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Regional Coordinator Information

Georgia Hoaglund
Western Colorado AHEC
Mary Helgeson
Eastern Montana AHEC
North Dakota
South Dakota
Sandy Viau-Williams
Yankton Rural AHEC
(605) 655-1400
Mindy Bateman
Crossroads Utah AHEC
(801) 957-6291
Sandy Viau-Williams
Yankton Rural AHEC
(605) 655-1400

Success Stories

Partnership leads to additional speaking, press for HPV

Involved in the NAO HPV Project since Year 1, the Yankton Rural AHEC in South Dakota has forged a successful partnership with Dr. Mary Milroy. The retired breast surgeon has served as a speaker for numerous “You are the Key” presentations throughout the Midwest.

When Dr. Milroy was approached to give a presentation at the Women’s Health Forum in Yankton, she reached out to the AHEC for assistance. It proved to be a unique speaking experience as the forum was open to health professionals and medical office staff as well as parents and the general public.

“Dr. Milroy had no problem adapting the ‘You Are the Key’ presentation to fit both of these audiences,” said Corryn Celmer, the lead on the HPV project in South Dakota.

Not only was the presentation well received by the audience, the local newspaper The Yankton Press and Dakotan wrote a front-page article, providing additional educational exposure. According to the news reporter, Milroy was able to characterize the virus as being “similar to an M&M candy in structure – a nucleic acid center with a protein coat” which was helpful for the lay people in the audience to understand.

The partnership between Yankton Rural AHEC and Dr. Milroy has proven to be successful as collaboration and interest in HPV education and awareness for the vaccine continues to grow.

Success Stories

Back-to- school perfect time for rural HPV workshops in Utah

Crossroad AHEC in Utah recently teamed up with four partners to provide HPV vaccination summer workshop series in five rural locations. The training targeted clinicians, community health centers and local health departments in rural areas just in time for a busy period where students are receiving their back-to- school vaccinations, said Mindy Bateman, AHEC director and project lead for the NAO HPV Project in Utah.

The summer workshop series provided trainings in Price, Blanding, Vernal, Ephraim and Richfield with the agenda including an introduction to HPV vaccination; Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition; group discussion; quality improvement tools and best practices; as well as a viewing of “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic” documentary.

The Utah Department of Health provided current HPV vaccination rates from the immunization information system to share with clinics in attendance.

“It gave them an idea of where they were and how to use USIIS as a tool to increase rates,” Bateman said.

The partners - American Cancer Society; Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition; Utah Department of Health, Immunization Program; and Utah Department of Health, Utah Cancer Action Network - worked together to provide the half-day training in each location.

“I think the fact that we all came together for a unified message was very impactful,” Bateman said.

Yankton Rural AHEC lands exemplary speakers for HPV conferences in Wyoming

The Immunization Unit of the Wyoming Department of Health reached out to the Yankton Rural AHEC in South Dakota for assistance in securing a personable and motivational HPV speaker and they were able to deliver! Yankton Rural AHEC oversees HPV Project programming in Wyoming and said maintaining communication with professional organizations and past partners has increased awareness and opportunities for HPV education in their adjoining state.

Personable and motivational can describe Dr. Mary Milroy’s “You are the Key” presentation at the third annual Wyoming Immunization Conference in Casper, Wyo. More than 70 people attended her breakout session.

Dr. Milroy was able to relay the personal example of her cousin who experienced a normal pap test but then less than a year later was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cervical cancer. She died six months after her diagnosis.

“This personal story showed attendees that HPV does happen to the ones we love and posed the question, ‘If this can happen to the ones we love, why are we, as clinicians and providers, not recommending the HPV vaccine as strongly as we possibly can?’” said Corryn Celmer, Program Manager at Yankton Rural AHEC.

The Yankton Rural AHEC’s connections also helped them land a CDC speaker for the Wyoming Medical Society conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Dr. Andrew Kroger, a medical officer and part of the education team in the Immunization Services Division at the CDC, gave a presentation about the importance of HPV vaccination and provided updates on other adolescent immunizations. More than 45 professionals attended his session.

Pleased with their work, event organizers for both conferences have requested Yankton Rural AHEC stay in contact regarding future HPV educational opportunities.

For more information about the HPV project in Wyoming, contact Corryn Celmer at ccelmer@ntc.nationalahec.org.

Corryn Celmer, program manager at Yankton Rural AHEC in South Dakota, was instrumental in securing Dr. Andrew Kroger as a speaker at the Wyoming Medical Society meeting in Jackson Hole. A medical officer and part of the education team in the Immunization Services Division at the CDC, Kroger gave a presentation about the importance of HPV vaccination and provided updates on other adolescent immunizations.

Nursing faculty and students focus of HPV trainings in Utah

HPV immunization rates in Utah are considerably lower than other states, currently the second lowest in the nation. With provider recommendation as one of the top reasons patients don’t receive the vaccine, Crossroads AHEC has been working with several partners to change provider support of the vaccination. As part of this effort, CRAHEC has been working with health professions training programs to ensure soon-to-be professionals will be ready to support the initiative as they enter practice.

