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About the Immunization (IZ) Gateway Team

Senior Management AIRA’s IZ Gateway Team partners with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Audacious Inquiry, immunization information system (IIS) programs, and others to support immunization awardees with onboarding, connecting, and sharing vaccination information through the IZ Gateway. The team provides capacity-building and technical assistance to strengthen and improve the workforce and electronic infrastructure necessary to help support and improve IZ Gateway interoperability, immunization data quality, and technical capabilities of IIS, and facilitate reporting and sharing of COVID-19 and other vaccine related data.
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Immunization (IZ) Gateway Team

Michelle Hood, Director of the IZ Gateway

Michelle Hood joined AIRA as the Director of the IZ Gateway in October 2020. Michelle began her work with the immunization information system (IIS) community in 2002 when she became the coordinator of the Nebraska State IIS. As coordinator she managed all IIS-related activities, including electronic data exchange. Over the course of 20 years, Michelle managed and coordinated 10 statewide public health data systems, including the IIS, the cancer registry, syndromic surveillance, electronic lab reporting of communicable diseases, vital records, Parkinson’s disease registry, and more. She also served as a past AIRA Board President.


Jenn Combes, Assistant Project Manager

Jenn Combes joined AIRA in January 2021 as an assistant project manager on the IZ Gateway Team. Prior to coming to AIRA, Jenn worked at the Washington State Department of Health for 10 years managing contracts and budget, coordinating meetings, and working in the Washington State Immunization Information System. Her last role was as project manager and coordinator for Washington's Health Promotion System (Child Profile).


Sara Sanford, Senior Project Manager

Sara Sanford joined AIRA as a senior project manager in October 2020 focusing on the IZ Gateway project. Previously, Sara worked for the Public Health Informatics Institute as a project manager and supported immunization information system technical assistance and workforce development projects for over three years. Sara’s background includes basic research in neuroscience and HIV clinical research. She also has experience managing grants and budgets, stakeholder engagement, and change management.


Ciarra Nelson, HL7 Onboarding Specialist (Consultant)

Ciarra Nelson joined AIRA in August 2020 supporting the IZ Gateway Team. Ciarra has worked with immunization information systems (IIS) for two years as an IIS HL7 quality assurance specialist. Ciarra's background is in chemistry and chemical engineering. Before working in public health, her past roles include the Quality Engineer for Siemens Healthineers, the Engineering Lab R&D Technician at Ecolab, and the Medical Quality Technician/R&D Validation Tester at IDEXX Laboratories. 


Deepali Rastogi, HL7 Onboarding Specialist (Consultant)

Deepali Rastogi joined AIRA as a consultant in September 2020 supporting the IZ Gateway Team. Prior to joining AIRA, Deepali worked as a senior software developer for over 14 years for Alabama’s Immunization Information System where she provided programming and analysis support by developing and maintaining the web-based application and HL7 interfaces. Deepali has over 20 years of information technology experience.


Erin O'Shea, Onboarding & Technical Writer (Consultant)

Erin O’Shea joined AIRA in April 2020 on the IZ Gateway Team. She previously worked as a data management epidemiologist with the Tennessee Immunization Program and has expertise in immunization information system onboarding, HL7 message validation, implementation guide development, immunization data surveys and reports, data visualization, outbreak response, and flu vaccine distribution.


Karen Curtis, HL7 Onboarding Specialist (Consultant)

Karen Curtis joined AIRA in October 2020 as a consultant on the IZ Gateway Team. Karen began her work in immunizations in 2017 as the Onboarding Administrator with the Tennessee Immunization Information System at the Tennessee Department of Health.


Rachael Miles, HL7 Onboarding Specialist (Consultant)

Rachael Miles joined AIRA in August 2020 as a consultant on the IZ Gateway Team. Rachael began her work in the immunization information system (IIS) community in 2017 with the Wyoming Immunization Unit. During her time in Wyoming, she was the IIS Support Specialist and IIS Interoperability Specialist. Rachael’s work focused on facilitating onboarding projects that resulted in efficacious connections and the exchange of high-quality immunization data.