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Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine Summit Highlights New Ideas for Eliminating Barriers to Adolescent Immunization
Date:10/21/2013

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 t
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