Oregon HPV Vaccination Week & Youth Voice

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Four students and one OSBHA employee standing in front of white building wearing & holding up HPV week t-shirtsAt OSBHA, we believe youth voice is critical to healthcare programming, policy, and advocacy. We strive to center the youth voice in everything that we do, and we are actively engaging in practices that redistribute, share and build power with youth to change systems of inequity.

When OSBHA Student Health Advocates were invited to submit a proposal to present at the 2018 Oregon HPV Summit, they had a couple key questions, including:
  1. What is HPV exactly?
  2. Why haven't we learned about this in school?
The Student Health Advocates are all committed to youth health access and equity, and the fact that they weren't familiar with HPV pointed to a real problem in our state. So we got to work creating a model for youth-driven HPV prevention. OSBHA Student Health Advocates and staff have worked together this past year to create a model for HPV prevention resources that are accurate, equitable, and youth-friendly.

 Here's how we're doing this work:
  • OSBHA Student Health Advocates are developing peer-to-peer HPV prevention education based on evidence and best practices. This fall, education sessions will be provided to high school students as part of our feasibility study project, funded by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.
  • The Student Health Advocates are also developing a training for healthcare providers on youth-oriented HPV prevention, funded by the EC Brown Foundation. This youth-led training, Eye to Eye: Discussing HPV with Youth, will use roleplays and other activities to tackle the following topics: biases and their effects on youth, minor consent laws, confidentiality, developing relationships with youth patients, and using non-judgmental language.
  • Student Health Advocates have provided the youth voice in HPV training for professionals, including leading sessions at the 2018 and 2019 Oregon HPV Summit hosted by the American Cancer Society.
The goal of the Oregon HPV Vaccination Week is to reduce the number of HPV-associated cancers by supporting improved vaccine uptake among adolescents in Illustration of the state of Oregon that says Oregon's 2018 up-to-date HPV vaccination rate is 46.40 from Oregon Health Authority, 2018Oregon through education and collaboration.

This HPV Vaccination Week, we invite school-based health centers and partners across the state to consider how you might improve vaccine uptake in your clinic. HPV Cancer Free Oregon provides resources for organizations interested in improving HPV vaccination rates.

A few ways to support youth in accessing the HPV vaccine:
  • Make sure HPV resources are available in your clinic. The Oregon Health Authority provides a brochure for youth and a brochure for parents.
  • Have empathy & hold space for youth with needle anxiety.
  • Make information accessible and youth-friendly.
  • Inform youth about their rights to consent for medical care & records. While youth 15 and older can consent to their own medical care, we've worked with many youth who don't know whether they received the HPV vaccine before the age of 15. Support them in accessing that information.
  • Invite OSBHA Student Health Advocates to your community! Eye to Eye: Discussing HPV With Youth is a training for providers, developed and facilitated by youth. Contact Ashley McAllister at ashley@osbha.org for more info.