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Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Jewish Healthcare Foundation Receives HHS Mobilization for Health Award to Catalyze Community Campaign to Increase Cancer-Preventing HPV Vaccination Rate

September 3, 2014

(Pittsburgh – September 3, 2014)  The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) received a $75,000 Mobilization for Health: National Prevention Partnership Award (NPPA) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to support the JHF HPV Vaccination Initiative. The Initiative brings together myriad individuals and organizations across the region in an effort to increase the rate of HPV vaccination, which remains low even as the rate of HPV-associated cancers increases.

JHF kicked off the HPV Vaccination Initiative in February, convening an advisory committee of more than 40 clinicians, researchers, community organizations, health plans, educators, and County health department leadership; and holding the first community education event of the Initiative. Sub-committees of the advisory are focusing on increasing vaccination rates among pre-teens, teens, and young adults in the Greater Pittsburgh area; data/measurement; and policy change.

About 20 million people in the United States are infected with HPV. Another 6.2 million are infected each year. For most, HPV clears on its own; but for others who don't clear certain strains, HPV can have significant consequences. Certain types of HPV cause approximately 91% of all cervical cancer cases, 75% of vaginal cancer cases and up to 69% of vulvar cancer cases in females; 63% of penile cancers in males; and 91% of anal cancer cases and 72% of oropharyngeal (in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) cancer cases among both men and women[1]. In addition, certain types of HPV cause about 90% of all genital warts cases in both males and females.

There are, however, approved vaccines that prevent the most common types of HPV infections that cause these cancers and warts, yet the rate of vaccination is distressingly low. According to the latest study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, 37.6% of U.S. girls aged 13 to 17 years received the recommended three doses of the HPV vaccine[2].

The percentage of boys receiving the vaccine more than doubled, from 6.8% in 2012 to 13.9% in 2013[2]. Although the CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for all adolescents aged 11 to 12 years, their study found that physicians had not recommended it to one-third of age-appropriate girls and more than half of age-appropriate boys. Parents cited a lack of knowledge about the vaccine and safety concerns as reasons for not having their child vaccinated[2].

According to JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, "JHF started thinking about taking on a campaign to increase the HPV vaccination rate in the fall of 2013, after the Chairman of the Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh, George Fechter, approached us with the startling news that the incidence of HPV-related throat cancers was rising at an alarming rate. Then in January of 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named HPV one of the top five health threats facing our nation in 2014.

"Our goal," says Feinstein, "is to help get our community to the CDC's national goal of an 80% HPV vaccination rate.

"We're building partnerships and collaborating with individuals and organizations representing all community populations because," says Feinstein, "we want to ensure that we improve the HPV vaccination rates for pre-teens, teens, and young adults throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area — across all social, economic, race, and ethnic boundaries.

"We've just established, for example, a local chapter of Grandmother Power to mobilize activist grandmothers in multiple grassroots efforts across dozens of communities. We've given a grant to the Womens and Girls Foundation to engage teens in teen outreach, and have plans for a number of additional grants to other community organizations. We're working with our regional insurance providers to establish data benchmarks for measuring our success, and with our regional clinical associations and providers to educate and encourage physicians and nurse practitioners to recommend vaccination. We'll be doing media outreach and blogging to moms. And much more."

Studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is very safe. It has been administered in the U.S. and around the world since 2006. The vaccination is recommended for all girls and boys between ages 11 and 12. Teens and young adults ages 13-26 who were not vaccinated when they were younger should also get the vaccine.

In addition to the NPPA grant, JHF has received a $25, 000 grant from The Grable Foundation, $10,000 grant from the Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh, and a $150,000 grant from the JHF Board of Trustees.

For more information on HPV and the HPV Vaccination Initiative, visit http://jhf.org/what-we-do/projects-programs/?15.

[1] CDC. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) –Associated Cancers. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/hpv/statistics/cases.htm

[2] CDC. 2013 National Immunization Survey-Teen (NIS-Teen). MMWR July 25, 2014; 63(29); 620-4.

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.

David Golebiewski
Jewish Healthcare Foundation
412-594-2553 or 412-216-6305 (mobile)

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