JHF Launches HPV Vaccination Initiative
January 30, 2014
Jewish Healthcare Foundation Partners With Eye & Ear Foundation to Save Lives through HPV Vaccination Awareness Initiative
(Pittsburgh – January 30, 2014) The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF), in partnership with the Eye & Ear Foundation (EEF), will launch a high impact public awareness initiative on Friday, February 7. The goal of the initiative is to save lives by decreasing preventable cancers through increased human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations. Leading physicians and public health experts—including Dr. Joan Cates, an expert on interdisciplinary health communications at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whose research focuses on HPV related diseases—will launch the initiative with a presentation and panel discussion about the importance of reversing the low vaccination rates in the U.S. The event will be held from 8:30 -10:30 a.m., Feb. 7, at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's QI2T Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at Centre City Tower.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, infecting approximately 79 million Americans. Even more alarming, 14 million become newly infected in the United States each year. While most strains of the virus go away by themselves, certain strains can lead to genital warts, and potentially deadly cervical, genital, and oral cancers.
In 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a vaccine against certain strains of HPV for females ages 9 through 26. In 2009, the FDA approved HPV vaccine for males. Ideally, the HPV vaccination is given to girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years of age, prior to the onset of sexual activity. Encouragingly, almost all health insurance plans now cover HPV vaccinations.
Despite the availability and affordability of the vaccines and severity of the virus, vaccination rates remain low. Among those opting for vaccination, not enough people are following through for the entire three-dose vaccine series.
"We found the data around cancers and other health conditions caused by the HPV virus disturbing, particularly because this is a health problem with a solution," said Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, President and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. "Our Board of Trustees approved a grant for the development of an outreach plan to encourage vaccination. We believe we will save lives and suffering."
The Eye & Ear Foundation approached JHF due to JHF's history of developing successful community-based health campaigns such as Working Hearts and Operation KidShot.
"The mission of the Eye & Ear Foundation," says EEF Executive Director Lawton Snyder "is to support research into new therapies or cures for diseases and disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Currently research is ongoing in the treatment of HPV-related throat cancers. The Eye & Ear Foundation is thrilled that the Jewish Healthcare Foundation has taken on this effort."
JHF has contracted with Mary Suresh, former Director of Public Health for the town of Wellesley, Mass., and has convened an impressive advisory committee to work with the Foundation on this initiative. Advisory committee members will be present at the event's kick off and include those presenting, as well as a number of other local thought leaders.
Feb. 7 Panel Members:
Sonya Borrero, MD, University of Pittsburgh
Alan Finkelstein, MD, Board Chair of Adagio Health
William Isler, President of Family Communications, Inc.
Jonas Johnson, MD, Professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC
Mary Suresh, RN, BSN, MPH, former Director of Public Health for the town of Wellesley, MA; JHF HPV Vaccination Initiative Consultant
About the Jewish Healthcare Foundation
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is a public charity that offers a unique blend of research, education, grantmaking and program management to advance the quality of clinical care and health of populations, with a focus on improving the quality, efficiency and safety of healthcare. JHF and its two operating arms, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and Health Careers Futures (HCF) are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and serve a national and global audience. JHF is also a founding member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). For more information, visit www.jhf.org.
About the Eye & Ear Foundation
The Eye & Ear Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1985 with the goal of fostering support for the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh through the generous support of individuals and organizations within the community of Pittsburgh. The Eye & Ear Foundation proudly represents the research and education efforts of these Departments, and is always amazed by the cutting-edge advancements researchers consistently develop.
Contact: Laurie Gottlieb
Jewish Healthcare Foundation
412-594-2583 or 412-523-3891 (mobile)
About The Jewish Healthcare Foundation
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is a public charity that offers a unique blend of research, education, grantmaking and program management to advance the quality of clinical care and health of populations, with a focus on improving the quality, efficiency, and safety of health care. JHF and its three operating arms—the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal)— are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and serve a national and global audience. JHF is also a founding member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). For more information, visit www.jhf.org.
Jewish Healthcare Foundation
412-594-2553 or 412-216-6305 (mobile)