A big congratulations to Dr. Joan Cates, senior lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and IHC co-director, for her successful keynote presentation at last Friday’s kick-off event for the national public awareness campaign in Pittsburgh, PA!  The Jewish Healthcare Foundation, in partnership with the Eye and Ear Foundation, started this campaign with the goal of encouraging medical providers and parents to have their pre-teen boys and girls vaccinated against human papillomavirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV infects approximately 79 million Americans each year, making it the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.  The vaccine has been approved by the FDA for females since 2006, and more recently for males in 2009.  While most strains of HPV go away by themselves, certain strains can lead to genital warts and oral, genital and cervical cancers.  During her presentation, Dr. Cates noted that the HPV vaccination rate is declining, despite the negative health effects associated with HPV.  Dr. Cates’ work focuses on increasing the vaccination rate by encouraging parents, physicians, and teens to talk HPV and encourage vaccination.

“It’s had a lot of discussion, the vaccine, because it protects [against]a sexually transmitted infection,” she said. “That’s often a hard conversation between the health care provider, the parent and the pre-teen, so what we’re trying to do is to figure out how to have better conversations.”

Dr. Cates was interviewed by NPR Pittsburgh affiliate, and quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettte.

For more information about Dr. Cates’ research, please click here.

For more information about what is being done about HPV, please see the President’s Cancer Panel Annual Report.  The President’s Cancer Panel is chaired by Dr. Barbara Rimer, DrPH and Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor of the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC.  During 2012-2013, the panel focused on increasing HPV vaccination and addressing related issues in the United States and globally.

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