Nav: Home

Boston Medical Center receives $1 million grant to improve communication about HPV vaccine

October 22, 2015

BOSTON--Researchers at Boston Medical Center (BMC) were awarded a three-year, $1.04 million grant from the American Cancer Society to expand an education-based pilot program to improve communication between pediatric physicians and their patients about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. During the pilot study, vaccination rates increased as physicians became more educated about HPV vaccination. This grant will expand this intervention to five additional community health centers in Boston to test its efficacy in a larger, diverse group of patients and families.

While HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S., effecting nearly 80 million people, vaccination rates remain low, with 40 percent of girls and 21 percent of boys having reported completing the series of vaccines against HPV. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 33,000 people will develop HPV-associated cancers each year with the majority of cervical cancers affecting underserved populations such as minority groups or those with low socioeconomic status.

Three HPV vaccines are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bivalent HPV vaccine prevents the two HPV types, 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of cervical cancers. The quadrivalent HPV vaccine prevents four HPV types: HPV 16 and 18, as well as HPV 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts. The 9-valent HPV vaccine protects against 9 HPV types: 7 that cause cancer and 2 that cause genital warts. Clinical trials and post-marketing studies from the US and around the world show that the vaccines are very effective.

The bivalent vaccine is recommended for girls and the quadrivalent and 9-valent are recommended for both boys and girls at age 11 or 12 through age 26. All vaccines are administered in a three-shot series.

After completing more than 600 interviews at two pilot sites with parents, teenagers and physicians to determine reasons why HPV vaccines are used or not used, BMC researchers implemented an educational program to improve communication around HPV vaccination. The curriculum consisted of seven educational and feedback sessions with physicians as well as baseline and follow-up chart reviews. As a result, boys and girls were substantially more likely to receive the HPV vaccine at the pilot sites than they were at the control sites.

"Universal HPV vaccination has the potential to decrease the overall burdens of these cancers and reduce racial and ethnic disparities, yet many clinicians do not effectively recommend vaccination for young teens," said Rebecca Perkins, MD, MSc, gynecologist at BMC and lead researcher. "It is our responsibility to our youngest and our most marginalized patients to inform them and their parents of the risks of not getting the vaccine."

Moving forward, researchers plan to implement the intervention in five local community health centers to broadly test the program's effectiveness in a diverse group of pediatric and family medicine practices serving low-income and minority patients. They will then analyze if and how much vaccination rates improved following the program, the effects of the program on parent-physician communication by surveying both parties and observing patient visits, and the potential barriers to sustainability with the goal of ensuring that the program can be successfully replicated in other settings.
About Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 496-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. It is the largest and busiest provider of trauma and emergency services in New England. Committed to providing high-quality health care to all, the hospital offers a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services including primary and family medicine and advanced specialty care with an emphasis on community-based care. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution, receiving more than $118 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2014. It is the 11th largest recipient of funding in the U.S. from the National Institutes of Health among independent hospitals. In 1997, BMC founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc., now one of the top ranked Medicaid MCOs in the country, as a non-profit managed care organization. It does business in Massachusetts as BMC HealthNet Plan and as Well Sense Health Plan in New Hampshire, serving more than 315,000 people, collectively. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in the Boston HealthNet - 13 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit

Boston University Medical Center

Related Cancer Articles:

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.
Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.
Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.