Press Releases

UTHealth researcher awarded $1.5 million to increase HPV vaccination rates in medically underserved areas


By Angie Meus | March 13, 2017

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded $1.5 million to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health for a project designed to increase human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine rates among minority youth in medically underserved areas across Houston.

Research shows that an estimated 79 million people in the United States are infected with HPV and 14 million people become infected yearly.

According to the 2015 National Immunization Survey, 62.8 percent of girls and 49.8 percent of boys ages 13-17 had at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, while 41.9 percent of girls and 28.1 percent of boys ages 13-17 completed the vaccination series.

In Texas, those numbers are slightly lower. The number of girls who completed the vaccine series in Texas is 40.9 percent and for boys, 24 percent.

Paula M. Cuccaro, Ph.D., is hoping to change those numbers.

“The HPV vaccine is not required for school the way other vaccines are, but it is still a recommended vaccine,” said Cuccaro, principal investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health. “We are trying to change the language health professionals use when discussing the vaccine with parents.”

The three-year project, which began March 1, consists of three major components, beginning with a parent-focused social marketing campaign to increase knowledge, positive attitudes and intentions regarding the HPV vaccine.

“The plan is to take the information that we already know about the language that is effective and use that in our social marketing campaign to help parents understand that this vaccine is important just like all the other vaccines that the kids need,” Cuccaro said. “Our approach is to use a health education and social media approach to educate parents about HPV vaccination.”

The second component will focus on creating comprehensive school-based vaccination clinics for adolescents in public middle schools, where youth will be offered all recommended vaccinations. This phase of the project will be done in partnership with the Texas Children’s Hospital Mobile Clinic Program, led by its director Sanghamitra Misra, M.D.

“We want to be able to get into the schools as soon as possible,” Cuccaro said. “Our goal is really to help parents get the vaccinations for their kids without having to take time off from work, go into a clinic, sit for three hours and have to go back for a follow-up vaccine.”

The final component focuses on creating continuing education opportunities for nurses, which could increase school nurses’ knowledge about how to communicate effectively with parents about the HPV vaccine.

UTHealth co-investigators on the project include Sally Vernon, Ph.D.J. Michael Wilkerson, Ph.D.Diane Santa Maria, Dr.P.H. M.S.N., R.N.Elizabeth Baumler, Ph.D.; and Robert Addy, Ph.D. Mary Healy, M.D., from Baylor College of Medicine is also a co-investigator on the project.




Social Posts

profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

"I can go out and live my best life. I want to find my peak and be the best possible me.” Read Ismail's story: https://t.co/MKiFdSdhdA https://t.co/zPDsDVOisQ

17 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Honor Flight in Dallas Celebrates WWII Veterans En Route to D.C. https://t.co/4fay1FSJby via @NBCDFW

17 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

With over 550 cases this year in the US alone, experts say to expect even more measles outbreaks in the coming years. https://t.co/0P6XRS2jEL #measles

47 mins ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @jvalenza: .@UTSDhouston will be there! #WeAreUTSD https://t.co/QTx97NBcKa

57 mins ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

Whose House?😎 https://t.co/jZ8n1blIkO

60 mins ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

Engineering students designed a small, foldable epinephrine delivery device called EpiWear to keep emergency medication on hand at all times. https://t.co/67Evu3tMjy https://t.co/kCkkn876jM

2 hours ago
profile_image

CHI St. Luke's Health

@CHI_StLukes

"I was having difficulty sleeping and was barely able to get through a conversation because of my GERD." Read how Spencer Stone was able to get relief: https://t.co/hXLUw8qb0x https://t.co/u4foGsW02d

2 hours ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

RT @MyPlate: Get outdoors with your kids & grown a garden filled with colorful veggies. Celebrating National #GardenMonth is an activity en…

2 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

RT @UTHpromotion: Save the date! Next John P. McGovern Lecture Series in #HealthPromotion "Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Mos…

2 hours ago
profile_image

Harris Health System

@harrishealth

What you should know about #shingles. If you’ve had chickenpox before, then you’re at risk of developing a painful rash called shingles. In fact, one out of three people in the United States will develop shingles at some point in their life. https://t.co/6xydnF83kE https://t.co/cRz4J37rxx

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Packers Tailgate Tour stops at Tomah VA Medical Center https://t.co/0xIX5V1h4Z via @WXOW

2 hours ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

Cardiology Grand Rounds tomorrow at noon – Samin K. Sharma, MD, @MountSinaiNYC “Current Status of Management of Stable CAD: Medicine Only, PCI or CABG?” Live webcast & credit details: https://t.co/4P1PB5zY2m https://t.co/JARtnotecg

3 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

How does space impact the human body? Find out in this year-long study of identical twin astronauts. https://t.co/aKGG6t55R8 #spacehealth #spacemedicine

3 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Marine Veteran crawls on his hands and knees to finish the Boston Marathon https://t.co/TNnNnEAWJg #VeteransInTheNews #VAntagePoint

3 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@ReelLungsOfHope @ShipleyDeb We're so sorry to hear this. You're in our thoughts.

3 hours ago