Borough President Vito Fossella, Cancer Prevention in Action Partnership, Unveil New HPV Vaccine Ad in the St. George Ferry Terminal
Borough President Vito Fossella, Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Richmond University Medical Centerhave partnered under the Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) grant to release an advertisement in the St. George Ferry Terminal about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
The ad will run on the screen over the main ferry gates through April 2. The ad focuses on the HPV vaccine’s ability to prevent cancer, and tells viewers that they can get the vaccine starting at age nine by talking to their doctor or school-based health provider.
“The HPV vaccine is one of the few evidence-based tools in our tool box for preventing multiple cancers," said Dr. Ginny Mantello, Director of Health and Wellness for Borough President Fossella. "We owe it to our community, to parents, caregivers as well as their children to educate and update them on this valuable resource. We are grateful to the Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center and RUMC for their partnership and help in moving this work forward and reducing the burden of cancer on Staten Island,” .
HPV can cause six different types of cancers in men and women, and is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine, typically administered as two to three doses for children and adolescents beginning as early as age nine, is cancer prevention. It prevents over 90% of these six types of cancer, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal (back of the throat) cancers. Among New York City’s five boroughs, Staten Island has the lowest HPV vaccination rate for adolescents with only about 22% of 13-year-olds having completed the HPV vaccination series, as compared to around 60% throughout New York City.
The Cancer Prevention in Action grant from the New York State Department of Health and Health has allowed this partnership to work together to provide education about HPV and the HPV vaccine to the Staten Island community.
“The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia has been privileged to partner with Drs. Ginny Mantello and Ana Mendez and their extraordinary teams to develop and evaluate programs of outreach to reduce the cancer burden in Staten Island, which has some of the highest cancer rates and lowest HPV vaccination rates in New York State,” said Dr. Mary Beth Terry, Associate Director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at Columbia University’s Cancer Center.
Dr. Ashley Stephens, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, has given three grand rounds lectures to medical professionals with CPiA about the science behind the HPV vaccine and how to overcome vaccine hesitancy among patients. Two of these lectures were at Staten Island University Hospital to their medicine and pediatrics departments, and one was at the pediatrics department at Richmond University Medical Center.
“The HPV vaccine is one of two vaccines that we have to prevent cancer, the other being Hepatitis B," said Dr. Stephens. "The vaccine is a very effective cancer prevention tool, and it’s so important that we equip health care providers with the tools to talk about this vaccine with their patients.”
Dr. Stephens has also worked alongside Dr. Ana Mendez, Chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics at RUMC’s Patient Centered Medical Home, to bring HPV education to the RUMC patient population and to train school-based health center staff at high schools about how to offer the HPV vaccine, manage HPV vaccine hesitancy, and answer common questions about the HPV vaccine.
“As healthcare providers, it’s our duty to educate our patients and their parents on the benefits of the HPV vaccine, providing them with the tools necessary to make an educated and informed decision on whether or not to receive the vaccination,” said Dr. Mendez.
CPiA has also partnered with Project Hospitality to bring HPV education to a primarily Spanish-speaking population on Staten Island. Dr. Mantello connected CPiA to Project Hospitality’s health pop-ups, which she helped to organize. These events provide free health screenings, vaccinations -- including the HPV vaccination -- and resources to people who would be otherwise unable to afford or access care.
They continue to partner with Project Hospitality on HPV vaccination education, along with skin cancer prevention education, which is also part of the work they do on Staten Island. “HPV vaccination and skin cancer risk reduction policy change and education are the core tenets of CPiA’s work. This year we plan to expand our partnerships with local organizations to work on reducing the cancer burden in Staten Island,” says CPiA Staten Island Project Director Maya Lipsman of Columbia University’s Cancer Center, Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.
For more information about the Cancer Prevention in Action program in Staten Island or if you are interested in scheduling HPV education for your organization, please email Maya Lipsman or visit the Take Action Against Cancer website.
Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) was recently awarded a three-year grant by Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) of New York State Department of Health and Health Research, Inc. The award supports the HICCC’s work on skin cancer risk reduction and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination education in Staten Island. The HICCC is the first and only site in New York City to receive this competitive award by the CPiA program. HICCC has partnered with Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) and the Office of the Staten Island Borough President to complete the activities of this grant. These partners make connections with local organizations to implement sun safety policies and deliver HPV vaccination education.