graduated first in his class in 1999.

After completing his residency training in family medicine and his PhD in multidisciplinary social sciences, Dr. Primack developed a research program centered around the interface of media communications, technology, and health outcomes. Within 15 years, he amassed over 200 scholarly publications that have been cited in international news sources such as the New York Times, National Public Radio, U.S. News and World Report, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Cosmopolitan magazine, and the International Herald Tribune.

He is the recent recipient of multiple awards for research, teaching, and overall achievement, including the highest awards for emerging researchers offered by each of two different international societies: the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He was also recently featured as a mainstage speaker at the annual TEDMED conference in San Francisco.

Now Dr. Primack combines his commitment to education, his passion for academia and research, and his dedication to holistic development of emerging adults as Dean of the University of Pittsburgh Honors College.

Education & Training

PhD (Clinical and Translational Science), University of Pittsburgh

MS (Clinical and Translational Science), University of Pittsburgh

MD (Medicine), Emory University

EdM (Human Development, Psychology, and Education), Harvard University

BA (English and Mathematics), Yale University


Brian A. Primack, PhD, MD


General Internal Medicine (His MD is in Family Practice, not Int, Medicine)

Dean, University Honors College

Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Endowed Chair

Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Clinical and Translational Science

Director, Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health

Email: photo

BA, Yale University, 1991

EdM, Harvard University, 1993

MD, Emory University, 1999 (Family Practice)

MS, University of Pittsburgh, 2008

PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2011



2. Kar-Hai Chu, PhD(His PhD is in Communication and Information Sciences

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics (But he is NOT a physician)

Kar-Hai Chu

Kar-Hai joined MTH as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in 2016. He completed his BS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, MS in Computer Science from Columbia University, and PhD in Communication and Information Sciences from the University of Hawaii. His interdisciplinary training focused on applying technology and social network analysis to different aspects of interactive online education. For the past several years, he has been a Research Scientist at the University of Southern California, studying various public health issues, including tobacco control, community health coalitions, and social media–based health surveillance. Kar-Hai’s current research is focused on innovative methods of using online technologies to support health science.


MS (in progress), Clinical Research—University of Pittsburgh

PhD, Communications and Information Sciences—University of Hawaii

MS, Computer Science—Columbia University

BS, Computer Science—Johns Hopkins University



3. Dr. Elizabeth M. Felter, PhD,(PhD is in behavioral and community health sciences)

Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences


6122 Public Health 
Primary Phone: 412-383-9629
Fax: 412-624-5510


Elizabeth Felter joined the faculty as assistant professor in 2010. She has been a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) since 2001 and leads the department's health communication/health risk communication curriculum. Her teaching portfolio has expanded to include development of infographics, preparation of public service announcements, and use of video for public health communication. Her classes, which include Overview of Health Communications, Risk Communication, Doctoral Seminar in Health Communications, and Worksite Health Promotion, involve interaction with community organizations and agencies throughout the county. Dr. Felter's research and practice-based work is focused mainly in the area of health education/ communications and worksite health promotion. She has worked on a number of research projects, including StairWELL to Better Health and the Garden Market Project at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and assessments of worksite wellness committee function at PPG Industries. She also has provided research support for the Allegheny County Department of Health's Maternal and Child Health Division and health communications support to many local human service organizations. 

Dr. Felter is coauthoring a study guide for the CHES exam, slated for publication in 2018, and her scholarly efforts in health communication have appeared in key papers published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She codirects the department's practicum program, serves as chair of the Professional Preparation and Practice committee for the Pennsylvania branch of Society for Public Health Education, organizes media efforts for the department, is a sought-after advisor, and serves on more than 10 MPH thesis and essay committees per year.

She earned her PhD in behavioral and community health sciences in 2009 at Pitt Public Health. 


2011 | Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) | National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (Inaugural class)
2009 | University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA | Doctor of Public Health
2002 | Certified health Education Specialist (CHES) | National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
2001 | University of Georgia, Athens, GA | Master of Arts (Health Promotion and Behavior)
1997 | The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH | ?/i>




4. Beth Hoffman, BSc,Research Assistant

Beth Hoffman

Beth Hoffman joined MTH in 2014. After graduating from Brown University magna cum laude in 2007 with a BSc in Human Biology, Beth completed her first year of medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania before deciding to switch her career focus to public health and health communication. She is currently a Master of Public Health student in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include the portrayal of health topics in television programs, the influence of media on mental health, and the spread of health information (and misinformation) on social media.


MPH (in progress), Behavioral and Community Health Sciences — University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Preclinical courses for medical degree (ie only completed one year of med school) University of Pennsylvania

BSc, Human Biology, Magna Cum Laude — Brown University


5. Ariel Shensa,BA, (Psychology), MA (Research Methodology)

Statistician and Data Manager

Ariel Shensa

Ariel has been with the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health since 2010. She has a background in Psychology, Quantitative Research Methods, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical and Translational Science. Her current research focuses on social media-derived support, classification of problematic social media use patterns, and developing longitudinal models of social media use and mental health outcomes among young adults.


PhD (in progress), Clinical & Translational Science—University of Pittsburgh

MA, Research Methodology—University of Pittsburgh

BA, Psychology—Chatham University



6. Daria Williams– Student, University of Pittsburgh



7. Chad Hermann,Kids Plus Pediatrics Communications Director and Videographer