January 8, 2019 | by The Polyclinic

The Polyclinic Pediatrics department was recently named Washington State's 2018 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion. The honor was awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Cancer Society, and the American Cancer Institute.

HPV is extremely common, most people will be exposed to it at some point in their lives and every year approximately 33,700 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV. Completing the HPV vaccination series at a young age, before being exposed to an infection, protects children from six types of cancer. Over the last few years, The Polyclinic Pediatrics has made great strides in increasing HPV vaccination rates among its patients age 9 years and older. The group's excellent HPV series completion rate is now at 84 percent.

"Our entire department has worked hard on this. It's been a real team effort to educate and engage both parents and kids about HPV and it's rewarding to see the positive results," said pediatrician Dr. Sherri Zorn. Dr. Zorn has shared the department's approach in internal presentations to pediatrics, primary care, and our Quality Committee to help increase HPV vaccinations throughout The Polyclinic. Pediatrics is also a key partner in regional and statewide efforts to promote HPV vaccination.

Pediatrics uses several strategies to raise awareness and boost HPV vaccination rates:

  • Staff send monthly recall letters (generated through the state immunization registry) for patients ages 12.75-17 years who are overdue for their second or third dose.
  • Staff send quarterly emails and phone call reminders to patients who are overdue for their annual well child exam.
  • Posters in the lobby and exam rooms educate parents and patients on the importance of HPV vaccination and following the recommended immunization schedule.
  • All pediatric providers strongly recommend HPV vaccine at age 9-10 years.

Congratulations to all Pediatrics staff and providers on this achievement in cancer prevention!