To accomplish this, Crossroads AHEC partnered with the University Of Utah School Of Nursing in Salt Lake City to create an event for third-semester students and faculty. A brown bag luncheon was created utilizing the CDC’s “You Are the Key to HPV Cancer Prevention” presentation with the information given by topic expert Dr. Deanna Kepka, PhD, MPH. A total of 35 attendees attended the session and participated in a question and answer session with the topic expert after the presentation.

Utah has many of the same HPV immunization issues experienced nationally that must be addressed appropriately. Through this live training, Dr. Kepka focused on Utah’s low HPV immunization rates in boys and girls aged 13-15. The participants were knowledgeable about the subject and utilized the time well to ask questions, and prepare themselves to answer parental questions and concerns. Some students were able to share current experiences regarding HPV recommendations during their clinical settings. Overall, the students and faculty learned how the HPV vaccine can help prevent cancer. They also had very positive comments about the presentation and came away prepared to increase the HPV vaccination rates in Utah.

For more information on this event or the NAO HPV Immunization Project, please contact: Mindy Bateman, Director, Crossroads AHEC, Utah at Mindy.Bateman@slcc.edu" or Regional Coordinator, Corryn Celmer at ccelmer@ntc.nationalahec.org .

Statewide contacts/partnerships benefitting providers and students

Collaboration is a vital part of any project, but is especially important in a national scale project where dissemination of materials is key. The Western Colorado AHEC (WCAHEC) has partnered with over 10 county departments of health and health professions schools across the state to educate all types of healthcare providers (current and future) on the importance of the HPV vaccine. Through this collaboration, the Western Colorado AHEC has increased the number of partners and members on their HPV email list, and regularly sends out information to more than 10,000 people!

These partnerships have created opportunities for various provider/professional organizations to host HPV discussions via lunch and learns, conference sessions, and staff meetings. Recently, a medical student from the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine-Anshutz Medical Campus who was completing his rural medical rotation spoke to Montrose Hospital staff about the HPV Vaccine, its safety, efficacy, and importance as a regularly distributed vaccine. He presented to a large group consisting of primarily doctors and other healthcare professionals. This student thoroughly enjoyed presenting to Montrose Hospital as part of his rural medical rotation and found that the doctors and other healthcare professionals greatly accepted this information!

Because of this student’s involvement with the HPV project and WCAHEC’s partnership with placement of medical students into rural settings, another medical student has the opportunity to present the “You are the Key to HPV Cancer Prevention” presentation to Montrose County Health and Human Services staff. The Montrose HHS director became aware of this presentation and opportunity to provide her staff with this important education through WCAHEC staff and a previous working relationship with WCAHEC. Her staff has a wide geographic range with which they service and they have the potential to reach a large number of patients with this important education. Many other counties and schools are looking forward to receiving this education in partnership with the WCAHEC in the near future.

For more information, please contact Georgia Stewart of the Western Colorado AHEC at gstewart@wcahec.org or Regional Coordinator Corryn Celmer at ccelmer@ntc.nationalahec.org

HPV Main Focus at Statewide Immunization Conference

Many providers and clinics in Wyoming are reporting low rates of HPV immunization and trouble with completing the 3-shot series. Concern for the low vaccination rates among young boys and girls supported the urgency of the recent Wyoming Immunization Conference. Information presented focused on educating healthcare professionals about the vaccine make- up, the history of the vaccine, and gave tips and resources to healthcare professionals in order to increase the rate of completion and initial uptake. While the Wyoming Department of Health utilized their own specialist and presentation during the first day of the conference, Yankton Rural AHEC in South Dakota (helping to boost HPV vaccination rates in neighboring Wyoming) was able to speak during the presentation about the NAO HPV project and goals, as well as the education and resources available to healthcare providers.

More than 100 nurses, medical assistants, and clinic managers received education regarding the importance of HPV immunization at the conference. About 60 of the attendees stopped by the AHEC booth to ask questions, receive additional information, and sign up to receive additional education and future newsletters. Many attendees stated that they were glad that there was such a strong focus on HPV at this year’s conference. The Wyoming Immunization Conference was very informative and allowed for a great deal of networking opportunities, especially focused on HPV immunization rates. Throughout the conference, many attendees stopped to speak to staff at the AHEC booth. They were grateful to learn more about AHEC and future opportunities to partner for more in-depth HPV immunization education.

