One Measly Change: An Unorthodox Approach to Addressing Ultra-Orthodox Measles Outbreak

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Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Capstones
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Social and Behavioral Sciences
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Blas, Elisheva

Since October 2018, over 400 individuals in the Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) community in Brooklyn, New York have contracted measles, a disease once eradicated in the United States.This disease, preventable through a two-dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, is one of the most contagious infections and has serious long term health consequences. Both public and private officials—namely, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene(DOHMH) and individuals within the Haredi community—have taken a number of steps to address the measles outbreak, implementing policies to increase vaccination rates. This paper details those interventions and points out how many of such policies do not properly account for the idiosyncrasies of the Haredi community, such as its hierarchical structure and its insularnature. The paper concludes with specific recommendations on how policies could be improved to address the particular biases related to vaccination uptake among Haredim.

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The final capstone research project for the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences is an independent study experience. The paper is expected to: Present a position that is unique, original and directly applies to the student's experience; Use primary sources or apply to a primary organization/agency; Conform to the style and format of excellent academic writing; Analyze empirical research data that is collected by the student or that has already been collected; and Allow the student to demonstrate the competencies gained in the master’s program.
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