Many partners are helping the Collaboration make progress toward meeting the objectives in the 2015-2020 NH Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.  An objective of the Plan is to increase the number of NH youth who receive the complete series of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The vaccine protects against the HPV types that cause most cervical cancers and cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, and oropharynx. 

The first dose of HPV vaccine is given at the same time as the meningococcal vaccine.  An office query can identify patients who receive a meningococcal vaccine and not the first HPV vaccine. This is referred to as a missed opportunity to vaccinate against HPV. It demonstrates how HPV vaccine is perceived differently by parents, clinicians and patients. To increase HPV vaccination rates, two HPV projects were funded in May 2015. 

The first project was led by the Southern NH Area Health Education Center (SNHAHEC) and included a medical staff education session taught by Dr. Bobby Kelly. Kelly is in the Dartmouth Family Medicine/Leadership Preventive Medicine Residency at Concord Hospital Family Health Center. Using the CDC messaging, You Are the Key to Cancer Prevention, the training helped participants:

  • Understand the importance of HPV vaccination and the rationale for vaccinating at ages 11 or 12
  • Recognize indications for HPV vaccine for boys and girls
  • Deliver compelling information to parents
  • Find resources relevant to current immunization practices

SNHAHEC was recently awarded funds from the National AHEC organization to provide more trainings in 2016.

The second project was led by Dr. Ardis Olson and Deborah Johnson with the Dartmouth CO-OP Primary Care Research Network, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine. 

This project assessed HPV vaccination barriers in healthcare settings.  An environmental scan was completed and discovered many initiatives were underway. Interviews were conducted with six practices that have implemented office systems to determine their HPV vaccination processes. Three broad areas emerged for opportunities to intervene, office procedures, parent and patient information, and community engagement. Highlights of the recommendations included:

  • Recruiting more practices to participate in the National Immunization Project
  • Developing clear office procedures for the three shot series
  • Using CDC messaging
  • Identifying missed opportunities
  • Using social media, text reminders, and focus on cancer prevention as the key message

Partners that worked on these two projects included SNHAHEC and the Dartmouth CO-OP Primary Care Research Network, led by Dr. Ardis Olson and Deborah Johnson.  SNHAHEC is currently offering additional educational opportunities, fact sheets and resources at http://www.snhahec.org/conferences.cfm.