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Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Summit Highlights New Ideas for Eliminating Barriers to Adolescent Immunization

Deerfield, IL (PRWEB) October 21, 2013

Representatives of 10 grantee programs participating in a two-year initiative, “Improving Understanding of Adolescent Vaccination through Innovative Local Public Health Demonstration Projects,” gathered at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center last week to discuss new strategies and tactics for increasing adolescent immunization rates for a range of vaccines important for teens and young adults, including human papillomavirus, meningococcal, influenza, and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis).

The summit was hosted by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), which, in February 2011, awarded grants of $150,000 to $160,000 to the 10 organizations for public health demonstration projects designed to address the unique barriers associated with vaccination uptake in the adolescent population. The funding was supported by a grant to SAHM from Merck & Co, Inc.

“Immunizations are one of the greatest public health achievements. While adolescent vaccination rates have improved, they remain low compared to pediatric vaccination rates, and vaccination coverage varies widely by region,” said Principal Investigator Jessica A. Kahn, MD, MPH, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities still persist in vaccination rates, Kahn added.

The presentations included a range of strategies and tactics for collaborating with local clinics, schools and health centers; reducing inequities for youth populations of diverse race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status; using social media to educate teens and their families directly; and implementing text messaging or postcard campaigns to remind parents of upcoming vaccination deadlines for their teens.

Grantees will finalize the results of their research in the closing months of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 and write summary papers for publication in the Journal of Adolescent Health and other journals. Additional dissemination activity is planned using the SAHM website and through other media. The primary objective of a wide dissemination is ensure that the best practices, tools and strategies identified in the demonstration projects have the opportunity to be replicated on a larger scale and impact adolescent vaccination rates domestically and around the world.

“We congratulate all the research teams on excellent presentations at the SAHM Vaccine Demonstration Projects Summit,” said SAHM president Debra Katzman, MD, FSAHM.

To obtain more information or to speak to an expert, contact Kasia Chalko at SAHM headquarters, +1-847-753-5226 x351.


The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine is a multidisciplinary organization of health professionals who are committed to advancing the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young adults. Through education, research, clinical services and advocacy activities, members of SAHM strive to enhance public and professional awareness of adolescent health issues among families, educators, policy makers, youth-serving organizations, students who are considering a health career, as well as other health professionals. Learn more at

Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) member and project principal investigator Jessica A. Kahn, MD, MPH, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, noted that, “Each of the proposals was outstanding in terms of its potential impact on public health, potential to affect vaccination rates, focus on improving health disparities, project design and innovation. In addition, the projects selected are diverse in terms of geographic location, approach (e.g. clinic-based, school-based, and population-based), vaccines targeted, and population to be impacted.”

The grant recipients are:
Adolescent Vaccination Kiosk Project, University of Colorado, Denver, CO; Amanda Dempsey, MD, PhD, MPH

Harnessing Technology to Improve Adolescent Vaccination Compliance, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; Tracy King, MD, MPH

Improving Adolescent Immunization: Applying Global Health Strategies Locally, Department of Public Health Seattle-King County, Seattle, WA; Jeff Duchin, MD

Innovative Registry-based Outreach Component (iROC), University of California, San Diego, CA; Mark Sawyer, MD

A Multilevel Approach to Increasing HPV Vaccine Initiation Among Adolescents, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; Stephanie Staras, MSPH, PhD

Public Health to Improve Adolescent Vaccinations, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; Emmanuel Walter, MD, MPH

Reaching Adolescents for HPV Immunization Using Facebook, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA; Caroline Johnson, MD

Text Reminders to Immunize in a Managed Care Organization (TRIO), University of Rochester, Rochester, NY; Cynthia Rand, MD

Using Electronic Health Record Technologies to Improve Adolescent Vaccination, The MetroHealth System, Cleveland, OH; David C. Kaelber, MD, PhD, MPH, MS

Vaccinating Adolescents Now at School (the VANS Project), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX; Amy B. Middleman, MD, MSEd, MPH

A review committee of SAHM members evaluated the more than 80 proposals received and determined that these ten will best improve understanding of adolescent vaccination and ultimately lead to effective interventions to increase vaccination rates in the adolescent population.


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