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Regional Coordinator Information

Colleen Dawson
(480) 899-0726
Andrea L. Gregg
High Sierra AHEC
(775) 682-5744

Success Stories

Arizona utilizes national webinar for inter-professional education event

  • Educating health professions students on oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Explaining the importance of the HPV vaccine.
  • Discussing their role in HPV immunization promotion and strategies to increase HPV vaccination rates.
  • Integrating the HPV project into AHEC programming.

Greater Valley AHEC (GVAHEC) in Arizona hosted an in-person viewing of the NAO webinar, “HPV-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer and Survivors’ Experiences of Treatment-Related Toxicity” at the University of Arizona-Phoenix campus April 25. Immediately following the webinar, the AHEC lead an inter-professional guided discussion attended by fourth-year undergraduate and graduate level health professions students from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

“I think utilizing a pre-planned activity like a webinar is a great way to leverage your programs and get more bang for your buck,” said GVAHEC Director Martha McNair. “It takes some planning, but by having a face to face viewing of the webinar and adding an IPE (inter-professional education) activity afterward; we were able to provide the students with an excellent presentation conducted by national experts in their field at virtually no cost.”

Attending students were from the College of Nursing including advanced nursing practice programs, College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy and College of Public Health for a total of 12 students from five disciplines. The guided discussion focused heavily on the role that the students’ respective disciplines play in HPV immunization promotion and strategies to increase HPV vaccination rates.

Students indicated that the strong webinar presentation, supported by evidenced-based data, plus a guided discussion helped them learn more about each other’s roles in a healthcare team setting.

McNair said the HPV project fits into the new HRSA requirements in a number of ways – IPE, Community Based Training, and AHEC Scholars programming. HPV fits into the HRSA Core Topics as a current and emerging health issue, she said.

“I see this approach as being a valuable tool that can be utilized in many situations including AHEC scholar programming. This was our first experience of organizing a live viewing event with an added activity and we’d like to experiment with linking multiple viewing sites for activities like this in the future,” McNair said. “These kinds of activities could be done among centers in the same state or even between centers across states—the options are really limitless when you think about it!”

Greater Valley AHEC provides TIPS for HPV Cancer Prevention

The HPV vaccination coverage goal for Healthy People 2020 is to have 80 percent of 13- to 15-year- old females and males complete the three-dose vaccine series. According to the latest data for three-dose completion, the HPV vaccination rate in Arizona is 37.4 percent for females, 19.5 percent for males. In order to address this discrepancy in Arizona, the Greater Valley AHEC created a HPV Immunization Training in conjunction with its partner groups: The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI), Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Maricopa County Public Health Department.

Last summer, three Training Practice Strategies (TIPS) in-person events were held in Pima and Maricopa counties. TIPS educational events are based on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee Standards for pediatric immunization practices. A custom presentation, based on “You are the Key to HPV Cancer Prevention,” was given by topic experts, Gail Hock, MS, RN, PHCNS-BC, APHN-BC, and Machrina E. Leach, BSN, RN.

Attendance included 175 health professionals from across the state. The training format proved to be a successful delivery method of high quality training based up on results of the pre- and post-evaluation assessment surveys. In addition, numerous stakeholder partnerships were formed to plan future HPV educational events.

For more information on this event or the NAO HPV Immunization Project, contact Marissa Starks-Banh, Regional Coordinator

California Statewide AHEC provides training in conjunction with Pre-Teen Vaccination Week

The HPV vaccination coverage goal for Healthy People 2020 is to have 80 percent of 13-to-15- year-old females complete the three dose vaccine series. The HPV vaccination rates in California - according to the latest data for 3 dose completion - for females are 35.8 percent; the rate for males 11.7 percent. With more than 4,000 new HPV-related cancer cases every year, California has a long way to go. Studies have shown that a recommendation from a child’s pediatrician or family doctor for the HPV vaccine is a strong determinate whether a parent consents for the vaccine or not. Providers need to hear this message as well as strategies to approach the subject with patients and parents.

The Immunization Branch of the California Department of Public Health sponsors Pre-teen Vaccination Week each February. The California AHEC did a presentation to the Pre-teen Vaccination Week planning committee about the National AHEC Organization’s HPV project. In preparation for activities planned during the Pre-teen Vaccination Week, California AHEC partnered with the department of public health for a statewide webinar of CDC’s “You Are the Key to HPV Cancer Prevention” on Jan. 13. The webinar speaker was Mark Sawyer, MD, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at University of California-San Diego, Medical Director for UCSD/San Diego Immunization Partnership, and past member of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

More than 200 participants registered for the webinar and 123 attended. Of those 123, 37 requested and received CME, CNE and/or participant certificates. Many positive comments were received regarding the presentation, said Jane Pezua of the California Department of Health.

“It’s been expressed how well Dr. Sawyer told the story, that Dr. Sawyer stayed on topic of the three key points he laid out up front, and how easy the slides were to understand,” he said.

An archived recording of the webinar can be accessed here.

For more information on this event or the NAO HPV Immunization Project, contact Marissa Starks-Banh, Regional Coordinator, at

2015 HPV Free Provider Summit

The High Sierra AHEC, in partnership with Immunize Nevada, The Nevada Cancer Coalition, and the Nevada Division of Public & Behavioral Health created a Statewide Summit on HPV Immunization education through an interactive webinar structure to allow for numerous providers in multiple areas the opportunity to attend. This summit utilized interactive video to bridge three site locations in Reno, Elko and Las Vegas. All presentations were approved for continuing education credits and made available to participants. The presenters and topic experts were Kirk Forbes, Deanna Kepka, PhD, MPH, Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH, Shaundra Hall, and Dr. Joseph A. Bocchini, Jr. About 75 health professionals – mostly nurses - from across the state attended the webinar training.

High Sierra AHEC has many of the same national HPV immunization issues that must be addressed with the additional complexity of education providers located in rural and medically underserved areas of northwestern Nevada. The webinar format was proven to be a successful delivery method of high quality training.

For more information on this event or the NAO HPV Immunization Project, contact Marissa Starks-Banh, Regional Coordinator, at

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