Local Practice Recognized Nationally for Preventing HPV Cancers

Dr. Ann McGaffey, Medical Director of UPMC St. Margaret Bloomfield Garfield Family Health Center, and Dr. Patricia Klatt, Director of Pharmacy Residency Programs, help lead the HPV efforts at the health center.

Cancers associated with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) continue to rise. Unlike other cancers, however, true prevention is available in the form of a safe and effective vaccine. A JHF public health campaign launched in 2014 in partnership with the Eye & Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh, galvanized local efforts to get boys and girls vaccinated. In addition to conducting outreach and education session in healthcare practices, community organizations and schools, the campaign created toolkits and provided communications materials for parents and teens.

After the official campaign wound down, the UPMC St. Margaret Bloomfield Garfield Family Health Center and its medical director, Dr. Ann McGaffey, continued to be devoted and effective champions for getting kids vaccinated. Staff have engaged local students in making posters with facts about HPV, set up raffles and text message reminders, and implemented standing orders for the vaccine throughout the clinic, among other creative and essential strategies.

Their creative and high-impact work has now been recognized nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for achieving a phenomenal 77% vaccination completion rate for both its male and female patients. UPMC St. Margaret Bloomfield Garfield FHC is the recipient of the CDC's 2019 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion for Pennsylvania award.

In addition, healthcare providers across the country can now learn more about how they did it. McGaffey and her colleagues detailed the impact of their work to increase HPV vaccination rates in the article, "A 'Sense'-ational HPV Vaccination Quality Improvement Project in a Family Medicine Residency Practice," published last month in the Journal of the National Medical Association. 

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