Researchers seek best ways to increase HPV vaccination rates

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Improving the HPV vaccination rate has been a focus of the CPF for several years, said CPF Executive Director Lora Harnack, MSN, R.N., and the organization has teamed with VUMC and other organizations in efforts to do so, including community-based educational events and quality improvement initiatives with CPF member practices. CPF currently has 77 community-based pediatric practice locations in its membership.

“Pediatricians want to take the best possible care of their patients,” said Harnack. “In having conversations with them, we learned that a lot of physicians perceived that they were doing a lot better than they were, in terms of getting these vaccinations completed. When parents hear a strong recommendation from a clinician for their child needing the vaccination, they respect that advice.”

The study involves implementing a quality improvement project starting this summer at 22 CPF-affiliated pediatric practices in Tennessee, in which two methods of coaching will be tested for their efficacy in increasing vaccination rates.

One method will use an in-person coach — a nurse educator — who will travel to 11 of the pediatric offices to conduct a needs assessment and train staff on how the HPV vaccine should be presented to patients and their families. The second method will provide a web-based version of this service to the remaining 11 participating clinics. The clinics’ HPV vaccination rates will be measured at the study’s completion.

The clinics will also be provided patient education materials ( that were developed in a previous study under the Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) and Tennessee State University (TSU) Cancer Partnership led by Hull; Maureen Sanderson, MPH, Ph.D. (Meharry); and Elizabeth Williams, Ph.D. (TSU); in collaboration with a Community Advisory Board.

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