NJCU to Host COVID Vaccine Q&A Town Hall with Local Experts on May 6

May 3, 2021
Which vaccine should I choose? Global Covid-19 Vaccine concept. - stock photo GettyImages-1295932639

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) will host a special COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall, focusing on questions and answers from a panel of local experts on Thursday, May 6 from 2-3 p.m. The virtual event will be held via Zoom webinar.

A panel of experts will answer questions and help the NJCU community better understand the COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccination efforts that, to date, have already resulted in more than 245 million doses administered nationally and over 104 million Americans fully vaccinated.

Please use the survey link to submit your questions to the panelists in advance.



Expert Panelists

Dr. Parisa Assassi, Assistant Professor/Health and Physical Education
Queensborough Community College (CUNY)/Former Faculty Member at NJCU
Expertise: Epidemiology

Dr. Meriem Bendaoud, Assistant Professor/Biology
New Jersey City University
Expertise: Microbiology

Dr. Gloria Boseman, Professor/Nursing
New Jersey City University
Expertise: Nursing/Public Health

Dr. Anthony Esposito, Assistant Professor/Biology
New Jersey City University
Expertise: Molecular Virology

Stacey L. Flanagan, Director, Department of Health & Human Services
City of Jersey City/Adjunct Faculty Member at NJCU
Expertise: Health Science/COVID Response and Contact Tracing

Dr. John Grew, Professor/Biology
New Jersey City University
Expertise: Biological Sciences, Immunology and Cell Biology

Dr. Sanjay Koul, Assistant Professor
Queensborough Community College (CUNY)/Former Adjunct Faculty Member at NJCU
Expertise: Biotechnology and Vaccine Manufacturing

Dr. Scott Mittman, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
New Jersey City University
Expertise: Clinical Microbiology

Event Moderator
Luie Perez, 2021 Graduating Senior
New Jersey City University
Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education

Panelist Bios

Dr. Parisa Assassi
Dr. Assassi is a trained epidemiologist. She holds a doctoral degree in Public Health with a focus on Epidemiology and Global Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She has also earned a MPH in Disease Control, and a M.S. in Public Health Nutrition. She is currently a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the Department of Health and Physical Education and Co-Director for the Public Health Program at Queensborough Community College (CUNY). Before she moved to the United States, she was a Senior Public Health Officer and Research Director for the Health Ministry in Iran, where she implemented several public and community health programs and campaigns to eradicate polio.

Dr. Meriem Bendaoud
Dr. Bendaoud is a faculty member in the Biology Department at NJCU and has been teaching Microbiology for more than 10 years. She received her Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences with a focus on Oral Microbiology at the Rutgers Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Newark. Dr. Bendaoud also holds a professional degree in Dentistry from the University of Dentistry in Algiers, Algeria. She has an active research program at NJCU, involving undergraduate students in the study of bacterial biofilms and the development of novel antimicrobial compounds and biofilm-specific pharmacologic strategies.

Dr. Gloria Boseman
Dr. Gloria Boseman has been a faculty member at NJCU for more than 35 years. Dr. Boseman holds a BSN from Howard University in Washington, D.C., a M.S. from the University of Maryland (Baltimore), and a Ph.D. in Nursing Research from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She continues her research, practice, and consultancy with a focus on population health. Dr. Boseman is experienced in delivering care to the underserved and underrepresented urban communities. As a component of that mission and advocacy, she has been recognized by local and national organizations for her efforts to empower and serve the residents of these marginalized communities.

Dr. Anthony Esposito
Dr. Anthony Esposito holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences from Rutgers the State University of New Jersey—studying yeast genetics and stress response pathways—and a B.S. in Biology from CUNY College of Staten Island. His postdoctoral studies at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai were on the molecular mechanisms of HIV replication and development of screening assays to identify new drugs and genetic targets against HIV.

Stacey L. Flanagan
Director Flanagan has been leading Jersey City’s Department of Health and Human Services for nearly eight years, providing direction and increasing platforms for partnership and community education. Flanagan has also been an adjunct faculty member at NJCU for nearly five years in Health Science. She leads JC’s COVID Response from contact tracing, education, PPE distribution, testing, and vaccines. She holds a M.S. in Nonprofit Management from The New School, and a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University.

Dr. John Grew
Dr. John Grew, Professor of Biology, joined the NJCU faculty in 1995. He earned a M.S. in the Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts­–Lowell and a Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences from New York University. Dr. Grew teaches Immunology, Cell Biology, and other basic medical science courses and performed research in hematology, cancer immunology, and implant biology. He contributes to numerous student success initiatives, including an undergraduate research internship program, and he mentors tenure-track faculty and academic professionals on various aspects of academic life.

Dr. Sanjay Koul
An Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Queensborough, Dr. Koul earned his Ph.D. in Biotechnology. He has extensive postdoctoral research experience at Columbia University in the field of cancer molecular biology. Earlier, Dr. Koul had worked as a research officer in the Pasteur Institute of India (PII) involved in manufacturing vaccines, including rabies and DPT vaccine. At PII, as the Quality-Control-In-Charge, Dr. Koul worked very closely with regulatory authorities and focused closely on the consistently and continuously batch production of vaccines.

Dr. Scott Mittman
Dr. Mittman has been an Associate Dean of Science and faculty member at NJCU for nearly four years. He earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Microbiology and a M.S. focused on Pollution Microbiology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. A postdoctoral research position in clinical microbiology at Columbia University led to a subsequent dual appointment at New York Presbyterian Hospital as a Microbiology Subject Matter Expert and a Research Scientist for the Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Mittman’s research efforts focused on molecular pathogen identifications, antibiotic resistance surveillance studies, and rapid automated microbial testing and associated patient outcomes.

Event Moderator Bio

Luie Perez
Luie Perez is a 2021 NJCU Lavender graduate with a Bachelor’s in Public Health Education and has recently passed the Certified Health Education Specialist exam. Over the past year, they have served as the Treasurer for the Health Science Student Organization and have moderated several panels including the Health Education Career panel in November, a Decolonizing health event in May, and an earlier COVID Town Hall in December 2020. Perez has done thesis work on the social factors that affect LGBTQIA+ youth and has been interning as a Youth Mental Health First-Aider. In the coming years, they hope to enter a doctoral program in Health Policy with a focus on LGBTQIA+ issues.


Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301