Regional Coordinator Information
Nebraska centers work together to provide first CE webinar on HPV
Collaboration is vital in providing continuing education in a large, rural state like Nebraska. In the more rural and frontier areas of the state, healthcare facilities can be hundreds of miles away with the only immediate access to healthcare consisting of a one-physician part-time clinic office. So it was important for Nebraska to take a unique approach to the National AHEC Organization HPV Project.
HPV vaccination in Nebraska sits well below the Healthy People 2020 goal with only 41.5 percent of girls vaccinated and 19.7 percent of boys. Missed opportunities to vaccinate Nebraska youth abound and provider education is a fundamental element in raising HPV vaccination rates.
As part of this provider education effort, three centers in Nebraska collaborated to provide a “You are the Key to HPV Cancer Prevention” webinar in February 2016. Central Nebraska AHEC’s Judy Rita serves as the Nebraska HPV State Coordinator and was the program planner. The Omaha AHEC identified and coordinated the program speaker, Dr. Shirley DeLaria, pediatrician with a specialty in infectious disease and practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Northern Nebraska AHEC provided the technology and expertise to broadcast the webinar. And the webinar was promoted by all five AHEC centers in the state along with the Nebraska AHEC program office. The Postgraduate Institute of Medicine awarded continuing education credit for the nurses and public health staff who attended.
Webinar technology is important to reach healthcare providers in all areas of the state who can’t travel long distances to attend a live educational event. The February HPV event marked the first time Nebraska had used its webinar capacity for continuing education for professionals. As it proved successful, it will be looked at as a medium to continue to use to educate health professionals throughout the state.
Building an Immunity Community Kansas Immunization Conference, June 7-9, 2016
The University of Kansas AHEC is actively engaged in continuing education in the state of Kansas. Over the past 18 months sessions on HPV immunization rates have been presented through webinars, live presentations, and brown bag luncheons as part of the NAO HPV Project.
In June 2016, the state immunization conference was held with plenary and breakout sessions focused on HPV immunization. Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spoke to conference attendees, providing a national community perspective. Christine Robinette Curtis, MD, MPH, FAAP, Capt., US Public Health Service, Medical Officer, Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, presented “Vaccinating our Adolescents against HPV-Associated Cancers: Where We Are, Why it Matters and What Works.” A breakout session “Moving Up the Needle on the HPV Vaccination Rate,” presented by a county health department was also part of the conference. With the entire conference focused on improving the immunization rates in Kansas, many of the sessions focused or mentioned the importance of improving the rates of the HPV vaccination. More than 300 providers attended this state conference and continuing education credit was provided for both physicians and nurses.
The Kansas AHEC’s expertise in project management, facilitation and continuing education for healthcare professionals in Kansas has them integrally involved in the work toward improving the HPV immunizations in their state.
A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Combat HPV
Across the nation, there is much work being done to protect our children from cancer. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is extremely common and is the leading cause of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, and other genital cancers in both males and females. Fortunately, there is a vaccine that can prevent these cancers, and the National AHEC Organization in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to increase HPV vaccination rates among young males and females by educating health care providers and encouraging them to give a strong recommendation for the vaccine to their patients.
In 2015, the Northeast Missouri AHEC office was selected to take part in this initiative by forming partnerships and organizing trainings for health care providers throughout the state. On Feb. 26, 2016 a panel of medical professionals delivered education and spoke on their professional experience with HPV and the HPV vaccine. This training was held at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Mo., and was also broadcast live to hospitals in Joplin, Saint Joseph and Cape Girardeau. There were 46 people in attendance including hospital staff as well as A.T. Still University third- and fourth-year medical students.
The multi-disciplinary approach was a very well-received and the method of delivery of the presentation was found to be effective. The panel included a family practice physician, a pediatrician, and an OB/GYN. Each presenter was able to provide his or her own unique experience in the field as it related to HPV and HPV prevention.
Evaluations of the presentation provided very positive feedback. All attendees agreed that as a result of the training, they would implement at least one change to improve their practice or patient care to increase HPV vaccinations. One attendee even commented, "Great job. I learned a lot and learned how to talk to stubborn momma bears."
Statewide HPV Workgroup formed in Iowa
The National AHEC Organization is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase the rates of vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV) in girls and boys throughout the nation. In the state of Iowa, there are numerous organizations, agencies, and institutions working to tackle this issue. Unfortunately, those groups are disjointed and lack resource sharing. In an effort to improve effectiveness and efficiency, the Scenic Rivers AHEC, the Iowa Cancer Consortium and the Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society as well as other representatives from various groups throughout the state came together to discuss past and current work as well determine the future direction of HPV work throughout the state.
In the fall of 2015, the Scenic Rivers AHEC, the Iowa Cancer Consortium, the Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society, and eight other entities from across the state joined forces with the intention of making significant strides in increasing HPV vaccination rates. This meeting allowed the entities to better share information including data sources, champion provider information, tool kits for creating a strong provider recommendation, and discussions about how best to support one another in future presentation opportunities.
Since this large group adjourned, there are now four individual small groups formed, all working toward more specific goals. These groups are focused on provider education, quality measures, alternative settings, and joint communication plans. In addition, Scenic Rivers AHEC is working with numerous members of the large group to plan a statewide HPV Conference in April 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa has many passionate people working diligently toward cancer prevention through the increase of HPV vaccination rates. Now that these groups have joined forces and are actively collaborating, there will certainly be even more significant movement towards achieving the common goal.