Matthew Budi ’15 wants people to know the truth about vaccines, and he is conducting his senior thesis project through the Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to educate Indianapolis residents and contribute to research on vaccination.

Budi, a sixth-year Pharmacy student in the Butler Honors program, released an informational video and an accompanying survey on vaccines last weekend to begin collecting data on vaccination trends in the greater Indianapolis area. The survey will remain live through January 15, and any adult living within 50 miles of Indianapolis is eligible to take the survey.

Budi said he believes it is imperative that people understand and acknowledge the importance of vaccines to health. Whether dissuaded by common myths about vaccinations or the fear of being poked in the arm with a needle, he encourages all to partake in his study to learn the facts about vaccination.

“Forget Ebola for a second—that’s only a few cases in the country,” Budi said. “These diseases have hundreds to thousands of people who get it every year just because they don’t want to receive a vaccine. It’s so much worse than Ebola because it’s something we can easily fix.”

The YouTube video, featuring Budi in a white lab coat, provides participants with an introduction to vaccination before taking the survey. The vaccines included in the survey are flu, shingles, and pneumonia, as well as tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, and a measles, mumps, and rubella.

“I picked these vaccines in particular because they have a high health burden,” Budi said. “They cost the health care system money on an annual basis, and since they are preventable diseases through vaccination, we can do a lot to improve public health just through education.”

Chad Knoderer, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Director for Clinical and Health Outcomes Research, assisted Budi to fine-tune his survey. He said the survey Budi created is especially tough to conceptualize because it tests for trends in general while creating an educational tool that fits seamlessly into the survey.

Budi will analyze survey data in January when the study closes to prepare a presentation for the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference in April. All senior Pharmacy students must present a project at the conference, and Budi will present alone as a requirement of completing the Honors program.

Knoderer said he has high hopes for the study results and its impact on education and relationships with pharmacists in the greater Indianapolis community.

“It’s significant from a public health perspective—immunization and vaccination is an important topic for promoting health in terms of the individual and also the community,” he said. “This project gets at that. It gets at how a pharmacist can participate in the care of patients.”

Budi said he has several goals in this study: to educate; to earn recognition for the Butler Pharmacy program; and to give the study utility so other people can use it as a model.

“Pharmacists are very accessible,” Budi said. “We [Butler University] are the only Pharmacy school close to downtown Indianapolis, so I figured, let’s test what people think of vaccines here in our city. Not only that, but I’ve always loved education—teaching people and imparting knowledge.”