The pediatric team at Mid-Columbia Medical Center Mid-Columbia Medical Center is participating in the Rural Adolescent Vaccine Enterprise (“RAVE”) project in conjunction with Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN) at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and the Oregon Immunization Program. 

Over the next 18 months, MCMC Pediatrics, along with 44 other clinics in Oregon, will lead a community-wide intervention project designed to improve local adolescent immunization rates. This project aims to improve the rate Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination in rural Oregon communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin or sexual contact.  HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some time in their lives.

Most HPV infections go away by themselves within two years. But sometimes HPV infections will last longer and can cause cancers later in life, according to the CDC.

Widely used and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for over a decade, the HPV vaccine is safe and effective at preventing cancer of the cervix, throat, mouth, and genitals. It is currently recommended for all adolescents (boys and girls), starting as early as age 9. 

Despite its proven effectiveness, its track record of safety, and its universal coverage by insurance, only 33 percent of adolescents in Oregon completed the series by their 13th birthday last year. The RAVE research team aims to improve upon this rate by supporting local primary care clinics to lead change within their communities. 

 “At MCMC Pediatrics, we have made huge strides in helping to prevent cancer,” said pediatrician Dr. Sara McCaffrey. “Our vaccine rates against HPV are one of the highest in rural Oregon, but we want to do even better. That is why we enrolled in the RAVE project — to help protect more patients from cancer.”

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