Making connections in a predominantly frontier state is difficult due to many challenges facing the state. One challenge is the great distance between many patients and their primary care providers; with only 6 people per square mile, many patients only visit their physician or clinic when they are ill or in emergent situations. Many patients travel over an hour to receive basic care and healthcare staff have a complex time seeing the patients for follow-ups or second and third doses of vaccines within the recommended timeframe. Another challenge is the low number of full-time providers physically present at various clinics. Many healthcare professionals see patients at two or three different sites, and are not physically at one location permanently; this creates communication errors with office staff and scheduling challenges with patients. A third challenge is the amount of information that is sent to a clinic or healthcare office on a daily basis. Often times, emails, brochures, and posters get buried under each other; it’s important to find how to help information on the importance of HPV vaccination rise above the rest. Through networking opportunities and newly formed partnerships the Yankton Rural AHEC and the Wyoming AHEC are looking forward to partnering with many entities to continue to bring HPV immunization education to healthcare professionals across the state of Wyoming.

Contact info: For more information on this event or the NAO HPV Immunization Project, please contact: Sandy Viau-Williams (Sandy.Viau@yrahec.org) or Regional Coordinator, Corryn Celmer, at ccelmer@ntc.nationalahec.org

Health professionals hear message of improving HPV immunization rates in South Dakota

Improving the HPV immunization rates among 11- and 12-year-olds continues to be the focus of an effort by the National AHEC Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Yankton Rural AHEC in South Dakota.

Yankton Rural AHEC Executive Director Sandy Williams heard Dr. Patricia Samuelson speak at the 2015 Wyoming Immunization Conference regarding the importance of vaccinating adolescent boys and girls for HPV. Samuelson is the medical director of Mercy Clinic Norwood in Sacramento, Calif. Her engaging communication style was well received by the audience of healthcare professionals. Yankton Rural AHEC historically has provided a speaker at the South Dakota Academy of Family Physicians Mid Year Conference. Dr. Samuelson was asked, and accepted this opportunity.

At the South Dakota Academy of Family Physician’s Winter Seminar in January, nearly 65 medical professionals attended a presentation by Dr. Samuelson focused on HPV and sponsored by Yankton Rural AHEC. Dr. Samuelson spoke on how HPV has affected her life personally with a story about her best friend from her Residency who died from cervical cancer. She also shared how she had her children vaccinated early and strongly encourages her patients to receive the vaccine thorough motivational interviewing, strong and effective recommendation by grouping HPV with all of the other adolescent vaccines (such as Tdap and meningococcal vaccines), and through research/studies that have shown the HPV vaccine to be safe and effective at preventing cancers.

Dr. Samuelson’s CDC-approved educational message was “You are the Key to HPV Cancer Prevention: Understanding the Burden of HPV Disease, the Importance of the HPV Vaccine Recommendation, and Communicating about HPV Vaccination.” Attendees provided fantastic feedback and reported of plans to implement many of the tools and resources at their practices and clinics. A few comments included:

“I will support my colleagues even more than I have to this date.”
“10 years ago I gave it to my teen daughters once we got the vaccine in our office and I will continue to support my colleagues.”
“Excellent presentation and information.”

For more information on South Dakota’s plans for the HPV project, please contact Yankton Rural AHEC at 605-655-1400 or email info@yrahec.org, or contact Regional Coordinator, Corryn Celmer, at ccelmer@ntc.nationalahec.org

Yankton Rural AHEC Program Specialist, Corryn Celmer, with presenter, Dr. Particia Samuelson after her presentation on HPV immunizations

About 65 family physicians, physician assistants and other medical professionals attend a presentation focusing on HPV immunizations by Dr. Patricia Samuelson

HPV Training Focuses on Oropharyngeal Cancer

HPV immunization rates in Utah are considerably lower than other states due to the high numbers of Utahans who mistakenly believe the HPV vaccination is only for teens who are sexually active as well as a growing multicultural population unaware of the Human Papilloma Virus, its effects and that a vaccine is available.

With the incidence of oral cancer caused by the Human Papilloma virus increasing nationwide, Roseman University College of Dental Medicine approached Crossroads AHEC about providing a lecture series for its students to educate them on how to educate patients on the value of the HPV vaccine. A lunch and learn presentation was created utilizing the CDC’s “You Are The Key to HPV Cancer Prevention” PowerPoint with the information presented by topic experts William Carroll, DDS and Duane Winden MSN/ed, PhD. The presentation emphasized the number of new cases of oropharyngeal cancer among boys and girls aged 13-15.

Seventy-five people, consisting of 4th-year students and faculty at Roseman University College of Dental Medicine in South Jordan, Utah, attended the event. The students participated in a question and answer session with the topic experts after the presentation.

By receiving this education, 4th year dental students are much more aware of the increased need for HPV immunization recommendation from many different providers and how the HPV vaccine can help prevent oropharyngeal cancer. They also had very positive comments about the presentation in a lunch and learn format, as well as the topic experts.

For more information on this event or the NAO HPV Immunization Project, please contact: Mindy Bateman, Director, Crossroads AHEC, Utah at Mindy.Bateman@slcc.edu or Regional Coordinator, Corryn Celmer at ccelmer@ntc.nationalahec.org.

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