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Cancer Prevention through the HPV Vaccine: A Women’s Health Initiative

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November 21, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 85% of people will get a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in their lifetime. While most HPV infections go away on their own, some may persist and cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and/or oropharyngeal cancers. The HPV vaccine has proven effective in reducing the incidence of HPV infections, genital warts, and cervical precancers. Despite guidance from the CDC and American Cancer Society supporting HPV vaccination in childhood (ideally between 9-12 years old), vaccine hesitancy still presents a barrier to optimal HPV vaccine uptake in the United States. Parental anxieties surrounding the HPV vaccine may include safety concerns, the association of HPV with early sexual activity, and other fears stemming from misinformation spread online. Parents have also cited an absent and/or insufficient physician recommendation as a factor in their decision to decline vaccination. Women, as the primary healthcare decision-makers in the home, are in a unique position to ensure their children successfully receive the HPV vaccine series on time and through to completion. Women need accessible, science-based, and culturally-relevant information to make informed decisions about HPV vaccination for their families.

SWHR convened an interdisciplinary HPV Vaccine Education Working Group of public health researchers and professionals, community leaders, and health care providers for a closed, roundtable meeting in November 2022. During the roundtable, the Working Group discussed how to eliminate barriers to HPV vaccine confidence, access, and uptake through the development of educational materials designed to reach women as immunization decision-makers.


November 21, 2022
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
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The objectives of the roundtable are to:

  • Review the public health landscape concerning HPV vaccination recommendations and implementation and explore the best means to increase public education and strategies for increased uptake through women
  • Identify knowledge gaps, unmet patient needs, and relevant policies that present barriers to access and vaccine confidence, particularly among women, parents, and young adults
  • Curate science-based information to address low uptake, vaccine hesitancy, and build public trust in the safety of the HPV vaccine
  • Develop materials to expand education and raise awareness about the public health benefits of vaccinations for individuals across the lifespan

Roundtable Participants

Robert A. Bednarczyk, PhD, Associate Professor, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

Darron R. Brown, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Indiana University School of Medicine

Amy E. Dark, BSN, BA, RN, Rhode Island Director to the National Association of School Nurses, National Association of School Nurses

Gabrielle Darville-Sanders, PhD, MPH, CHES, Strategic Director, National HPV Vaccination Roundtable, American Cancer Society

Erica DeWald, Chief Communication Officer, Vaccinate Your Family

Katy Gore, MPH, Public Health Specialist, Association of Immunization Managers

Deanna Lee Kepka, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Huntsman Cancer Institute and University of Utah

Daisy Le, PhD, MPH, MA, Assistant Professor in Health Disparities and Oncology, George Washington University

Shillpa Naavaal, BDS, MS, MPH, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry

Daniel Salmon, PhD, Professor, Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Institute for Vaccine Safety

Litjen (L.J) Tan, MS, PhD, Chief Policy and Partnerships Officer, Immunize.org; Co-Chair, National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit

Fred L. Wyand, Director of Communications, American Sexual Health Association


Support for this educational program has been provided by Merck & Co. SWHR maintains independence and control over program development, content, and work products.

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